New Report: Newcomers to Canada Need Ways to Show Skills to Biotech Employers

OTTAWA, February 21, 2017 – A labour market report, Paving the Way, released today by BioTalent Canada, surveyed skilled newcomers, immigrant serving agencies (ISAs) and employers, and included recommendations on how internationally educated professionals (IEPs) could better connect to jobs in Canada’s bio-economy.

Key report findings include:

IEPs arrive with the knowledge and skills needed by Canada’s bio-economy

  • Two-thirds (67.6%) of the IEPs surveyed reported having a minimum of a master’s degree and over half (56.8%) indicated having worked in biotechnology prior to immigrating to Canada.

Obstacles hinder IEPs’ path to enter Canada’s biotechnology sector

  • The greatest challenges facing IEPs entering Canada’s biotech workforce include finding jobs in their own field (51.9%) and lack of Canadian experience (46.5%).

Pre-screening may be a solution for skilled IEPs to connect to employers

  • Ninety percent (90.9%) of the ISAs surveyed agreed education and experience validation would help IEPs obtain employment in Canada’s bio-economy.
  • Biotechnology employers surveyed supported the concept of having access to pre-screened candidates.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada's Labour Market Integration Program, the report surveyed participants from the BioSkills Recognition Program, BioTalent Canada’s industry-skills validation process, which helps internationally-educated health professionals consider alternative career paths in biotechnology.

Findings indicate many talented newcomers continue to have their skills and experience overlooked by hiring managers.  “The most common skills IEPs possess are those that are most needed by Canada’s bio-economy,” says Rob Henderson, President and CEO 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 report offers specific recommendations to improve the plight of skilled newcomers, using training and networking offered by Canada’s numerous immigrant serving agencies.  “Newcomers who access the services of Canada’s ISAs already have a distinct advantage,” says Rob Henderson. “Biotech employers told us that a skills validation process that could be accessed through those ISAs would be an effective method of fast-tracking newcomers to biotech jobs.”

The report was sponsored by:

  • BioNB
  • BIOQuébec
  • BIOTECanada
  • Life Science Association of Manitoba (LSAM)
  • LifeSciences BC
  • PEI BioAlliance
  • Bio Business Magazine
  • Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC)


The report is available online and in both official languages. To view or download a copy of the full report, visit biotalent.ca/PavingtheWay.

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About BioTalent Canada
BioTalent Canada is the HR partner of Canada’s bio-economy. As an HR expert and national non-profit organization, BioTalent Canada focuses on building partnerships and skills for Canada’s bio-economy to ensure the industry has access to job-ready people. Through projects, research, and product development, BioTalent Canada connects employers with job seekers, delivers human resource information, and skills development tools so the industry can focus on strengthening Canada’s biotech business. For more information, please visit biotalent.ca.

Media inquiries:
Fiorella Jansen-Nicorescu
Marketing & Communications Manager
BioTalent Canada
613-235-1402 ext. 229
fnicorescu@biotalent.ca