Newcomers with science background face high unemployment: report

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bio tech jobsBioTalent Canada recently released a new Labour Market Information (LMI) report focusing specifically on Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs).

The report indicates IEPs possess critical skills that are currently in demand in biotech, yet 44.3% are unemployed. 51.8% of employers say hiring IEPs improves innovation. This new report “Talent Opportunities: Bringing Newcomers to Canada’s Bio-economy” identifies challenges faced by IEPs and highlights the differences between newcomers and employers realities reported in the recent Labour Market Study “Sequencing the data: People – Driving Canada’s Bio-economy.” BioTalent Canada surveyed IEPs with science backgrounds, immigrant serving agencies (ISAs) and post-secondary institutions across Canada to understand the services available to IEPs and the challenges they face when integrating into Canada’s bio-economy.

Key Study Findings:

  • Research and Development are the most prevalent unfilled positions in the industry, along with, marketing, manufacturing, clinical, and quality control. Foreign-trained workers with these occupational skill sets have unemployment rates in the range of 41.4% to 54.5%.
  • Job opportunities and democracy are the top reasons Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) come to Canada; yet there is a 44.3% unemployment rate among respondents.
  • Difficulties in finding a job, lack of social networks, and lack of Canadian experience are the top barriers experienced by IEPs trying to enter the biotech workforce.


“Skills shortages are hampering the growth of Canada’s bio-economy, yet the skilled foreign talent is available and represents a great opportunity for the industry,” says Rob Henderson, President and CEO, BioTalent Canada. “Connecting these skilled newcomers quickly with employers through tangible solutions needs to be a priority. The Scotiabank StartRight® Biotech Resumé Builder for newcomers is just one of the ways we are building these connections. With our partners like Drake International, BioBusiness and other stakeholders, we will be exploring more ways to fill these gaps to build a strong, diverse biotech workforce,” he said.

In an effort to fill the skills gaps and meet the current and evolving needs of the industry, this new report indicates opportunities for newcomer talent to get a job in biotech and for employers to find the talent needed for Canada’s biotechnology industry to drive the Canadian economy.

To view or download a copy of the full report, visit

As part of Scotiabank’s StartRight Program for Newcomers, Scotiabank and BioTalent Canada announced a partnership earlier this year to help new Canadians build successful careers, particularly in Canada’s growing biotechnology field. The partnership includes the launch of the Scotiabank StartRight Biotech Resume Builder to help newcomers connect with employers, as well as support for research aimed at filling talent gaps in this dynamic sector.

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