IMDB 2008 Core Report – National Portrait of Immigrant Outcomes: 2001-2008 Employment Earnings

National overview

All immigrants

Average entry employment earnings of all immigrants declined after 2000, but started a recovery in the 2005 tax year, which has continued through 2008 at a rate much faster than the average employment earnings growth of all CanadiansFootnote 2 (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Average employment earnings (2008$) for all immigrants by landing year and tax year, 1981-2008

Average  employment earnings (2008$) for all immigrants by landing year and tax year, 1981-2008
  • Average entry employment earnings for all immigrants increased from $20,543 in 2005 to $23,862 in 2008—an increase of $3,319 or 16%. This compares to an increase of $1,793 (4.6%) for all Canadians over the same period.
  • The number of years it takes immigrants to catch up to Canadian average employment earnings varies by cohort. Cohorts who arrived in 1981 and 1982 reached and surpassed the Canadian average in about 11 years, but those arriving later did not reach that level before exiting the database 16 years later.

Despite the variation in average entry employment earnings for landing cohorts between 2000 and 2007, all cohorts saw consistent gains in subsequent years.

  • Average employment earnings of all immigrants landing between 2001 and 2005 posted growths—averaging roughly 17% and 12% in the second and third years after landing.
  • Cohorts landings in 2001-2003 had lower average entry employment earnings, but experienced healthy gains later: roughly 16% and 11% in the second and third years after landing respectively.
  • Immigrants who landed during 2004-2005 noted more rapid growth in average employment earnings in the second and third years after landing: roughly 18% and 12% respectively.
  • Growth in average employment earnings for the 2006 cohort was only 14% in the second year after landing. It is too early to know whether this signals a slower trend.

Outcomes by immigration category

Immigrants with entry employment earnings: Category distribution

Two determinants of changes in the trend of overall immigrant average entry employment earnings are changes in the average entry employment earnings of each immigration category and the changing composition by category. Table 1 shows how the composition by category has changed in recent years and Figure 2 shows how average entry earnings by immigrant category have changed over the years.

Among all immigrants who reported entry employment earnings in the IMDB, the proportion of family class and other immigrants rose while the proportion of economic class immigrants declined between 2000 and 2007.

Table 1: Composition of Immigrants with Entry Employment Earnings by Immigration Category and Landing Year, 2000-2007

Landing year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Total Immigrants 91,960 97,895 87,325 87,450 94,010 102,680 93,485 92,240
Family class 27.9 27.6 28.7 31.7 28.9 28.4 32.7 31.9
Economic Class 61.2 63.1 60.1 52.9 54.9 56.1 53.2 53.8
    Skilled Worker - PA 36.9 36.6 35.1 29.5 29.3 27.9 24.9 24.2
    PN - PA 0.4 0.3 0.6 1.2 1.7 1.9 3.3 4.8
    Other economic - PA 3.2 3.9 3.3 3.5 3.9 4.2 4.8 4.9
    Economic - S&D 20.7 22.4 21.1 18.7 20.0 22.2 20.2 19.9
Refugees 10.7 9.2 9.3 10.9 13.1 12.7 10.4 9.6
Other 0.2 0.1 2.0 4.5 3.2 2.8 3.7 4.6
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

PA = Principal applicants
S&D = Spouses and dependants
Source: IMDB 2008

  • For the economic class, the proportion of SWPAs declined continuously for each landing cohort between 2000 and 2007 dropping from 36.9% in 2000 to 24.2% in 2007.
  • The total number and share of PNPAs increased after 2001. In 2001, PNPAs made up less than 1% of the total immigrants with entry employment earnings; that proportion rose to nearly 2% for the 2004 landing cohort and to almost 5% for the 2007 landing cohort.
  • Family class made up roughly 30% of immigrants between the 2000 and 2007 landing years, economic S&D made up about 20% and refugees accounted for 10%.

Entry employment earnings by immigration category

The increase in immigrant average entry employment earnings between 2005 and 2008 varied among immigration categories but all remained below average Canadian employment earnings except PNPAs (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Average entry employment earnings (2008$) by immigration category and tax year, 1981-2008

Average  entry employment earnings (2008$) by immigration category and tax year,  1981-2008
  • SWPAs experienced the largest increase in entry employment earnings, followed by economic S&D, PNPAs and then family class.
  • After increasing 21.5% between 2004 and 2005, average entry employment earnings of PNPAs remained at the same level for two years before rising again in 2008.
  • Average entry employment earnings of refugees showed small fluctuations between 2006 and 2008.

Skilled worker principal applicants

SWPAs who landed between 2000 and 2007 initially experienced a decreasing incidence of employment earnings one year after landing. It fell from 80.6% in 2001 to 76.4% in 2004, but recovered during 2005 to 2008 bringing the incidence rate back up to 79.5% in 2008 (Figure 3).Footnote 3

Figure 3: Incidence of immigrants with entry employment earnings, by immigration category and tax year, 1981-2008

Incidence  of immigrants with entry employment earnings, by immigration category and tax  year, 1981-2008

The average entry employment earnings of SWPAs, who are selected for their labour market attributes and known to have relatively stronger labour market attachment, exceed those of all other immigrant categories except PNPAs (Figure 2).

  • For cohorts landing between 2001 and 2007, SWPAs’ average entry employment earnings were well below average Canadian employment earnings and below average entry employment earnings of PNPAs.
  • Between 2006 and 2008, average entry employment earnings of SWPAs increased significantly faster than the Canadian average—by $5,986 (21.5%) compared to only $821 (2%) for all Canadians.
  • Although a significant gap between the average entry employment earnings of SWPAs and the Canadian average was evident during the 2000s, the difference between average entry employment earnings of SWPAs and the Canadian average has been narrowing—from $13,344 for the 2004 cohort to $7,229 for the 2007 cohort. Put differently, SWPAs average entry employment earnings amounted to 69% of the Canadian average in 2005 and increased to 82% by 2008.

Figure 4: Average employment earnings (2008$) for skilled worker principal applicants by landing cohort and tax year, 1981-2008

Average  employment earnings (2008$) for skilled worker principal applicants by landing  cohort and tax year, 1981-2008

Figure 4 shows that for all SWPA landing cohorts, average employment earnings of those landing between 2001 and 2005 posted rapid growth—averaging roughly 20% and 15% in the second and third years after landing. The most recent trends (early 2000s landing cohorts) indicate that within four years of landing, average employment earnings of SWPAs surpass average Canadian employment earnings. (See Table 9 in the appendix.)

Skilled worker principal applicant entry employment earnings by gender

Although males continued to dominate the skilled worker principal applicant population, the share of females with entry employment earnings increased every year between 2001 and 2007 (Table 2).

Table 2: Distribution (%) of skilled worker principal applicants with entry employment earnings by landing cohort and gender

Landing cohort Total number Male Female Total
2000 41,150 77.0 23.0 100.0
2001 35,800 77.5 22.5 100.0
2002 30,615 76.6 23.4 100.0
2003 25,825 74.8 25.2 100.0
2004 27,535 72.0 28.0 100.0
2005 28,640 71.5 28.5 100.0
2006 23,305 70.5 29.5 100.0
2007 22,320 68.6 31.4 100.0

Source: IMDB, 2008 and CRA, 2008

  • For the 2001 cohort, 77.5% of SWPAs with entry employment earnings were male and 22.5% were female. By the 2007 cohort, the share of females increased to 31.4%.
  • The gender composition of SWPAs with entry employment earnings over these years is similar to the gender composition of SWPA landings.

Table 3: Average entry employment earnings (2008$) for skilled worker principal applicants by landing cohort and gender

Landing cohort Male Female Total
Earnings ($) Earnings ($) Earnings ($)
2000 35,133 - 27,757 - 33,492 -2.4
2001 28,193 -19.8 22,554 -18.7 26,923 -21.6
2002 27,109 -3.8 21,033 -6.7 25,686 -4.6
2003 26,401 -2.6 21,348 1.5 25,129 -2.2
2004 29,944 13.4 22,278 4.4 27,801 10.6
2005 29,838 -0.4 22,859 2.6 27,853 0.2
2006 33,401 11.9 24,849 8.7 30,876 10.9
2007 36,945 10.6 27,065 8.9 33,839 9.6

∆ indicates the percentage change in average employment earnings from the previous year.
Source: IMDB, 2008 and CRA, 2008

Table 3 shows the gender differential in average entry employment earnings for SWPAs.

  • The gender differential in average entry employment earnings for SWPAs ned over the period. For the 2001 cohorts, the female-male SWPAs employment earnings gap was $5,639 with females earning 80% of males. For the 2007 cohort, the gap had increased to $9,880 and females only earned 73% of males.
  • After the decline in average entry employment earnings in 2002 noted above, females recovered one year sooner than males. However, except for the 2005 cohort, growth was consistently slower for females than males.

Skilled worker principal applicants employment earnings by age at landing

The vast majority (approximately 97%) of SWPAs with entry employment earnings are between the ages of 21 years to 49 years (Table 4).

Table 4: Distribution of skilled worker principal applicants with entry employment earnings by landing cohort and age at landing

Landing cohort Total number Percentage
15-20* 21-29 30-49 50+
2001 35,800 0.0 28.5 70.4 1.0
2002 30,615 0.0 27.8 71.0 1.2
2003 25,825 0.0 27.3 71.5 1.2
2004 27,535 0.0 25.0 73.3 1.6
2005 28,640 0.0 21.4 76.2 2.4
2006 23,305 0.0 24.1 72.8 3.0
2007 22,320 0.0 26.5 70.1 3.4

*Total number for the group aged 15-20 for the period 2001-2007 is 60.
Source: IMDB, 2008 and CRA, 2008

  • Those who land at the older end of the range tend to have higher incidences of entry employment earnings: the largest proportion with entry employment earnings was aged 30-49 followed by those aged 21-29.

SWPAs who were older at time of landing also tended to have higher average entry employment earnings than those who landed at younger ages (Table 5).

Table 5: Average entry employment earnings (2008$) for skilled worker principal applicants, by landing cohort and age at landing

Landing cohort 15-20 21-29 30-49 50+ Total
2008$ 2008$ 2008$ 2008$ 2008$
2001 14,169 - 27,004 - 26,789 - 34,741 - 26,923 -21.6
2002 14,742 4.0 25,076 -7.1 25,807 -3.7 33,012 -5.0 25,686 -4.6
2003 6,223 -57.8 23,515 -6.2 25,484 -1.3 40,809 23.6 25,129 -2.2
2004 8,767 40.9 26,253 11.6 28,087 10.2 39,049 -4.3 27,801 10.6
2005 9,163 4.5 27,767 5.8 27,671 -1.5 34,632 -11.3 27,853 0.2
2006 9,502 3.7 29,681 6.9 31,094 12.4 35,244 1.8 30,876 10.9
2007 15,378 61.9 31,593 6.4 34,366 10.5 40,753 15.6 33,839 9.6

∆ indicates the percentage change in average employment earnings from the previous year.
Source: IMDB, 2008 and CRA, 2008

  • SWPAs aged 50 and over had the highest average entry employment earnings, although as Table 4 indicates, they comprised a relatively small proportion of the group.
  • The recovery from the slump in 2001 occurred at different times across age groups. For instance, entry employment earnings for those aged 29 and under started to rise in 2004 while those aged 50 and over did not experience more than a year of steady increases in entry employment earnings until 2006.

Intended occupation highlights for skilled worker principal applicantsFootnote 4

Two-thirds of SWPAs who landed in 2008 intended to work in one of six occupational groupsFootnote 5: professional occupations in natural and applied sciences (NOC 21); professional occupations in social sciences, education, government services and religion (NOC 41); skilled administrative and business occupations (NOC 12); technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences (NOC 22); professional occupations in health (NOC 31); and professional occupations in business and finance (NOC 11).

Table 6: Shares (%) of top ten intended 2-digit NOCs for skilled workers principal applicants by landing year, 2000-2008Footnote 6

2-Digit NOC - Major Occupational Group 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
21 - Professional Occupations in Natural and Applied Sciences 54.2 52.6 50.2 53.4 44.8 40.0 32.9 27.8 23.3
41 - Professional Occupations in Social Science, Education, Government Services and Religion 4.2 4.7 5.1 5.7 9.2 10.3 13.6 14.9 16.2
12 - Skilled Administrative and Business Occupations 4.1 3.7 3.8 3.9 4.5 4.9 5.5 6.3 7.5
22 - Technical Occupations Related to Natural and Applied Sciences 6.4 7.2 7.6 6.3 6.0 6.6 6.6 7.6 6.9
31 - Professional Occupations in Health 1.7 1.8 2.4 2.6 3.9 4.3 4.8 5.6 6.3
11 - Professional Occupations in Business and Finance 7.3 7.5 7.9 7.8 7.6 7.1 6.5 6.4 6.3
Top Six Two Digit NOC 77.9 77.5 77.0 79.7 76.0 73.2 69.9 68.6 66.5
06 - Management - Sales and Service 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.8 1.9 2.9 3.4 3.9 4.8
01 - Management - Business, Finance and Administration 1.8 2.2 2.2 2.4 2.6 3.2 3.1 3.3 3.6
62 - Skilled Sales and Service Occupations 3.8 3.6 3.9 3.6 3.6 3.4 3.7 3.5 3.6
51 - Professional Occupations in Art and Culture 2.4 2.3 2.5 2.6 2.8 2.5 2.3 2.4 2.2
Top Ten 2-Digit NOC 86.6 86.2 86.3 89.1 87.0 85.0 82.3 81.6 80.8
Other 2-Digit NOC 13.4 13.8 13.7 10.9 13.0 15.0 17.7 18.4 19.2
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: RDM

The shares of occupations within this group of six changed between 2000 and 2008 especially that of NOC 21 which fell sharply over the period (Table 6). Corresponding increases in the shares of occupations that were too small to be included in the group of the top ten intended occupations resulted in greater occupational diversification by the end of the period.

  • Although NOC 21 had the largest share of intended occupations in 2008, its share plummeted from 54.2% in 2000 to 23.3% in 2008.
  • The share of SWPAs planning to work in NOC 41 rose most, from 4.2% to 16.2% between 2000 and 2008.
  • Shares of a few other intended occupations such as NOC 31, NOC 06, and NOC 12 increased about 4 percentage points between 2000 and 2008.

Figure 5: Incidence of entry employment earnings of skilled worker principal applicants intending to work in one of the top six intended occupations by tax year, 2000-2008

Incidence  of entry employment earnings of skilled worker principal applicants intending  to work in one of the top six intended occupations by tax year, 2000-2008

Figure 5 shows the incidence of entry employment earnings of SWPAs intending to work in one of the top six intended occupations over the period 2000 to 2008. All groups declined in the early 2000s and recovered after the mid-2000s, except professional occupations in health which continued to decline.

  • The trend for NOC 21 was similar to the average for all SWPAs: a decline in the early part of the 2000s and a recovery in the middle of the decade. By 2008, the incidence had risen to 79.6%, just shy of what it had been in 2000 (80.6%) before the downturn.
  • NOC 22 varied little between 2000 and 2008. This group is mainly composed of technical occupations to support engineering and computer and information systems.
  • As noted above, the incidence of employment earnings for NOC 31 was similar to the falling average of all SWPAs until 2004 but its decline continued throughout the period. By 2008, the employment earnings incidence dropped to 65.7%, about 15 percentage points lower than the SWPA average.
  • The other three intended occupations (NOC 41, NOC 12 and NOC 11) had similar levels and trends to the SWPA average over the period.

Figure 6: Average entry employment earnings (2008$) for skilled worker principal applicants intending to work in one of the top six intended occupations by tax year, 2000-2008

Average  entry employment earnings (2008$) for skilled worker principal applicants  intending to work in one of the top six intended occupations by tax year,  2000-2008

Figure 6 shows the average entry employment earnings of SWPAs intending to work in one of the top six intended occupations between 2001 and 2008. All groups declined in the early 2000s and then rose after the mid-2000s.

  • Some, such as NOC 21 experienced greater entry employment earnings fluctuations over the period than others (for example NOC 12 which were relatively stable although much lower).
  • There was a fairly large range in average entry employment earnings across these groups over the period.
  • All intended occupational groups had average entry employment earnings below the Canadian average over the period

Again, it should be noted that SWPAs may not actually be working in their intended occupation, and could be reporting entry employment earnings from other occupations.

Provincial nominee principal applicantsFootnote 7

PNPAs had the highest incidence of entry employment earnings of the five immigrant categories analysed in this report: about 90% between 2000 and 2008 (Figure 3). The incidence of entry employment earnings of PNPAs decreased in 2002 and 2003 then stabilized until 2008.

PNPAs also reported the highest average entry employment earnings (Figure 2). Since 2002, their average entry employment earnings have surpassed SWPAs. Between 2006 and 2008, their average entry employment earnings were around $10,000 (about 30%) higher than SWPAs and consistently at or above the average employment earnings of all Canadians.

  • Although average entry employment earnings of PNPAs fluctuated, they did not show an obvious downward trend during the 2000 recession as was the case for SWPAs. Average entry employment earnings of PNPAs showed a large gain of $9,896 (32.7%)Footnote 8 between 2001 and 2005 then remained unchanged between 2006 and 2007, before a further $2,700 (6.7%) gain in 2008.

Figure 7: Average employment earnings (2008$) for provincial nominee principal applicants by landing cohort and tax year, 2000-2008

Average  employment earnings (2008$) for provincial nominee principal applicants by  landing cohort and tax year, 2000-2008

As shown in Figure 7, average employment earnings of PNPAs rose after entry for all landing cohorts. However, the data indicate significant differences in the average employment earnings growth as compared to SWPAs.

  • The average employment earnings growth of PNPAs was significantly slower than for SWPAs—for instance PNPAs recorded average employment earnings growth of roughly 9% and 8% in the second and third year after landing while the comparable figures for SWPAs were 20% and 15% for 2001 to 2005 landing cohorts.
  • SWPA’s rapid average employment earnings growth allows them to catch up and pass PNPAs within 5 years of landing (Table 7).
  • Since 2005, average employment earnings of PNPAs reach or surpass average Canadian employment earnings within one year after landing. (See Table 10 in the appendix.)

Table 7: Comparison of average entry employment earnings (2008$) and earnings growth for PNPAs and SWPAs for landing cohorts 2000-2007

Landing cohort YSL=1 YSL=3 YSL=5
PNPA SWPA PNPA/
SWPA
PNPA SWPA PNPA/
SWPA
PNPA SWPA PNPA/
SWPA
2000 30,248 33,492 90% 36,290 39,258 92% 40,519 46,072 88%
2001 33,847 26,923 126% 38,156 38,473 99% 44,727 44,804 100%
2002 32,533 25,686 127% 36,510 39,275 93% 42,676 45,674 93%
2003 33,037 25,129 131% 40,764 40,247 101% 46,584 46,962 99%
2004 40,144 27,801 144% 47,691 40,876 117%      
2005 40,139 27,853 144% 47,974 41,068 117%      
2006 40,030 30,876 130%            
2007 42,717 33,839 126%            

Source: IMDB 2008, Tables 9 and 10 in the appendix

Family class immigrants, economic spouses and dependents, and refugees

The incidences of entry employment earnings for these three categories of immigrants are lower than for SWPAs and PNPAs (see Figure 3). This is consistent with the different migration motivations of these immigrant groups and other factors such as human capital, social capital as well as the length of time usually required for them to find employment.

As shown in Figure 2, these three categories of immigrants had much lower average entry employment earnings than SWPAs and PNPAs.

Unlike SWPAs, average entry employment earnings of these three categories seem less sensitive to the economic cycle. They did not show large declines in average entry employment earnings in the early part of the 2000s, but increases in mid-decade were also slow.

Figure 8: Average employment earnings (2008$) for family class by landing cohort and tax year, 1981-2008

Average  employment earnings (2008$) for family class by landing cohort and tax year,  1981-2008

Figure 8 shows the average employment earnings profile for family class immigrants.

  • Average entry employment earnings remained between $15,000 and $20,000 since the early 1980s, far below Canadian average employment earnings.
  • Average employment earnings growth in years subsequent to landing are very similar across cohorts and employment earnings did not catch up to average Canadian employment earnings over the 16 year period covered by the IMDB.
  • The latest figures show average entry employment earnings grew about 11% ($2000) between 2005 and 2008—stronger than that of the Canadian average of 4.5% ($1,793).

Figure 9: Average employment earnings (2008$) for economic spouses and dependents by landing cohort and tax year, 1981-2008

Average  employment earnings (2008$) for economic spouses and dependents by landing  cohort and tax year, 1981-2008

Figure 9 shows the average employment earnings profile for economic spouses and dependents.

  • Average entry employment earnings for economic S&Ds are far below the Canadian average, ranging from 35% to 42% of the Canadian average between 2001 and 2008.
  • In the years subsequent to landing, employment earnings for this group rose. For instance, the 2003 cohorts’ average employment earnings grew from 35% of the Canadian average one year after landing, to 57% of the Canadian average, five years after landing. (See Table 12 in the appendix.)
  • Average employment earnings for economic S&Ds is similar to the family class, but with lower average entry employment earnings. Average entry employment earnings growth between 2005 and 2008 was stronger than for the family class, increasing by $2,681 (18%).

Figure 10: Average employment earnings (2008$) for refugees by landing cohort and tax year, 1981-2008

Average  employment earnings (2008$) for refugees by landing cohort and tax year,  1981-2008

Figure 10 shows the average employment earnings profile for refugees. Average entry employment earnings of refugees remained far below Canadian average employment earnings.

  • For 2001-2008, average entry employment earnings for refugees ranged between 40% and 45% of the Canadian average. Between 2005 and 2008, refugees’ average entry employment earnings increased by $1,302 (7.8%) in 2006, but decreased by $944 (5.2%) in 2007 and then rose $372 (2.2%) in 2008.
  • The decrease in average entry employment earnings in 2007 is unique to refugees among all immigration categories and may be related to the composition of refugees who landed in 2006.
  • Other refugee cohorts had different experiences. For example, the 2003 cohort of refugees had average entry employment earnings that were 42% of the Canadian average and these grew to 53% five years after landing.
  • Circumstances were somewhat better for the 2005 cohort whose average entry employment earnings were 45% of the Canadian average and whose employment earnings grew to 51% of the Canadian average three years after landing. (See Table 13 in the appendix.). It is too early to know how their average employment earnings five years after landing compare to the Canadian average.
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