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Social media and labour market integration in Canada (SOMELAB)

Woman at a desk talking to people virtually on a computer monitor

This research project, conducted in partnership with ACCES Employment, external link, aims to understand the degree to which social media can alleviate barriers for newcomers when seeking work. The research will provide guidance for settlement service organizations on how to develop their social media presence to better assist newcomers.

  1. How does a migrant’s use of social media before and after arriving in Canada affect their success in finding employment?
  2. How effectively are newcomers using their new and existing connections on social media platforms to learn about the Canadian labour market and find employment opportunities?
  3. What are the barriers to social media adoption and use by newcomers in Canada? How can settlement service providers help to overcome these barriers?

Newcomers face a range of challenges and barriers in their search for work in a new country, such as overeducation (where work options do not match an individual’s educational credentials or previous professional experience) and job precarity (where options are most likely to be part-time or contract employment and less likely to be full-time, permanent). The current pandemic has magnified these challenges and barriers.

Social media has the potential to reduce barriers by connecting newcomers to information on occupational licensing, job availability, job search strategies, salary levels, resume writing and interview strategies, as well as leverage new or existing personal connections that will introduce them to a job.

With a clearer understanding of how social media is used through the stages of labour market integration, service providers have the potential to develop innovative platforms that will support newcomers in greater labour market success.

This research project is being conducted in three stages: (1) a review of existing evidence on the impact of social media on labour market integration; (2) an analysis of the LinkedIn company page reports of our settlement-service partner to identify the socio-demographic characteristics of page followers; and (3) a survey about how newcomers use social media to gather relevant labour market information and to leverage new or existing connections. We will also capture information about which social media platforms are being used and are most effective, and what are the labour market integration outcomes, looking specifically at overeducation and job precarity.

Stage 1 of the research is currently under development, including a report, Accessing migrant networks through social media and labour market integration in Canada, and a website dashboard, Digital journey: Overcoming the divide with social media.

This project will produce two reports (a literature review and an analysis of the survey data) and a dashboard to communicate the main findings of the study.  To be completed by December 2021.  

CERC Migration

social media, newcomers, new immigrants, settlement service organizations, labour market integration, virtual bridge, overeducation, job precarity, occupational licencing, job search