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Discrimination & Disadvantage

Course Code

of 4
October 19 – Discrimination & Disadvantage
G&M: Merkels problem a lesson for Canada
Earning deficits – not all immigrant skills are used and they are being undervalued; it was not seen
initially as a big problem since workers were working their way up
Underutilization of immigrant skills
Any employment of immigrants in work below a level of skill at which they could function as
effectively as native-born Canadians
oOne form of employment discrimination
1996 census data
Annual earning deficit = $2.4 billion
Pay inequities = $12.6 billion
Forms of underutilization
1. Non-recognition of foreign professional or trade credentials by Canadian licensing bodies for
professions and trades (i.e. doctors, dentists, physiotherapist)forced to restart from square 1
2. Non-recognition of foreign professional or trade credential by employers, for immigrants who
have received Canadian licensesdifficulties being hired despite jumping through hoops
3. Non-recognition of foreign occupational credentials by employers in non-licensed occupational
4. Discounting foreign-acquired skills (i.e. people skills, ability to manage/administer projects)
employers here dont recognize that skills picked up by immigrants are worthy of hiring (skills are
5. Non-recognition of general foreign education (i.e. worth of BA in Canada vs. Mexico)there are
degrees acquired overseas that do not exist in our society
6. Discounting foreign experienceyour experience does not equal Canadian experience”
7. All other negative employment decisions favouring Canadian-trained over foreign-trained workers
affecting hiring or promotion (i.e. after hiring, certain favourable treatments such as promotions,
networking opportunities etc)
Underutilization when
Skills held by the immigrant are equal (or greater) to Canadian standards
Not using all of the skills
Pay inequity (skills are not recognized)
See slides**
The issue
brain waste vs. brain gain vs. brain drain
Immigrants vs. native-born earnings
Past studies found:
Immigrants receive smaller earnings premium for formal education
Immigrants receive smaller earnings premium for work experience
See slides**
Earnings analysis of 1996 census
Focused on education, experience and origins of immigrants
Finding #1 - Immigrants receive lower earnings premiums for education
Three areas of difference:
1. Difference in skill quality
2. Underutilization of immigrant skills in gaining access to occupations demanding greater skill
15%-20% of higher earnings premiums for native-born
3. Inequities in pay within occupations, respectively
Immigrant men = 15% less for each year of education
Immigrant women = 29% less for each year of education
Finding #2 – immigrants receive lower earning premiums for work experience
Half to two-thirds less benefit from work experience (by same gender)
Pay inequity
oMen: 88% = pay inequality, 12% = underutilization (if you get underpaid $10, this is how
its broken down)
oWomen: 67% = pay inequality, 33% = underutilization
Want Canadian experience (goes beyond just earning a wage, the principles that accompany a job
showing up on time, working under stress etc.)
Dismiss value of foreign experience
Finding #3 – immigrants from some origin groups earn less than immigrants from other groups
Pattern holds: high-skilled or low-skilled immigrants
Mostly reflects underpayment for similar work
Racist assumptions are involved in the hiring process
Magnitude of the problem
Pay differentials
Compensate for certain assumptionsadjustments from previous numbers
Total earnings lost = $11.7 billion
Deficit due to skill underutilization = $1.6 billion
Why are skills underutilized?
Prejudices, ignorance, social conformity and established bureaucratic practice
Issue of relevance of foreign education/experience to Canadian market
Employer difficulty evaluating a foreign CV
Cultural or racial biases at work
Assimilation theory
The longer an immigrant is in the host country, the better an immigrant fares
Within 10-15 years equalize with other Canadians
Second generation has had faster upward mobility
“New Poverty”
Trend that has emerged relatively recently
Higher poverty rates in larger cities, and within visible minority groups
The second generation immigrants had higher poverty rates