Diving into the Global Talent Pool

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Ottawa’s got talent

Ottawa businesses operate in one of Canada’s most highly-educated and creative cities, according to the Canadian Creativity Index of the Martin Prosperity Institute.  In this post, I challenge you to consider the extent to which you are maximizing the opportunity to hire from one of Ottawa’s high-potential talent groups–skilled immigrants.      

In order to be competitive and innovative in this period of economic uncertainty, your organization will no doubt strive to attract and retain the best workers.  However, the best candidates may not be found through your traditional sourcing methods.  Did you know that immigrants account for the net growth of the city’s labour force?  As the fall hiring season gears up, I invite you to discover, and benefit from this incredible opportunity.  

Who are Ottawa’s skilled immigrants?

- An average of 3,200 immigrants join Ottawa’s labour force every year;

- These newcomers come from many countries around the globe and represent a rich and diverse set of cultures, skills and professional experiences;  

- Between 2006 and 2010 over 11,000 immigrants came to Ottawa with a university degree; 37 % had completed graduate-level degrees.       


In addition to bringing highly sought skills to your workplace, leveraging the skilled-immigrant talent pool could help your organization tackle additional strategic objectives such as:

- Better understanding and responding to the increasingly diverse local customer base;

- Expanding into niche local markets and creating opportunities to build connections  in new global markets;

- Enhancing productivity, creativity, employee relations, and decision-making through diverse approaches and perspectives.

How to get started?

You may be wondering: Where do I find these talented individuals?  How do I assess their international education and experience?  Will they be the right ‘fit’ for our organizational culture?  

Here are three easy ways to get started:

1)    Broaden your search by sourcing candidates outside of your traditional network.  A great local resource is the Ottawa Job Match Network, with a pool of highly skilled pre-screened immigrant job-seekers.

2)    Take a look at your interview guides and methods, to ensure they are free of unintended bias.  Check out the Rephrasing Interview Questions guide for tips on how to adapt common interview questions to be more inclusive of different cultures.

3)    Expand your recruitment reach by tapping into newcomer networks: i) through your newcomer employees, or ii) consider participating in mentoring programs for immigrants.  In Ottawa the OCISO Career Mentorship program is a great start.

How can Hire Immigrants Ottawa help?

The Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO) initiative brings together employers, immigrant service agencies and other stakeholders to foster solutions to systemic barriers around the integration of skilled immigrants into the Ottawa labour force.  We offer complimentary cross-cultural training; online videos and guides; opportunities to network with newcomers; and local labour market information that can help your organization dive into the skilled immigrant talent pool.

Hiring immigrants is not about giving preference to immigrants over other groups. Rather, it is about enhancing Ottawa’s world-class skills and creativity and understanding the essential role that immigrant talent can play in making that happen.  We can help.  

Lisa Deacon

Lisa manages employer engagement for Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO). 

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