Newcomers Face Under-Employment Challenges: RBC Poll

Jun 27, 2011 | Corporate Member News

RBC offers newcomers advice and provides them with tools to assist with the moving process including resume writing and job hunting tips

Almost half (49 per cent) of newcomers who have been in Canada for one year or less feel under-employed, according to a recent RBC poll. Even after six-to-ten years in Canada, a third (32 per cent) of newcomers continue to feel that their current job is at a lower skill level than they had, or would have had, in their country of origin.  

According to the poll, a majority of newcomers (52 per cent), measure success based on their career, which includes having a good paying job in their field of expertise. Additionally, men (43 per cent) are much more likely than women (28 per cent) to believe that their current job is a step down from what they had, or would have had, in their home country.  

“Once newcomers get past some of the career challenges they face when they move to Canada, they make a tremendous contribution to the country’s productivity and diversity,” said Camon Mak, director, Multicultural Markets, RBC. “Canada is built on immigration – new skills and resources continue to be key drivers of our country’s global success. It’s important that we help newcomers get settled quickly both into their new home and their new careers. RBC is here to provide them with relevant financial advice to help them succeed.”  

Despite the importance of landing a dream job, only 42 per cent of immigrants indicated that they sought out information about career options in Canada before deciding to move. Twenty-nine per cent searched for information to determine whether there was a demand for their career experience; 24 per cent researched whether or not they would need to be recertified to meet Canadian standards. However, while they may not have their “dream job”, only 12 per cent feel locked in a job that may not lead to their desired occupation.  

When polled, newcomers provided the following career advice:  

  • Be prepared to wait for your dream job  
  • Determine if you need to be retrained or meet certification requirements  
  • Find out if there is a demand for your skill set.  

Make offers the following three tips to help newcomers succeed in Canada:  

1. Do your research – Determine what you need ahead of time. RBC offers newcomers advice and provides them with tools to assist with the moving process including resume writing and job hunting tips. This may mean the difference between securing a good job in your field of expertise or working in an unrelated field in order to make ends meet. 

2. Seek out learning opportunities – There are many seminars for newcomers, such as the 7 Success Secrets for Canadian Immigrants ( These offer great opportunities to gain invaluable advice, to network and to meet other newcomers. 

3. Set a budget and track your spending – Take advantage of online banking tools to help set your budget and manage your monthly spending when you arrive in Canada. For example, my FinanceTracker ( automatically categorizes transactions, tracks expenses and provides advanced budgeting capabilities for all your personal banking and credit card accounts. 

Newcomers to Canada – Fast Facts:  

Definitions of success – While the majority (52 per cent) of newcomers define success as being based on their career, as they become more established (six-to-ten years) family (47 per cent) and health (30 per cent) become more important as definitions of success. 

Employment – Less than a third (31 per cent) of respondents have a job in their chosen field and over one-third (36 per cent) have a current job that is at a lower level than what they previously had, or would have had, in their country of origin. 

Career – More than a third (39 per cent) say that lack of Canadian experience has impacted their career options in Canada, followed by lack of available jobs in their area of expertise (30 per cent) and language skill barriers (28 per cent). If they found they were unable to find a job in their career field, the vast majority would consider returning to school (82 per cent), followed by adjusting their goals (75 per cent) or starting a business (73 per cent).  

About the Environics Poll
The findings were conducted by Environics Research Group on behalf of RBC in April 2011. Environics conducted a total of 608 interviews among Chinese and South Asian immigrant residents in British Columbia and Ontario who are first generation and have lived in Canada for 10 years or less. Interviews were conducted online and respondents were recruited from an online consumer research panel. Quotas were applied to represent the different regions and tenure in Canada. Data was weighted according to population data from 2006 Census to represent the population as closely as possible.  

About RBC Welcome to Canada Package
For more than seven generations, RBC has been supporting newcomers by providing them with resources and tools that make the transition to a new country seamless. The RBC Welcome to Canada package helps newcomers who have been in Canada for less than three years with key financial decisions and includes advice and discounts on products and services. Details on The RBC Welcome to Canada banking package, the “Understanding Banking in Canada” guidebook, as well as branch locators that identify representatives who speak up to 180 languages, can be found at Consumers around the world can access information on moving to Canada, including financial advice checklists and more, at  

For further information:  

Jill Quinn, RBC Corporate Communications, 416-313-8121
Kate Yurincich, RBC Corporate Communications, 416 974-1031

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