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Catalyst Canada released its comprehensive survey of visible minorities in the Canadian workforce, which revealed a perceived glass ceiling that prevents immigrants and other non-whites from advancing beyond mid-level positions.
In a fluid, mobile global economy that allows the most skilled migrants and their educated children to cherry-pick the best jobs in the world, perception is everything.
"If Canada doesn?t want the brightest computer programmers, science PhDs, doctors and financial experts there are a hundred other countries that do," says Myer Siemiatycki, director of Ryerson University?s graduate program in immigration and settlement studies.
"Canada is gaining a reputation overseas as a place that?s not as friendly to immigrants as people like to think. And, now, immigrant patterns and opportunities aren?t what they used to be."
The historical view of newcomers destined to toil for generations before gaining a foothold in their new country has been replaced by what Kenny Zhang, senior research analyst for the Asia Pacific Foundation, calls the signal effect, "which means a person with high human capital probably has a better potential return on that capital (wage) in their home country or their parents? home country."
Zhang says that based on his research, "the situation in Canada and other parts of the world is that immigrants are now reassessing their opportunities and moving to other countries or returning to the countries where they came from. Immigrants are much more educated and mobile than in previous times."
Zhang says 675,000 Canadians have moved to Asia alone ?C the majority over the last decade ?C and that figure doesn?t include those who left the country before getting their citizenship.
"The numbers are soaring," says Don DeVoretz, a professor of economics at Simon Fraser University who has studied the trend of immigrant flight for over 10 years. "Hong Kong, India and the U.S. are the most popular destinations.
"I did a study to find out who is leaving and it?s the best and the brightest, immigrants and those born in Canada. The research shows they do much better than those they left behind."
"Even (the) Canadian-born are taking advantage of the mobility of the global workplace. "I know a guy, a brilliant guy who lived here and got his PhD. He worked here at the foundation for a few months. He found a job in Toronto, and was very active in the business community, but wasn?t satisfied with the opportunities at his workplace. He went to China and is now the chief investment officer of one of the largest Chinese insurance companies.
"There?s a glass ceiling here, so more and more Canadians are going to India and China, especially. (Those countries are) newcomers in the world market, with huge emerging economies. They?re looking to the diaspora overseas, for people that have been educated in the U.S. or Canada. The opportunities those educated immigrants or second-generation professionals can?t get here are being handed to them in Asia and other parts of the world."