Finding Employment: The Experiences of Ghanaian Male Immigrants in Canada


  • Benedict Kojo Otoo University of Calgary


Canada continues to attract skilled labour from all over the world. My personal story as an immigrant to Canada drew me to understand and further explore the experiences of Ghanaian men in Canada looking for a job. There has been little evidence supporting the employment of minority men of colour new to Canada and this study attempts to showcase the narrative through the lens of Ghana male immigrants. The men who took part in this study all had a minimum educational qualification of a university degree. The goal of the study was to give voice to Ghanaian males who have immigrated to Canada in the last two or more years and their experiences of seeking and securing employment.  I employed the use of a narrative inquiry methodology to capture the stories and experiences of the participants. I conducted one-on-one semi structured interviews with the participants as a means of data collection. I focused on identifying recurring themes or patterns that appeared often through the interviews. The emerging themes became the building blocks of my research. The findings ranged from hurdles they encountered as immigrants, to the support system that assisted them in settling down in the country, to their quest to find jobs as men and family heads, to how race aided or hindered them in their job search. The findings included hope, optimism, and belief in their new country. The study proposed changes and improvements for immigration reform for skilled immigrants regarding addressing challenges faced by newcomers, recognition of foreign credentials and assisting immigrants find jobs in their area of expertise. In conclusion, the study adds some value and perspectives from immigrant men of colour to assist and immigration policy making by government, immigrant service agencies, employers, and prospective immigrants to Canada.

Author Biography

Benedict Kojo Otoo, University of Calgary

PhD student

Adult Learning 

Werklund School of Education 


Birt, L., Scott, S., Cavers, D., Campbell, C., & Walter, F. (2016). Member checking: A tool to enhance trustworthiness or merely a nod to validation? Qualitative Health Research, 26(13), 1802–1811.

Bui, Y. N. (2013). How to write a master’s thesis. London, England: Sage.

Buzdugan, R., & Halli, S. S. (2009). Labor market experiences of Canadian immigrants with focus on foreign education and experience. International Migration Review, 43(2), 366–386.

Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory (2nd ed.). London, England: Sage.

Clandinin, D. J., & Rosiek, G. (2007). Mapping a landscape of narrative inquiry: Borderland, spaces and tensions. In D. J. Clandinin (Ed.), Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology (pp. 35–75). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2015). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Creese, G. L., & Wiebe, B. (2012). ‘Survival employment’: Gender and deskilling among African immigrants in Canada. International Migration, 50(5), 56–76.

Dechief, D., & Oreopoulos, P. (2012, February 19). Why do some employers prefer to interview Matthew, but not Samir? New evidence from Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver (CLSSRN working papers). Retrieved from

Ferrer, A., & Riddell, W. C. (2008). Education, credentials, and immigrant earnings. Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d’économique, 41(1), 186–216.

Guest, G., MacQueen, N., & Namey, E. E. (2012). Introduction to thematic analysis. In Applied thematic analysis (pp. 3–20). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hendricks, C. C. (2012). Improving schools through action research: A reflective practice approach. New York, NY: Pearson Higher Education.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. (2019, May). Newsletter.Retrieved from https://

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. (2016b, March). Report on plans and priorities 2015–2016. Retrieved from

Kustec, S. (2012). The role of migrant labour supply in the Canadian labour market. Ottawa, ON: Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Retrieved from

Li, P. S. (2008). The role of foreign credentials and ethnic ties in immigrants’ economic performance. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 33(2), 291–310. Retrieved from

Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2015). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. London, England: Jossey-Bass.

Nakhaie, M. R., & Kazemipur, A. (2013). Social capital, employment and occupational status of the new immigrants in Canada. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 14(3), 419–437.

Picot, W. (2008). Immigrant economic and social outcomes in Canada: Research and data development at Statistics Canada: Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.

Rossman, G. B., & Rallis, S. F. (2012). Learning in the field: An introduction to qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.




How to Cite

Otoo, B. K. (2020). Finding Employment: The Experiences of Ghanaian Male Immigrants in Canada. Emerging Perspectives: Interdisciplinary Graduate Research in Education and Psychology, 4(1), 8–12. Retrieved from