Seeking Untapped Talent

SJ Hiring Fair Targeting Newcomers & International Students

Valentin Boinitski has an extensive resume in communications and speaks five languages.

His background and skills are the proverbial “wish list” for many employers, whether they are looking to hire a Canadian-born or immigrant employee.

But, finding a job can often be problematic for newcomers when there are cultural differences at play.

That’s what Boinitski found when he and his wife Julia and their two children first moved from Kiev, Ukraine to Saint John in the Winter of 2017.

“We started off looking for jobs in a European big city way: scouring job listings, and sending CVs with cover letters, with little success,” says Boinitski. After a couple of months, we discovered that the proper way to find a job in Saint John was by knowing somebody who knew somebody, and by meeting people in person. This was a bit counterintuitive. In the business culture we come from, we do network a lot and we like getting to know new people. However, networking with the ultimate aim of getting a job can be considered getting an unfair advantage over other candidates, and is often frowned upon.”

An upcoming hiring fair in Saint John is trying to make networking and job finding easier for newcomers and international students. The Connect & Settle Saint John Hiring Fair for Newcomers & International Students will be held Nov. 29 at the Marco Polo Terminal at Port Saint John.

Organizers are also holding a morning information session for employers to talk about the benefits of hiring newcomers and international students. In addition, the session will provide information as to how they can access the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project, which speeds up the process of bringing skilled workers into the province. The three-hour hiring fair will follow in the afternoon.

“This hiring fair is an excellent opportunity for local employers to meet skilled and talented workers to fill available positions within their organization. This event will also allow newcomers and international students to discover employment opportunities in the Saint John region, which will contribute to the government’s efforts in immigrant retention,” says Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister, Gilles LePage.

Post-Secondary Education Training & Labour (PETL) is the primary sponsor of the event with support from the City of Saint John, Opportunities NB (ONB), Enterprise Saint John, Y Newcomers Connections, Saint John Multicultural & Newcomers Resource Centre, Saint John Local Immigration Partnership, PRUDE, and Atlantic Human Services.

While the hiring fair is targeting newcomers and international students, it is open to all New Brunswickers and will illustrate the many great career opportunities that can be found in the region.

“We continue to work hard to grow the economy of New Brunswick, and we are seeing that work pay off,” says Economic Development Minister Francine Landry, who is also Minister responsible for ONB. “We also want to help New Brunswickers find rewarding careers right here at home, and one way we can do that is by hosting job fairs across the province.”

The City of Saint John welcomes the collaboration and efforts, too. Growing the population is one of its top priorities.

“Everyone who lives and works in Saint John is an ambassador for our community and has an important part to play in growing our city,” says David Dobbelsteyn, Population Growth Manager for the City of Saint John. “Our community’s strategy for growing our population has three focus areas: Attraction; Integration; and Retention. Our whole community needs to work together to attract more families to choose to live in Saint John. We need to collaborate to ensure our newest residents feel welcome and are integrated. Finally, we need to focus on stemming the tide of out-migration, and keeping people, both young and old, living in Saint John.”

According to recent census data, nearly 2,000 immigrants have settled in the Census Metropolitan Area of Saint John in the past five years.  That’s more than double the previous Census period.

But, keeping those newcomers is key. Newcomer Valentin Boinitski says one way to do that is to realize there is an untapped resource of talented people who want to make Saint John, their home.

“There’s a huge potential in highly skilled immigrants coming to Saint John. A lot of immigrants have many years of diverse international experience, and bring the professional skills and expertise that can really contribute to the economic growth in Saint John, be it in the corporate sector or in smaller businesses. Realising that there is this untapped potential, and harnessing it, could be a major boost for local companies,” says Boinitski.

It took Valentin and his wife six months to find full-time jobs with the Saint John Newcomers Centre and J.D. Irving Ltd., respectively. They say the wait was worth it.

“We’d always dreamt of living in a nice little town by the ocean, so the choice of Saint John seemed only natural. Although I must say we’ve since discovered that there are many more things we love about Saint John, apart from the ocean.  Nice and friendly people, beautiful architecture, picturesque landscapes, deer walking in the street, humane property costs and cost of living in general, and very low levels of stress in the air.”

Information on the hiring fair can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/298341864013727/

Businesses interested in taking part in info session/job fair can register with Melissa.Curran@gnb.ca

Originally Published in the Saint John Telegraph Journal, Monday November 27, 2017.