I’ve met 100’s of international students, and I know for sure that they are some of the most hard-working people I know. The world is rapidly changing, and from the moment international students/newcomers arrive in Canada, they have to adapt. Adapt to new food, languages nuances, job hunting, securing new housing, and so much more.
They are willing to learn new skills and understand that it might be a steep learning curve.
"Immigrants’ contribution to Canada’s economy and society continues, and this contribution is expected to increase in a context of inexorable population aging. Projections show that immigration will remain a major contributor to future demographic growth. Starting in 2031, more than 80% of this growth is projected to come from immigration, compared to about 67% in 2011.”- Statistics Canada
Here is why I think international students and newcomers can be one of the biggest assets to your company.
1. International Students & Newcomers bring a learning/ growth mindset
The majority of international students I know relocated to Canada either alone (without their parents) or with some of their siblings. Since arriving, they have navigated the Canadian post-secondary education system, figured out how to secure part-time work while maintaining a full-time course load and now are thinking about the immigration pathways.
As a domestic student, I only had to do one of these things.
2. International Students & Newcomers improve team dynamics and diversity
I think it’s a common myth that you need to hire for “cultural fit.” Focusing solely on cultural fit is how you end up with a homogenous team, which won't cut it in this day and age. That’s why when hiring; I focus on cultural add.
*** Homogenous: composed of parts or elements that are all of the same kind
Hiring for cultural fit= bias
Hiring for cultural add= better teams
3. International Students & Newcomers can see your blind spots
This ties into homogeneity. If you always hire people who look and sound like you, then you will always have the same or similar viewpoints. With more international students and newcomers on your team, they will be able to point out some of your blindspots.
Feedback is a gift.
4. International Students are well networked
Most cultures outside of North America have a strong focus on community. From my experience, every international student I have met knows someone who knows someone who knows how to do that thing you need done. (I hope you were able to follow that last sentence)
What does this mean for employers? Hiring newcomers and international students will allow you to expand into other markets. They will be able to help connect you to a broader audience.
5. International Students have a strong work ethic
I recently saw Tik Tok, which described what it is like to receive a specific grade in an African household (please don’t take the video too seriously). Their parents expect top-quality work, and they produce that throughout their post-secondary education. This strong work ethic then translates into the workplace.