Study: Newcomers who use social media before arriving in Canada are more likely to find skilled work

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: January 20, 2024

According to a study conducted by Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) in 2023, 65% of surveyed “pre-arrival newcomers” used social media for job prospects before coming to Canada.

Speaking to the general benefits of utilizing social media during pre-arrival, the TMU study notes that “in the first six months of arrival, [pre-arrival social media users] had, on average, a 3-to-1 advantage in getting established in the labour market versus those who did not use social media before arrival.”

Additionally, the study revealed that those who leveraged social media before arriving in Canada were both more likely to find work that matches their credentials and obtain higher-paying employment. More on that in the “post-arrival” section of this article below.

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More: View the full results of TMU’s 2023 The Social Media Information Gap survey here

Social media use and its effect on different stages of the newcomer journey

Last year’s study by TMU also addresses pre-arrival social media use by newcomers in several contexts – from the impact using social media had on “pre-arrival search and communication” to how the use of different platforms impacted “post-arrival labour outcomes”.

The following will detail the results of that analysis, focusing on how different social media applications were used by newcomers.

Pre-Arrival Search and Communication

In one stage of the pre-arrival process, dubbed by the TMU study as “search and communication”, 82% of survey respondents said they “connected with a person or group regarding immigration before coming to Canada.”

According to the study, before being broken down by gender, the following seven platforms (presented in order below) were the most popular among newcomers looking for “information about work prospects before coming to Canada.”

  • Email/Telephone
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • QZone
  • Instant Messaging
  • Discussion Forums
  • Twitter

Further to the general results above, TMU’s survey found that the top three platforms of choice among men were Email/Telephone, Facebook and LinkedIn, in that order. Meanwhile, women who participated in the study said they preferred Facebook followed by Email/Telephone communication and communication via QZone.

Information Search

Analyzing the preferred platforms of newcomers with respect to the information search process, the TMU survey analyzed six different types of information sought by newcomers.

Notably, LinkedIn was found to be the go-to information source for three of these information types – job search advice, job interview advice and salary information.

Note: In addition to the above, the TMU study also looked at the most popular social media platforms/sources among newcomers looking for information related to occupational licensing requirements, “further education or skill training”, and English or French training.

According to the study, there was a slight variance in the top three preferred sources (presented in order below) depending on the type of information sought.

Job search advice

  • LinkedIn
  • Settlement Service Agencies
  • Email/Telephone

Job interview advice

  • LinkedIn
  • Settlement Service Agencies
  • Facebook & Discussion Forums (tied)

Salary information

  • LinkedIn
  • Email/Telephone
  • Discussion Forums

Occupational licensing requirements

  • Email/Telephone
  • Discussion Forums
  • Settlement Service Agencies

Further education or skill training

  • Email/Telephone
  • LinkedIn
  • Discussion Forums

English or French training

  • Discussion Forums
  • Instant Messaging
  • Settlement Service Agencies & Instagram/Snapchat/TikTok (tied)

Post-Arrival Labour Outcomes

The TMU study found two results – related to the type of work attained by newcomers and the salary levels these newcomers obtained – that together established a positive correlation between newcomers’ use of social media during the pre-arrival stage and their employment once arriving in Canada.

Specifically, around 75% of survey respondents who told TMU they found work that “was either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ related to their skills” were found to have used social media before arriving in Canada. Finding work applicable to past employment experience in one’s country of origin is a significant concern for Canadian newcomers, and this study displays a strong connection between pre-arrival social media use and success in finding applicable work after arriving in this country.

Similarly, according to the TMU study, “nearly 80% of immigrants who secured high-paying jobs” were pre-arrival social media users. On the other hand, almost “75% of immigrants who gained precarious, low-paying employment” did not take advantage of social media before coming to Canada.

Specifically, the following numbers (separated into arbitrary income brackets) display the differences in earnings between the percentage of respondents who used social media before arrival and those who did not.

Respondents who earned $15,000 or less: 76.5% did not use social media before arrival (23.5% did)

Respondents who earned between $15,000 and $29,999: 75% used social media before arrival (25% did not)

Respondents who earned between $30,000 and $49,999: 73.3% used social media before arrival (26.7% did not)

Respondents who earned between $50,000 and $74,999: 81.6% used social media before arrival (18.4% did not)

Respondents who earned between $75,000 and $99,999: 75% used social media before arrival (25% did not)

Respondents who earned between $100,000 and $150,000: 81.1% used social media before arrival (18.9% did not)

Widespread use of social media despite a wide range of experiences

Although many pre-arrival newcomers made use of social media before coming to Canada, many TMU survey respondents indicated some level of struggle navigating social media as an information source for a variety of reasons.

Lack of confidence: 99 people did not have confidence in the information shared on social media when using it to learn about the Canadian labour market

Misinformation: 166 people experienced misinformation or fake news (received wrong information) when using social media to learn about the Canadian labour market

Fraud: 67 people experienced fraud, identity theft, privacy or security threats when using social media to learn about the Canadian labour market

Lack of necessary skills/knowledge: 99 people did not have the right skills, knowledge or training when using social media to learn about the Canadian labour market

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