Exploring Motivations of SMEs in Hiring Newcomers

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employ more than 90% of Canadians and account for 98% of businesses, while also creating the most jobs in Canada. One of the highest priorities of immigrants
is working, and employed newcomers mean a successful immigration policy and prosperity, locally and nationally. With persistent labour shortages in rural areas, immigrants are vital to businesses and communities. At the centre of this success are motivations of SME owners in hiring newcomers.
Based on survey responses from 112 SME owners in rural and small towns across the prairies, results of the present study suggest that business owners are equally motivated by finance (reducing operating costs, increasing sales), bringing in needed skills (employment readiness, talent), productive newcomer behaviours (hard work, new perspectives), and generating community impact (socio-economic development, population growth). The hiring of newcomers draws heavily on internal motivations of owners, including their own notion of rewards and self-worth, as well as their identification with newcomers. Although SME owners have significant experience hiring and working with newcomers across many different industry sectors, challenges persist for these business owners in terms of communication, recruiting, and immigration processes. Given the difficulty encountered in this research in surveying SME owners, further study is needed to examine approaches and practices of others who conducted successful surveys with this hard-to-reach population of SMEs. Future research could also more fully examine motivational factors in hiring newcomers, along with compiling data to characterize newcomers (e.g., skills, age, place of origin).

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