Building Effective Career Bridging Pathways for Internationally Educated Researchers

The key goal of this study is to understand labor market barriers facing Internationally Educated Researchers (IERs). The study will also document and identify institutional opportunities, resources, and potential solutions that can be mobilized to build effective career bridging pathways for IERs in order to transition to a productive career in the field of research in Canada.

Why are we doing this study?
 Internationally Educated Researchers (IERs) refer to immigrants with training and professional experience working in research-related fields before coming to Canada including as epidemiologists, clinician scientists, statisticians, qualitative researchers, evaluation experts, etc. Currently, at least eight of the job types listed in Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) are directly related to IERs. There is strong evidence that compared to their Canadian-born counterparts, immigrants have stronger levels of education and yet face disproportionately higher levels of unemployment, under-employment and deskilling. Data from Statistics Canada show that recent skilled immigrants with a university degree had an unemployment rate more than four times higher than their Canadian-born peers in 2013 (Statistics Canada. Table 282-0106) and that 40 per cent of new immigrants have to make a downward shift in their career upon arrival in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2012; Galarneau et al, 2008). However, we know very little about labor market trajectory of IERs. We are conducting this study to better understand the unique labor market barriers facing IERs, and produce evidence-informed solutions for promoting career success for IERs in Canada.

Our Project Team Members
This project was started by Dr. Yogendra Shakya (Co-PI), and was continued and completed by Dr. Akm Alamgir (Co-PI). Dr. Shafi Bhuyan was also a Co-PI for this study, with Axelle Janczur (ED of Access Alliance) and Ted Richmond as co-investigators. Sumona Liza is the Immigrant Insight Scholar leading this study supported by Emal Stanizai. This study is part of our Immigrant Insight Scholar (IIS) initiative. The IIS initiative is led by an interdisciplinary team of community agency, academic and government partners. Please visit this link for more information about our IIS initiative.

Our Research Goals and Methods
Our research goal is not just to understand barriers facing IERs but also system/institutional solutions that can enable to achieve career success in research field in Canada. Our research questions are threefold: i) What are the labor market barriers and challenges faced by Internationally Educated Researchers (IERs) in securing decent work in their field? ii) How do these barriers and challenges impact them in terms of health and socio-economic wellbeing? iii) What are the potential solutions and resources to support the IERs in finding meaningful decent work in research related filed in Canadian labor market?

We will conduct three focus groups with IERs who are struggling to find decent work in research or research related fields in Canada. We will also conduct one focus group with IERs who have managed to overcome barriers, and are currently working in stable employment within research or a research-related field in Canada. Following the focus group with IERs, we will conduct 10-12 key informant interviews with HR managers and/or decision makers (managers/directors/department heads) from research institutes, and with employment counselors with experience working with internationally educated professionals in GTA region.

Our Knowledge Translation Activities
Results from this study will inform the next steps for the Immigrant Insight Scholar and Immigrant Researchers Support Network. Study results will also be synthesized to identify and mobilize policy/system level solutions for promoting successful labor market integration and health/wellbeing of IERs.

You can read more about our study findings in the following publication: 

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Our Funder

Ontario Trillium Foundation