TORONTO, May 17, 2011 – New numbers back up the business case for hiring skilled immigrants.

“We know there is a strong business case for employing skilled immigrants and these findings prove it.”

TRIEC engaged EKOS to survey employers about their hiring practices of newcomers. According to the results, one in five employers has hired a skilled immigrant to help them expand globally and locally, and feels that employees with international education and experience are effective in helping them meet their business goals.

Among the key research findings:

  • Almost 1 in 5 have hired a skilled immigrant:
    • To help diversify their company’s client base globally; and of these, 93% feel the skilled immigrants hired have been effective on helping on this front
    • To target local cultural communities to find new business opportunities; and of these, 83% feel the skilled immigrants hired have been effective in helping on this front
  • 1 in 10 have hired a skilled immigrant because they discovered that competitors were benefiting from hiring skilled immigrants –
    • of those employers, 81% feel the skilled immigrants hired have been effective

“This research confirms that hiring immigrants to expand into local and global markets can be an effective business strategy for employers,” says Elizabeth McIsaac, TRIEC’s executive director.

 View the survey results in a snapshot.

Companies that are already reaping the benefits

Phoenix Geophysics
Phoenix Geophysics Limited, a geophysical manufacturing and contracting company, sells to over 80 countries in the world. Half of the company’s business is in China and another 20 per cent is in Russia. Phoenix hires “market makers,” skilled immigrants who can help the company open up new opportunities in their home countries. The company boasts 51 employees from 20 countries who speak 15 languages.

George Kelk
For George Kelk, a producer of sensors for steel rolling mills, 99 per cent of sales are international. More than 80 per cent of employees are immigrants, hired in engineering, technology and sales roles. Customers can call and expect to speak to someone who knows their language. With a retention rate of 98 per cent, it’s obvious that immigrant employees feel their skills are put to good use.

Thales Canada
In Thales Canada’s Toronto office, staff build “brains for trains” – technology that allows trains to run without operators. With 90 per cent of its business in the global marketplace, Thales systematically targets and cultivates internationally trained professionals to ensure its position as a leader in
transportation systems worldwide. The company stands apart for its 95 per cent retention

Questrade has been ranked as Canada’s fastest growing online brokerage. When half of the employees are immigrants, it’s clear that the company’s rapid success is tied to its skilled immigrant advantage. The majority of Questrade’s work is in e-development and innovation, and the majority of the technology team is comprised of visible minorities or immigrants – or both. Staff collectively speak more than 35 languages and have grown most of their business within local immigrant communities.

With over 90 per cent of its 100-plus workforce comprised of immigrants, this computer manufacturing and distribution company has leveraged skilled immigrant talent to respond to changing needs of mass merchant customers; to increase market share with smaller, local and diverse retailers; and to purchase parts from overseas suppliers, mainly from China.

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About the research
EKOS surveyed 461 employers in the Greater Toronto Area. There was a fairly even split between large and small businesses. Close to 40 per cent of businesses polled had over 100 staff, with 30 per cent having between one and four; close to 30 per cent employed between five and 100 staff. All respondents were either employed full-time or self-employed (and employed at least another employee), and had either primary or shared responsibility for hiring.

Of the employers polled, close to 60 per cent were private; close to 30 per cent were public; and just over 10 per cent were non-government organizations. The employers represented a broad range of sectors. The biggest portion of employers, at 15 per cent, was from the professional, scientific and technical services sector. Another 12 per cent were from the finance and insurance, real estate and renting and leasing sectors.

TRIEC creates and champions solutions to better integrate skilled immigrants in the Greater
Toronto Region labour market. For more information visit

For further information, please contact:
Claire DeVeale-Blane at, 416.944.1946 x 271 (office) or 416-464-4042 (BB)


Reference: TRIEC