“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional” – John C. Maxwell.

Navigating the changes brought about by the pandemic can be challenging for employers to say the least. Organizations are currently experiencing drastic transformations as COVID-19 affects their operations, with some undertaking companywide restructuring in order to stay afloat.

At the centre of it all and critical to all organizations are the employees.

But as the saying goes: though there are challenges, there are opportunities everywhere – and one such opportunity for employers lies in a renewed focus on their existing employees. Companies that will come out on top are the ones that can ignite their employees’ potential, leveraging their talent more rapidly and effectively in order to successfully future-proof their businesses.

In a McKinsey Global Survey from earlier this year, 87 percent of executives say they are experiencing skills gaps in the workforce or expect them within a few years. When asked where the greatest need for talent exists, they most often said data analytics, followed by IT management and the business fields/executive management.

Nearly all respondents said closing potential skills gaps was a priority for their organizations, however, relatively few indicated that their organizations were ready to respond. A major hurdle to effective decision making was a lack of insight into the skills of the existing workforce.

TRIEC’s Career Advancement for Immigrant Professionals (CAIP) program offers a solution to this problem. By collaborating with TRIEC, organizations can gain greater insight into their current immigrant talent pool, find their next great hire internally, and then leverage this existing immigrant talent to meet current and future business needs. Did you know that even before the pandemic, almost half of newcomer men and two-thirds of newcomer women with a university degree in the GTA were in jobs that required lower level of qualifications? CAIP offers employers an opportunity to find the hidden gems amongst immigrant colleagues.

CAIP supports employers to retain and advance their existing newcomer talent, while also providing immigrant professionals with the opportunity to realize their full potential. Participating employers will move immigrant professional employees from their current role (point A) to a more suitable role (point B) – a role more commensurate to their qualifications and skills where they add more value to the organization. This may be either a vertical or lateral movement.

A dedicated project team will work with employers to build a customized program that serves their specific talent needs and business objectives. Together, we’ll develop an understanding of the employer’s current immigrant workforce, then work with leaders, managers and immigrant professional employees through a guided learning format to enrich career advancement discussions and identify career pathways that effectively leverage the skills currently available in the organization.

Employees generally view the opportunity to grow within a company as highly valuable. Employers who focus on development and career advancement opportunities while aligning it with immigrant inclusion see tremendous employee engagement, retention and innovation.

Canada is expected to welcome more than 1.2 million newcomers into the country from 2021 to 2023. In light of these targets, we must ensure immigrant professionals gain commensurate employment either upon entering the workforce or through organizational internal processes that uncovers and effectively leverages the available skills. We can make advancement processes even more transparent and equitable via programs like CAIP.

TRIEC’s aim is to provide employers with solutions, tools and resources that they can use to gain insight into their diverse immigrant workforce. As a business leader or HR Professional, are you interested to learn how you can find your next great hires internally and create opportunities for your existing employees? If so, contact me directly and let’s talk.


Nichola Johnson-Young is Senior Manager, Employer & Stakeholder Relations at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).