Guide for new members
THE INTEGRATION OF NEWCOMERS INTO THE JOB MARKET
The integration of a professional in project management in the job market can be challenging for many. Meanwhile, with adequate attention to local cultural aspects, Québec is a very open location for qualified immigrants that offers multiple interesting opportunities.
For those wondering about different work opportunities in project management in Québec, know that the industry of IT (Information Technology) is known as the most international and most open to hire immigrants. Meanwhile, after few years of local experience, other positions will open up to allow entry into other industries.
Normally, the integration of newcomers into the job market starts with learning the language and it is extremely important to know that French is the only official language in the province of Québec .
Even though the majority of the population is bilingual (French-English) and that a good knowledge of English is often required in multiple job positions— specially in project management— the language at work remains the French language and mastering it is a key to integration for the newcomer.
Afterwards, the importance of self-evaluation of the newcomer project manager must be emphasized in order for him/her to know his/her strengths and weaknesses in a Québec project management context. Beside technical skills — also known as hard skills — human qualities and relationships, or soft skills, are the most cherished by recruiters and managers, and it could be what distinguishes you in an interview or even in accomplishing your work after being hired. Even though our profession is to manage people not machines, technical skills often outweigh the qualitative skills.
To achieve that, the newcomer can use tools like the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) to identify their personality type and be aware of the strengths and what needs to be improved.
To engage in the Québec job market integration, many resources are available for the newcomers. CREMCV (Montréal-Downtown job search club) is a good example, it’s a partner of PMI-Montréal that offers a professional coaching program for project managers. For more information, please visit: http://cremcv.com/gestionprojet/.
Here are some tips and messages from our experts:
« In Québec, the presence of immigrants is important. In a work or study environment we have to respect one another and assert what each does better. The professional who doesn’t know his work environment yet has to express it and refer to the right resources to get the right answer. Even when having a discussion between Québecers, sometimes it doesn’t seem like we are speaking the same language. Imagine then when you gather people that do not share the same mother tongue language in one discussion. So, it is normal to ask questions in order to better understand the message. Don’t be embarrassed to do it. » (Agnès Bédard)
«The MGP week is an interesting activity organized by the project management master student at UQAM. Every fall they offer presentations as well as networking opportunities for all those interested in been part of the Québec job market. » (Brian Hobbs)
THE WORSHOP « THE PATH TO PERSONAL SUCCESS…THE IMMIGRANT ROUTE »
The workshop « The Path to personal success…The immigrant route » is an interactive activity that helps professionals who arrive from other countries to find their path throughout the challenging immigration process. Already in its 3rd edition, this workshop is presented few times a year and is a great opportunity to interact with different people that are in the same situation, to learn by experience exchange in between the participants and the facilitator, moreover, it gives 3 PDU to the certified professionals.
The workshop relies on applying proven concepts of change management and supplies tools to help prepare an action plan toward personal and professional success in the Québec immigration process.
It was originally designed by Mrs Merling Sapene, author of the book « Éviter les bosses lors du trajet d’intégration » (Available on Amazon.ca) and delivered by M. Alcides Santopietro, a professional originally from brazil who has been living in Québec for the past 11 years.
WORKING IN QUÉBEC, A NEW ARRIVAL'S PERSPECTIVE
« The job market in Québec has so many qualified immigrants. It is important to know how to work in a multicultural environment. The differences in a multicultural environment goes beyond the linguistic aspects: it covers the fundamental values of each individual which might seem uninteresting for some and offensive for others. For example, the immigrants from France realize quickly that even though speaking the same language as a Québecer, the culture, the way of seeing things and even the way they work in a project mode is way too different.
An aspect of project management that is affected by the cultural differences is schedule processing.
For example, in certain cultures, if the project is late, it is still possible to contact the client and explain the situation, and eventually plan a new delivery date for the product. Whereas in other cultures, this action might seem inadmissible.
In some cultures, family is more important than work, whereas in others, work always takes a more important aspect. This difference is expressed in the project management environment through extra hours put into finalizing a deliverable promised to a client. The cultural differences in a work environment might cause some discomfort for some people; It is important to identify these differences and abide by them in order to maintain a productive and respectable work environment.
Risk aversion is more current is some cultures more than others. This difference might be cause conflicts.
Ethics and transparency are values that are more important sometimes than the profit. Profit is valued but not at the expense of respect and ethics. The exaggerated profit might sometimes be wrongly perceived. Like in any society, it is important to identify and recognize the cultural differences and abide by them to succeed.
The concept of authority differs according to cultures: for example, use of the familiar form toward an immediate superior and considering him/her as a friend might be acceptable or not.
All immigrants find themselves at least once in a situation where they will be saying: ‘’In my home country, it doesn’t work this way’’. In some countries, projects are managed by using a heavier and more structured approach than here. Increasingly in Québec, in the IT environment for example, instead of writing an architecture documents of 80 pages before starting to write the code, we will privilege an immediate trial of a 1st solution in order to experiment without a delay (related to the agile philosophy). It is important to understand this reality to blend in this culture. »
PROGRAMS FOR THE NEW ARRIVALS
«Immigrants bring many interesting assets into the project management field. For example, their international experience, their capacity to adapt and a different way to see things, which is looked at positively by some employers. » (Marc Messier)
The province of Québec offers various programs to facilitate the integration of new comers into the job market. For those who are seeking opportunities in the project management, there are 3 that stand out:
In May 2017, the integration office of the new comers (le Bureau d’intégration des nouveaux arrivants à Montréal (BINAM)) of the city of Montréal, the government of Québec, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal and 4 of Québec’s biggest firms created the project Integration-Work-Training to help Montréal’s qualified immigrants to obtain a first local work experience and developpe new skills through training and support. This program was inspired from the city’s professional sponsorship program (Programme de Parrainage Professionnel -PPP).
The participating firms (Desjardins Group, Hydro-Québec, Intact Assurance and SNC-Lavalin) are worthwhile for career development in project management, since they have project management offices, experiences and recognized expertise. This is a paid program, and every year there is between 12 to 15 qualified immigrant workers that can profit from this opportunity.
The immigrants admitted to the program must have no work experience in Canada or the United states, they must have arrived in less than five years and must have a degree and experience within the field of the opened positions. The positions are posted on the participating firms’ websites with the suffix « Integration-Work-Training ».
For more information, please visit the program’s webpage:
2. INTERCONNEXION PROGRAM
Organised by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal, with the support of Emploi Québec, the interconnexion program encourages the contact between Montreal’s organisations and the new comers to help them in their professional integration. The twinning activities are free, various and includes:
- Immersion in enterprise: meeting with professionals; unpaid internships of 4 weeks maximum in a company;
- Professional contact: discovery day—career; express mentoring; workshop « Communicating with employers »;
- Sectoral networking: training for business networking and interview process; sectoral conference; flash interviews session, workforce and diversity networking.
The sectorial activity of the interconnexion program with profiles in project management are: Construction, environment and manufacturing, information technology (IT) and transport.
For more information or to subscribe to the program, please visit the program webpage: http://acclr.ccmm.ca/fr/services/main-d-oeuvre/programme-interconnexion/.
3. TRAINING COMPAGNIES
They are companies that welcome workers in training throughout an approach based on practice « learning by doing ». Training companies do the same activities as the real ones that are in a globalization context (international finance management, marketing strategies adapted to different cultures, multicultural team management, etc.), having a local work experience, improving professional attitude and skills (time management, priority management, team work, etc.) and having job-search assistance (from skill assessment to interview preparation).
The Canadian network of training companies offers a directory of member companies in each province. Please visit their website to know more about the 20 companies in Québec that participate in this program: http://rcee-cpfn.ca/fr/notre-reseau/.
The maximum unpaid participation period is 15 weeks, but you can receive your employment insurance benefit or welfare, and depending on the situation, you can have an additional financial support.
For more information and to know more about the admission requirements, visit the program’s website: http://rcee-cpfn.ca/fr/.
Bourel, Fanny (2017, May 25). A pilot project to facilitate the professional integration of immigrants, on the website immigrant Québec. Visited April 4, 2018Un projet-pilote pour faciliter l’intégration professionnelle des immigrants, sur le site Immigrant Québec. Consulté le 4 avr. 2018.
Interconnexion (no date), on the website ‘’Travail immigrants’’. Visited on April 4, 2018.
Le Projet Intégration-Travail-Formation : Pour un parcours simplifié d’intégration professionnelle des travailleurs immigrants à Montréal (2017, 25 mai), sur le site Newswire. Consulté le 4 avr. 2018.