Feature

Job Fairs Help Retain Newcomers and International Students in Moncton

A immigrant and international student job fair at the the Empress Theatre in Moncton. Image: Submitted.

When you’re a newcomer or international student, find work can be a particularly tough challenge. But the city of Moncton has been hosting events in hopes of making the process a little easier.

For about two years now, it has been hosting regular job fairs for international students and newcomers. Angelique Reddy-Kalala, the city’s immigration strategy officer, says they decided to create the fairs to address big challenges both businesses and newcomers were facing.

“The number one thing that a lot of our employers continue to express is they’re at times having challenges in terms of talent recruitment,” says Reddy-Kalala. “On the other end of things, I also work with our settlement agencies and employment agencies that serve newcomers and international students and there are many newcomers and international students that are looking for work. When they first arrive or when they finish their studies and are very keen to get integrated early on into the labour market.”

“What we saw was a great way to essentially creating a matching opportunity between local businesses and organizations, and immigrants and international students that are looking for work.”

A photo from the last IT-focused job fair held at Venn Innovations in Moncton.
Image: Submitted.

The fairs, held around every three months, target keys sectors, which allows organizers to advertise the available positions ahead of time to the newcomer population. This helps ensure participants know what positions were available and that employers can meet interested candidates.

Key sectors include tech; business service centres, back office support; finance and insurance; customer services and manufacturing. Examples of past employers who’ve participated in the fair have been Tangerine, Medavie Blue Cross, CGI, TKS, RBC and many others.

The city of Moncton also follows up with employers who participate to gather data. Not counting the most recent series of fairs that wrapped up last week, the city has helped fill around 151 positions in the greater Moncton area so far. Reddy-Kalala said that’s about $6-million in payroll in the Moncton area.

“It’s allowing immigrants to stay in or in our country because we know the number one reason that someone is going to stay is that they have a job. It’s so important for people to integrate into the labour market early on,” says Reddy-Kalala.

“That’s very important to us so we follow up with all the employers afterward to see how many people that they interviewed, but also in terms of how many positions that they filled. We keep track of that.”

David Michaud, branch manager of the National Bank on Moncton’s Main Street, has had success at the fairs. He says attendees have positive attitudes and are motivated to work and learn. He hired two international students that filled a skills gap in the business.

“We had a lot of problems lately in regards to employ qualified employees. Even if we have a university or an NBCC in town, we need people who speak more than two languages,” says Michaud. “We need people who speak Arabic or Spanish or Dutch. People from other [countries] are very well qualified and they speak more than two languages.”

Moncton has grown to be New Brunswick biggest city. Reddy-Kalala says it’s initiatives like the job fairs that help attract newcomers to the city and keep them there.

“What’s interesting in Moncton is our population is growing by about 2,000 people per year and about half of that are actually immigrants and that does not even count or international students that are here that want to stay. We have great momentum happening here,” she says.

“I wouldn’t say [the fairs are] the sole way, but I think it’s a way that immigrants are able to integrate into the labor market early on and are able to stay in our communities. With all those people that are able to find jobs, that’s more people buying homes that’s more people renting apartments more people buying cars and shopping in our stores and it’s a great way to continue to grow.”

The next series of job fairs are expected to happen early in the new year. Infomation will be posted on the City of Moncton Facebook Page.