“Your future is great, if you are looking for employment right now.”

Carolyn Benslimane, Vice President, Client Services, at the Ian Martin Group, a hiring and staffing support agency, struck this positive note in her survey of the current employment landscape during CCS’s ninth Employment Resource Day (ERD) on March 11, 2021.

The annual event features information-sharing between employment services’ providers of various stripes and job seekers, exploring labour market trends, employer expectations and workplace practices through presentations and panels.

This year, the ERD rolled with the times, went virtual, and didn’t miss a beat, drawing over 100 attendees. The event was hosted by CCS’ jack of all trades, Rob Sufi, an English language instructor at one of our Scarborough offices.

2021 Employment Trends and Beyond

Ms. Benslimane also shared her perspective on finding meaningful employment and growing a career in today’s changing world of work and looked out at the post-COVID landscape too. Overall, she noted, as we continue to deal with the pandemic, employment in the healthcare sector will remain strong, with nursing, home healthcare (caregivers), and healthcare supports, such as vaccine-scheduling, all in demand. There is also a call for case managers to run the vaccine administration programs, with those roles requiring specific healthcare experience and training.

With the various lockdown protocols mostly still in play, the migration to e-commerce continues to drive customer service roles, web design, and marketing opportunities, as well as supply chain employment with warehouse work, delivery, stocking, packing, and labelling roles all needing to be filled.

Employment in retail, food services and other “people contact” services will rebound as vaccinations pick up and we emerge from the pandemic, she noted.

Inclusion is a Marathon Not A Sprint

The event also featured findings from a recent study by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. TRIEC helps organizations in becoming more inclusive, as well as newcomers in expanding their professional networks and gaining an understanding of the local labour market.

Raj Dam, an employer relations manager, presented snapshots from Make or Break: How Middle Managers and Executives can Build Immigrant-Inclusive Teams. The study looked at existing literature about how diversity and inclusion intersect with mid-level management responsibilities and incorporated interviews with middle managers themselves — many of whom were immigrants — as well as HR and Diversity leaders. There was a consensus that behavior needs to be intentional to drive outcomes.

“Middle managers have a significant influence on what happens after an immigrant is hired. It is middle managers who determine: do immigrant employees feel part of their team? Do they get the feedback they need? Through their day-to-day decisions and actions, middle managers make or break an immigrant’s sense of inclusion and therefore their performance – whether they will thrive or flounder,” the study noted.

Among the recommendations:
• Inclusion should be a clear and formal policy responsibility of middle managers.
• Desired behavior should be targeted — not just key performance indicators.
• A ‘bubble of inclusivity’ should be created.

The study also showed there needs to be more dialogue at the senior level.

“Executive level commitment to and understanding of what is required for an organization to not only successfully embark on, but also to sustain the inclusion journey, is critical. However, exactly what executives need to do to organizationally support middle managers is less frequently discussed.”

“Inclusion starts with executives and the foundation of inclusive behavior is being aware and intentional about how we make decisions,” Raj said.

Healthcare Panel Popular

Panel discussions featured subject matter experts drilling down into overviews about various industries or professions that CCS supports through its suite of programs and services.

Dr Shafi Bhuiyan, program manager and founder, Internationally Trained Medical Doctors, a post graduate training bridging program at Ryerson University, discussed the challenges of getting medical licensing in Canada at the very popular healthcare panel. Thanaa Sarif, Ayesha Usman and Victoria Armit also took part. Food handling and childminding panels were presented too, featuring Abena Martin, Dr. Sylvanus Thompson, Giovanni Rinaldi, Ravi Singh, Janice Simmons, Joan Sinclair, Kim Tamar, and Sonia Fray Walters.

The ERD is a core component of CCS’ Employment Access Program (EAP), which assists newcomers in transitioning towards their employment goal. Clients learn occupation-specific language and terminology, effective job search techniques, get insights into Canadian work culture, tips on writing resumes and cover letters, and help preparing for job interviews. Last year CCS served over 58 clients through the program. This scope of insight can give a candidate a competitive advantage and also help them avoid the types of mistakes that can eliminate a candidate from contention.

If you would like to support CCS client offerings such as the Employment Access Program, or initiatives like Employment Resource Day, please consider a donation.