Career Services to address Mal-employment

09 Sep Career Services to address Mal-employment

Yesterday, I read a piece in the Globe and Mail titled “Overeducated and underpaid? How to address mal-employment” by Marie Bountrogianni,  Dean of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University. The article discusses the issue of highly qualified and skilled individuals ending up in jobs that do not pay them the equivalent of their qualifications and experiences. The article suggests four solutions especially for new immigrants who come to Canada. The suggestions call on both employers and employees to:

  • Make specialized training available to internationally educated professionals
  • Encourage and participate in workplace mentorship programs
  • Take advantage of the flexibility of distance education
  • Partner with educational institutions to design the training you need

I agree with these suggestions and I believe they will go a long way to ease some of the barriers and will hopefully get us discussing the issue and how to solve it to benefit our society. I also think there is a fifth option as well. There are a number of new immigrants who may not need further education but rather require assistance in translating their skills and education in a way that is meaningful to employers.

For highly qualified and skilled individuals with several years’ work experience (and many new immigrants fall into this category) there is a big gap in the career services available to them. Employment agencies provide an important service to a huge number of clients but are generally not designed to support highly qualified and skilled individuals. One may say that management consultants are there for people in that group but management consultants generally work for employers and assist with career transitions on behalf of companies and organizations. There is a need for services that understand the work experiences that new immigrants bring and can assist them to translate those experiences into the language and skills that employers are looking for in the workplace.

This is an important topic not only for the individuals involved but also for the Canadian economy. So in addition to education and mentoring, we should provide career services that are targeted to highly qualified and skilled individuals to assist them find right and fulfilling careers but also to help employers understand the skills that they bring to the workplace.

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