Newcomers often have skills overlooked for bio-economy jobs: report

Published on March 16, 2017


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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — A recent survey sponsored by the P.E.I. BioAlliance found newcomers continue to have their skills and experience overlooked by hiring managers.

The labour-market report, “Paving the Way,” surveyed internationally educated professionals and offered recommendations to allow skilled newcomers to better connect with jobs in Canada’s bio-economy.

The report contains information from newcomers, employers and immigrant serving agencies like the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada.

“The most common skills (internationally educated professionals) possess are those that are most needed by Canada’s bio-economy,” said Rob Henderson of BioTalent Canada. “We’re a sector that struggles with access to talent, so it’s crucial for businesses to recognize newcomers as an important talent pool.” 

The P.E.I. BioAlliance has encouraged skilled newcomers to participate in the BioSkills Recognition program, which offers them an opportunity to have their foreign education and experience evaluated by a review board and matched with local career opportunities.

“We have benefited greatly from the ability to hire internationally educated professionals,” said Lester Wood of BioVectra.

“Their education and skills have complimented and augmented that of our local talent.” 

 The report is available online at


Report findings:

• 67.6 per cent of those surveyed reported having a minimum of a master’s degree, and more than half 56.8 per cent indicated having worked in biotechnology prior to immigrating to Canada

• The greatest challenges facing skilled newcomers entering Canada’s biotech workforce include finding jobs in their own field (51.9 per cent) and lack of Canadian experience (46.5 per cent)

• 90.9 per cent of the immigrant serving agencies surveyed agreed education and experience validation would help skilled newcomers obtain employment in Canada’s bio-economy