Are immigrant wages affected by the source of job search information?

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By: Tony Fang, Nina Damsbaek, Philip Kelly, Maryse Lemoine, Lucia Lo, Valerie Preston, John Shields, Steven Tufts
Org: Toronto Immigrant Employment Data Initiative (TIEDI)

This report aimed to answer the question:

What are the labour market outcomes - in this case defined as average hourly wages - for currently employed immigrants, based on the source of information used to find their job?


Previous research indicates that the way that people look for employment affects their employment outcomes. For example, personal contacts - the social network - are very important. Previous research suggests that networks tend to guide individuals to jobs with higher wages/salaries. However, these networks seem to be less effective for women, who may have less access to social contacts who can guide them to jobs with higher pay, more responsibility, etc. Similarly, immigrants benefit less from social networks because they are less "connected" than Canadian-born workers.

This report uses data from the Workplace and Employee Survey, 2005.


This report reaches tentative conclusions only. The report draws on a relatively small sample of employed immigrants that does not distinguish between permanent residents, Canadian citizens, or those with temporary status. In addition, the source of information is only one factor that may affect employment outcomes.

However, the report suggests that the way immigrants search for employment significantly affects their wage outcomes.

  • Immigrants who used news stories, union postings, and recruitment agencies or headhunters had the highest wage outcomes.
  • Immigrants who used personal initiative, Canada Employment Centres, and family or friends had the lowest wage outcomes.
  • Recent immigrants (arrived 2001-2003) who used personal initiative and the internet had the highest wage outcomes.
  • Recent immigrants (arrived 2001-2003) who used Canada Employment Centres, other government agencies, help wanted ads, and friends and family had low wage outcomes.
  • Immigrants are more likely to use the methods that result in lower wage outcomes.
  • The longer immigrants have been in Canada, the higher their wages.
  • Immigrant women have lower wages than Canadian-born women, Canadian-born men and immigrant men.

Download Are immigrant wages affected by the source of job search information? (PDF)