The recruitment event in Moncton attracts hundreds of immigrant job seekers

Bert Sonier, Maritime Hydraulic's vice president of operations, speaks to job seekers at a job fair for newcomers in Moncton.  (Alexandre Silberman/CBC - photo credit)

Bert Sonier, Maritime Hydraulic’s vice president of operations, speaks to job seekers at a job fair for newcomers in Moncton. (Alexandre Silberman/CBC – photo credit)

Alexandre Silberman/CBC

Alexandre Silberman/CBC

Hundreds of immigrants and international students turned out for the largest newcomer job fair in Moncton on Wednesday, as companies from across the region scramble to fill positions in a tight job market.

Nearly 1,000 job seekers registered at the Avenir Center to meet with 40 employers in sectors ranging from banking to manufacturing.

Angelique Reddy-Kalala, an immigration strategy officer for the city of Moncton, said the turnout was the highest since job fairs began five years ago with just a handful of employers.

“We have almost full employment in our region and really depend on international talent coming in to ensure we can continue the growth of our community,” she said.

“We know that employers have real difficulties in filling vacancies.”

Alexandre Silberman/CBC

Alexandre Silberman/CBC

Given the high job vacancy rate in New Brunswick, more and more employers are hiring immigrants. According to Statistics Canada, the proportion of immigrants and non-permanent residents in the province’s labor force rose to about 8.8 percent in 2022, up from 4.6 percent in 2016.

The job vacancy rate in the province is 4.7 percent, slightly below the national average.

Many of the employers at the job fair were there for the first time, while some were returning, having previously successfully hired newcomers.

Alexandre Silberman/CBC

Alexandre Silberman/CBC

Bert Sonier, Vice President of Operations at Maritime Hydraulic, was at the job fair for the second time to fill four positions. Based in Moncton, the company manufactures equipment for offshore oil, gas and power infrastructure.

“There’s not a lot of skilled labor left here in Canada, so new people seem like an excellent opportunity,” Sonier said. “Right now, people with experience are very rare.”

When attending a newcomer job fair for the first time, Sonier says he found a trained industrial mechanic from Ukraine who proved to be an “excellent worker” for the team.

“You never know how these things work, but they work great, so we’ll try to hire more,” he said.

Part of the reason for the high turnout is that the city and province welcome large numbers of immigrants and people relocating from other parts of Canada. Moncton is now the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country.

Jovita Soares arrived from India in December after her husband joined Crandall University for a master’s degree. She worked in the financial services industry in her home country and was looking for a job in administration as part of her open work permit.

“As a newcomer, you don’t know many people, so you should attend networking events and career fairs like this. I think that’s the approach I’m going to take.”

Soares said she would have liked to see more opportunities for interviews and job postings locally. But she’s optimistic about her job prospects after meeting with several employers.

“Lots of options,” she said. “I just hope they convert into a job.”

Alexandre Silberman/CBC

Alexandre Silberman/CBC

Chau Nguyen immigrated from Vietnam six years ago. She tried to fill up to eight positions at her two operations: a nursing home and a daycare.

Nguyen said finding qualified staff is difficult, but she is optimistic after receiving many applicants, particularly from Ukraine.

“It’s a very big opportunity to contact new immigrants who are looking for a job and really want to work,” she said.


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