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Familiar faces in the workplace

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For a small proportion of immigrants, a job in Canada involves working alongside fellow immigrants from their homeland.

In Canada’s eight largest cities, 10% of non-British and non-French immigrants work where most co-workers share their ethnic origin. The level rises to 20% among Chinese immigrants and to 18% among Portuguese immigrants. Immigrant men who work in ethnically homogeneous settings earn on average 33% less than those in more diverse workplaces. About two-thirds of this earnings gap is associated with differences in workers’ education and official language proficiency as well as occupation and industry.

Immigrant workers in ethnically homogeneous settings are less likely than other immigrant workers to report low satisfaction with life. Among Canadian-born workers, sharing ethnic origins is not consistently associated with earnings or life satisfaction.