Do Employer Attitudes Affect the Hiring of Immigrants and International Students? Evidence from a Survey of Employers
Examining the Determinants of Managers’ Hiring Attitudes Towards Immigrant Workers: Evidence from an Employer Survey
Tony Fang graduated from the University of Toronto with a PhD in Human Resources/Labor Relations, currently employed at Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in cultural and Economic Transformation, Department of Economics and Faculty of Business Administration, Memorial. He is mainly engaged in the research of labor economics and has published more than 50 sci articles.
What are employers’ perceptions regarding hiring immigrants and international students in Atlantic Canada? How are these perceptions related to hiring outcomes? Our analysis, based on a 2019 random representative survey of 801 employers, finds that most report positive attitudes toward immigrants and international students. Probit analysis of the sample of employers who report receiving applications from immigrants and international students also finds that hiring from this group is positively associated with employers’ belief that multiculturalism enhances creativity in the workplace and (less clearly) with the belief that immigrants and international students are harder working than native-born local workers; negatively with beliefs that such workers accept lower pay, have language barriers, have higher training costs, hold unreliable credentials, and (less strongly) have lower retention probabilities; and not consistently with the belief that such workers may help in increasing exports, are unfamiliar with the Canadian culture or workplace, or may take jobs away from locals.
Using a representative survey of approximately 800 small and medium sized employers across Atlantic Canada, we empirically tested factors associated with employer attitudes towards hiring international migrants. Results showed employers who recently hired international immigrants reported more positive attitudes, consistent with our theory that frequent contact with immigrants fosters positive perceptions. We also found employers in New Brunswick reported less positive attitudes than those in the other three Atlantic provinces. Public sector and not-for-profit employers had more positive perceptions than their private sector counterparts. The coefficients for the rural-urban divide showed the expected signs, but they were statistically insignificant. We offer interpretations of our main findings and implications for policy and practice.