Practical solutions for helping immigrant workers reach the top

Immigrant talent is an indispensable resource for Montréal businesses. The contribution of immigrant workers to job market vitality, our collective wealth and labour availability has been amply shown. But once hired, how do they advance in their careers in Greater Montréal companies? This is an interesting question that merits study.

In its study Immigrants: Getting Positioned for Strategic Jobs, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal looked at the issue. We surveyed close to 700 companies for their vision and perception of the career advancement of immigrants in their organization.

To consult the full study, click here.


Our research has shown that immigrants have the potential to hold a larger proportion of strategic positions in private companies in the metropolitan area. They currently hold 14% of executive positions, falling short of their representation as employees (18%) and in the general population (27%). However, the companies surveyed believe that 38% of employees who are qualified for strategic positions to be filled in the next three years are immigrants. We should therefore expect that the proportion of immigrant executives in private companies will rise in the coming years.


How can we help immigrants achieve their career potential?

Here are a few ideas for solutions that you can implement in your company.


Help immigrant employees acquire management skills

  • Photo credit: Jean-Michel Lavoie

    Offer training to employees to help them acquire:
    • an advanced command of French so that they can showcase their talent as negotiators, communicators and leaders
    • basic knowledge of business English
    • a management style that reflects current practices in Québec
  • Hold internal networking sessions and express mentoring meetings
  • Create internal sponsorships

Photo credit: Jean-Michel Lavoie

Equip managers to get to know immigrant employees and their strengths better

  • Adopt a diversity policy to equip your managers with effective recruitment and promotion practices
  • Make your managers aware of their role as leader and encourage them to establish trust with their immigrant employees
  • Appoint a resource person in the organization who is not part of senior management to foster discussion about the career advancement of immigrants
    • SMEs: designate a resource person
    • Large companies: attract a resource person to the human resources team

Has your company put in place measures to promote the professional advancement of immigrant workers? Write to us to share your accomplishments at!


The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal study Immigrants: Getting Positioned for Strategic Jobs was conducted in partnership with the Conseil emploi métropole, with the partnership with L’Oréal Canada and with the support of Momentum Technologies. Statistical data was collected and processed by SOM.

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