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Immigrant perceptions of integration in the Canadian workplace

Faculty Advisor




cultural diversity, multiculturalism, diversity management, cultural capital, workplace

Abstract (summary)

Purpose – This paper explores integration experiences of immigrants in the Canadian workplace from the perspective of immigrants themselves, focusing on cultural capital and cultural judgments as factors influencing workplace entry, advancement and social integration in an increasingly diverse work environment. Design/methodology/approach – An interpretive approach that involved thematic analysis of in-depth interview data was employed. Findings – The findings reveal that the official two-way multiculturalism policy of Canada is not reflected in the Canadian workplace and that structural forces of assimilation are evident. Cultural judgments and immigrants’ cultural capital create barriers for integration. Research limitations/implications – While highlighting important aspects of immigrant experiences within the Canadian workplace, the study findings cannot generate a fully representative theorization of immigrant employment experiences in Canada. Further studies with diverse migrant groups in different parts of the country would shed more light on the issues faced by immigrants. Practical implications – The barriers to social integration identified by this study can be largely overcome by improving intercultural skills and cultural intelligence of employers and employees through training and incorporating values of diversity and inclusion into the corporate culture. Social implications – The factors that foster and hinder workplace integration identified by this study can inform workplace integration strategies and related policies. Originality/value – Much of the literature concerning immigrants’ position in Canada address the economic integration and economic well-being of immigrants, focusing on quantitative, macro level analyses of earnings disparity and labor market segmentation. There is a lack of qualitative research that explores the integration process through the lens of immigrants. Informed by the theories of cultural capital, cultural judgment and integration, the study sheds light on the everyday workplace experiences of skilled migrants and perceived barriers to workplace entry, advancement and social integration.

Publication Information

Ertorer, S. Long, J., Fellin, M., & Esses, V. (2020). Immigrant perceptions of integration in the Canadian workplace. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.


Item Type

Article Post-Print




Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)