Research and insights

Bridging the Gap

Immigrant Women and Their Labour Market Integration in the GTA

In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), immigrant women face underemployment, wage gaps and underrepresentation in executive positions. To shed light on their job search and workplace experiences, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) collected data from 365 immigrant women through surveys and interviews. We also surveyed 608 hiring managers and decision makers.

Our new report provides insights on barriers to immigrant women’s employment and offers recommendations on how to better support their career entry and growth in the GTA.

There’s not a single senior leader that looks like me or has any background similar to mine. It’s very difficult to envision yourself moving up when all you see are a specific type of white man or woman in places of power.

Immigrant status, your experience if it is international, looking at your name, the fact that you are a woman of a certain colour – all of these things come into play and I would love to see more work done with employers to educate their hiring managers.

I feel Canada is portrayed as a place that is open to immigrants but the job market isn’t that open … I had a hiring manager tell me that they know I am qualified for a higher role but they need to build trust in my abilities.

…I would say that there is still a certain bias that affect women in Canada. It would be stronger in my home country but even in Canada you can feel it. It is felt especially when having small kids. People are not expecting that you thrive at work and that you give the extra mile because your priority has to be to go home early because you have a kid. It might come across as a friendly message but you are bombarded with that message – ‘hey, go home, take care of your kids.’ And there is a guy across from my desk who has a child the same age as my kids and he will not get any of those messages.

You get to a point where you want a job because you need to survive. When the desirable is not available, the available becomes desirable … You are applying for a customer service role and you won’t even get called back because you are overqualified for the role. For me, that’s one of the most fundamental issues – dumbing down my resume hurts me.

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