Addressing Underemployment


a situation where highly skilled individuals with years of international work experience end up in low paying jobs

Organizations struggle with filling skilled positions as well as with employee retention, and immigrants are challenged with accessing roles commensurate with their expertise. According to TRIEC’s Bridging the Gap report released in 2022, two in five immigrant respondents stated that they were in lower-level jobs than they last held before immigrating. Additionally, immigrants are less likely to advance as far or as quickly as their Canadian-born counterparts.

Almost 53% of people living in the GTA were born outside of Canada, and that number is growing. In this context, the employers who leverage immigrant-inclusive practices and policies will succeed in attracting and retaining skilled talent, benefitting both employers and immigrant professionals.

Below, you will find resources and tools for:

Employers and managers:

to help you attract and support immigrant team members in building and growing their careers within their organizations.

Immigrant professionals:

to help you navigate your job search process, expand your professional networks, and also gain insight on how to navigate career advancement in Canadian workplaces.

Finding and applying for that first job in Canada

When recruiting and hiring for a position, employers need to ensure they address unintended biases in their processes so they don’t miss on strong immigrant candidates. Finding that first job can be challenging for newcomers, who may be unaware of the many labour market nuances when applying for their first job. The resources below will help immigrants and employers navigate the various details of applying and hiring for that first position.

Also listen to Donald Kurangwa, Test Analyst, Canadian Tire, share his experience as a newcomer professional applying for his first job, in the video below.

Javier Rojas profile

Javier Rojas

Javeriana University Professional Alumni Association (JAVCA)


“I sent many resumes with no response (perhaps due to the lack of “Canadian experience”). Finally, I secured an unpaid volunteer job in my field for three months. After nine months from arrival, I was eventually offered a permanent position with below-average pay for my experience. Until then, I had to keep two other survival jobs just to put food on the table.”

For immigrants:

What do you need to know when applying for your first job?

For hiring managers:

Steps to be more immigrant-inclusive when advertising and hiring for a position.

Working Together to Achieve Career Goals

Communication between managers and team members is vital in the Career Advancement journey, but oftentimes, newcomer professionals may be unsure of how to initiate conversations on advancement. Managers who want to support their employees’ career growth may be unaware of their hesitancy.

Check out the resources below for both managers and immigrants that share insights on how to have more effective career goals conversations. Be sure to listen to Michele Hodder, Technical Product Manager, and Donald Kurangwa, Test Analyst, Canadian Tire, as they share their insights for managers and immigrants below.

Karen Johnson

Black Female Accountants Network (BFAN)


“In our home countries, we believed that our work will speak for itself. However, in the Canadian landscape, you are your greatest advocate. Arrange time with your manager to express your interest, demonstrate your value and impact in your current role, and explain how you are positioned to add even more value at the next level.”

For immigrants:

Initiating the conversation on career goals and advancement.

For hiring managers:

Approaching the conversation on career advancement with your immigrant employees

Preparing and Positioning for Career Advancement

Positioning yourself for advancement in Canadian organizations can be very different from many other places in the world. Managers who are aware of this can better support their team members and avoid assuming that someone isn’t interested in stretch assignments or promotions. Immigrants who understand what to do to stand out as a strong internal candidate are better able to take the steps needed access to advancement.

Michele Hodder, Technical Product Manager, Canadian Tire also share her tips for managers in our video below. Check it out now.

Liliana Nakamura

Latin Project Management Network (LPMN)


“Position yourself for success: network strategically inside your organization, seek mentorship, and proactively share your career goals with your manager. Work on your overall presence and request feedback frequently. You have the power to shape your career journey in Canada by managing yourself and your narrative.”

For immigrants:

Preparing and positioning yourself for advancement opportunities.

For hiring managers:

Communicating expectations on career advancement with your immigrants employee

Check out our programs for more information and resources

TRIEC Career Advancement Program Logo

The Career Advancement for Immigrant Professionals (CAIP)

CAIP supports employers with meeting their talent needs and increasing retention through helping managers to better support their diverse teams and providing immigrant team members with the opportunity to realize their full potential.


TRIEC Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs)

If you are an immigrant professional, find and join a professional association that can connect you to resources and provide support to help you in your career in Canada please add a sentence or two to encourage immigrants to join a PINs association.