Having a difficult time filling positions in your practice, but there’s a plethora of foreign students, workers and naturalized citizens whose first language is not English in your area? You’re not alone. Immigrants will play a primary role in the workforce in the next few decades so it’s important to not overlook them as potential employees. In fact, the unemployment rate would drop by 8 million without immigrants by 2035 according to Pew Research from 2015.
Who are immigrants and what languages are they speaking?
A potential employee may have experience in health care in their home country, have the skills needed for a position in your practice, but not be comfortable speaking English. Even though the United States has no national language, English is widely spoken. However, the mix of immigrant languages is broken down, according to Pew Research, like this:
- 16% English only.
- 44% Spanish.
- 6% Chinese.
- 5% Hindi.
- 4% Filipino/Tagalog.
- 3% Korean.
- 3% French.
- 18% other languages.
If English is not their primary language, how can you recruit qualified immigrants?
There are two paths you can take to recruiting immigrants in your area. The first is receiving applicants in response to a posted job ad. The other path is connecting with local places of interest that will have connections with qualified immigrants such as a community or technical college. Much like veterans organizations, there are also organizations that work with immigrants to help them settle in communities.
Have the applicants, but still need help with language barriers?
Often the local colleges and community organizations will have classes or know of classes where immigrants may increase their English-speaking skills. Some classes may even focus on specific aspects of businesses such as billing, customer service and organization. Connecting with these organizations can also help create resources for the applicants who apply directly to your job posts. If you have a larger practice with multiple needs, you have the options of piloting your own English learning course. It could even be a partnership with one of the community colleges or organizations.
Benefits of hiring immigrants
If you’re receiving applications from immigrants, chances are the immigrant populations in your area are growing. Hiring immigrants who can not only add the benefit of bilingualism to your team but connect with patients will help your practice grow. Immigrants can add diversity to your team, bringing their own educational and work experiences.
The next time you need to hire don’t overlook foreign students, workers and naturalized citizens. With some added English skills, they could be the growth opportunity your practice needs.