New Oliver Wyman and Upwardly Global Report Dispels Myths About Skilled Legal Immigrants and Offers Practical Advice to Employers for Hiring Them

Feb 28, 2018

NEW YORK, February 22, 2018 – Skilled Legal Immigrants (SLIs) represent a deep pool of untapped talent for employers and a new report by Oliver Wyman and Upwardly Global examines challenges SLIs are facing when entering the workforce and dispels assumptions about hiring them.

The report titled “Explore New Talent Pools” surveyed more than 400 US employers and SLIs, and interviewed hiring managers, diversity experts, Chief HR Officers, and SLIs, to better understand what SLIs are facing when entering the workforce and to find realistic corporate hiring strategies and solutions.

“SLIs are often misidentified in US immigrant discussions because they are college educated and, as permanent residents or US citizens, here to stay, with no work sponsorship or visas required,” said Ana Kreacic, Oliver Wyman Partner and Chief Knowledge Officer, and Tammi Ling, Oliver Wyman Partner, authors of the report. “Today, there are 8.5 million SLIs in the US and many struggle with finding jobs that recognize their qualifications and experiences.”

The report outlines three employer strategies to attract, assess and hire SLI candidates.

  1. Recognize and offset positive biases: Acknowledge the positive biases favoring “more familiar” candidates and create opportunities for SLIs to connect with your organization and its employees. SLIs are often at a distinct disadvantage due to a more limited professional network and unfamiliarity with US culture and recruiting norms. Employers may want to consider adding a “buddy” during the interview process, who can serve as a non-evaluative source of insight into the company.
  2. Develop standardized frameworks to evaluate candidates: When screening resumes and conducting the interview process, ensure fair evaluation of all candidates based on their skills and potential contributions to the team. Having standardized interview questions and evaluation forms, as well as second resume screeners, can help limit bias against minority group candidates.
  3. Establish partnerships to attract diverse candidates to your organization: Leverage internal and external partnerships to improve the flow of diverse candidates and promote an environment of diversity and inclusion at your organization.  Employers should go beyond the standard recruitment channels such as the company’s website, LinkedIn and job boards and look at internal employee resource groups and external nonprofits which can provide direct access to a more diverse talent pool.

"In our increasingly global workforce, skilled immigrants and refugees are an incredibly strong--yet often misunderstood--source of talent and innovation," said Nikki Cicerani, President and CEO of Upwardly Global. "They bring a wealth of language and cross-cultural skills, as well as the ability to fill talent gaps across industries. The thousands of SLIs we have helped back into the professional workforce have succeeded because they were simply the best, most qualified candidates for the job."

SLIs are untapped potential employees at a time when companies are struggling with having the right people in place in a rapidly changing workforce. Oliver Wyman and our sister company, Mercer recently launched Workforce for the Future which will help organizations prepare their workforces for the digital era. The report, which can be viewed here, provides insight on how companies need to transform the way they think about their staff, strategy, business models and HR in order to remain competitive. 

About Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 50+ cities across nearly 30 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. The firm has more than 4,700 professionals around the world who help clients optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC]. For more information, visit Follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter @OliverWyman.

About Upwardly Global

Upwardly Global is a nonprofit organization that helps skilled immigrants and refugees working far below their skill level find employment in the U.S. Their mission is to eliminate employment barriers for skilled immigrants and refugees, and integrate this population into the professional U.S. workforce. With four offices across the United States, Upwardly Global is the first and longest-serving organization that helps integrate these men and women, who have college degrees from their home countries, integrate into the American workforce. For more information, visit Follow Upwardly Global on Twitter @Upwardly_Global

New Oliver Wyman and Upwardly Global Report Dispels Myths About Skilled Legal Immigrants and Offers Practical Advice to Employers for Hiring Them