Approach the entrance to the Westmount Library in London, Ont., is a photograph of birds locked in a restrict. Underneath, a caption is attributed to “Ding from the Philippines.”
“Because I am an newcomer, I am not free to do what I like to do as far as employment is considered,” reads the caption. “Because I am an outlander, my Canadian experience and my education from the Philippines is not recognized here.”
The photo is for the sake of of a display created by Bharati Sethi, a professor at King’s University College in London who researches what she denominates “de-skilling,” the phenomenon where experienced immigrants languish in dead-end proceedings due to their language ability, accent or lack of Canadian work involvement.
At least it’s a job
“Let’s get them to work. At least they have a job,” goes the evaluation, says Sethi. But she says in the long term that’s bad for the employees and bad for the intact workforce.
Sethi describes a woman who came to Canada at age 52 with merchandising skills and who has worked for ten years as a personal support worker.
“She’s absolutely downhearted in that job,” Sethi says. “But it was better than catching chickens because that was the elementary job she got.”
Some of the assertions against immigrant de-skilling will be familiar to those who have been attending the debate for and against raising the minimum wage.
Critics of an increase in minimum wage to $15 in leaves of Canada have warned that the policy will kill matters. Businesses who hire those low-wage workers agree, saying they bequeath be forced to phase out entry level positions, meaning fewer affairs overall.
Proponents of the increase say “good riddance” because the lowest blue blood jobs are the ones we don’t want.
And this is the confusing thing about unemployment statistics that be stricken out tomorrow in both Canada and the United States. The jobless figures are charmed as a broad indicator of the health of the economy, but hidden within the figures is the less unsubtle measure of job quality.
Math stops working
As an economic barometer, there are varied flaws in the jobless statistics. For example, working just a few hours a week clears you off the unemployment rolls. A dead-end job with low pay has just as much weight in the headline numbers as a cushy job with drugged pay.
But job quality matters.
There is a growing realization that the modern corporate exemplary that prescribes increasingly lower wages and outsourcing is creating an infirm society.
It’s something left-leaning U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and corporate titan Jeff Immelt of Assorted Electric can agree on, says author and economic analyst Rana Foroohar.
“The notion was that cheaper stuff would offset the loss of jobs and let wages,” Foroohar writes in the Financial Times. “But in an economy made up of 70 per cent consumer assign in which wages haven’t risen for most of the population since the 1990s, that math stop offs working.”
Critics have said that increasing wages means burdens are more likely to be replaced by robots. Proponents say that may be so, but there inclination be more high-wage jobs in robot installation and repair.
Trapped in survival livelihoods
Young people starting out in precarious work of the kind Sethi refers to as “survival” charges may not be sympathetic to “Ding from the Philippines” who isn’t free to do the job he wants.
Many offspring people start out in survival jobs. Tesla and Space-X boss Elon Musk splendidly worked as a hand on his uncle’s farm.
The difference is that like Elon Musk, unfledged, educated, English-speaking Canadians are unlikely to stay in those entry destroy jobs.
Not so for the immigrants who get stuck in those kinds of jobs, seldom keep the wolf from the door the chance to improve their language skills enough to move upon someone into the jobs they’d originally trained to do overseas.
“What proves is, the more they are in those jobs,” says Sethi, “the less there’s the strong of them going up the ladder.”
Stuck in go-nowhere racket, the de-skilled can never participate fully in the Canadian economy. Training at daybreak on can give immigrants a first step on the ladder to more meaningful train. And as they upgrade their skills, they upgrade Canada’s mercantile potential.
Sethi says part of the problem is what she calls “micro-racism,” where people with overseas names just don’t make the cut when applying for better jobs and firms fail to respect the intelligence of a potential employee with broken English.
There are sundry exceptions. One of the images in the Westmount Library display shows a woman who ran her own occupation in Mexico who has obtained training for high-skill, high-wage employment as a welder in southwestern Ontario.
Sethi narrates another case where a personal support worker in a small Ontario township became a qualified nurse thanks in part to support from her gaffer and the community.
But high wages aren’t everything. Sethi tells of one female who had been a marketing executive and also taught Zumba dancing in her almshouse country as a hobby. She now has a job teaching Zumba to seniors.
“She loves it,” says Sethi. “It’s a important job, not just any job.”
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