Newcomers may have acquired erroneous and/or unrealistic expectations of the Canadian employment environment. Disappointment or dissatisfaction may result, which could negatively impact not only the attitude of the newcomer, but also the relationship with those seeking to help (such as sponsors and employment services) and with employers.

Identifying and understanding these expectations and “de-bunking” them is an important part of the ongoing discussion and planning around employment.

These expectations will likely be revealed when talking through the various aspects of the employment plan, including topics such as licensing/accreditation requirements, compensation levels, climate factors, transportation issues, English proficiency requirements, vacation, employee and employer rights, and workplace culture both in Canada and in the countries in which they have worked.

Some extreme examples of unrealistic expectations include:

  • “In Canada, I will quickly be able to work in my field and be paid a salary commensurate with my skills and experience. Therefore, I should only take a job that meets those criteria.”
  • “It is easy to find work in Canada, there is work for everyone and if I don’t find work, the government will support me indefinitely.”

This area can be challenging to navigate with newcomers. It may take quite some time to see changes in their attitudes and expectations. It can be scary and disheartening for the newcomer to realize that the job search may actually be quite difficult and may not proceed as quickly as he or she would hope. It is important to keep an open communication with the newcomer in this regard. In addition, regular meetings with the newcomer to discuss employment can allow new information and ideas to be heard, questioned, repeated and eventually accepted (or rejected).

For more information about managing expectations, please refer to this document on Managing Expectations – Sponsors and Newcomers, published by the Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association.