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3 benefits to hiring refugees

Employers looking for skilled, loyal employees who are ready to work should consider hiring refugees.

August 31, 2023 | Cara Salazar, content writer

Woman in headscarf reaches for a grocery item at a supermarket while young girl sitting in cart watches.

Today, the U.S. is facing a labor shortage with more than 9 million unfilled jobs.

Industries such as health services, professional and business services, trade, and food services remain among those most affected. Other factors such as an aging population, the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increase in remote work options have made it challenging for some employers to keep positions filled.

But there’s an untapped talent pool some employers are accessing with tremendous success: refugees.

As the U.S. plans to resettle 125,000 refugees this year, hundreds of businesses, both large and small, have committed to hiring refugees. Companies such as Under Armour, Tyson, Graham Packaging, and Garmin have found refugees to be some of their brightest team members.

Employers enlarging their talent pool are realizing refugees bring a wide range of benefits. Through conversations with a few of our employer partners, we share three of the top reasons to hire refugees.

1. Refugees bring experience and skills

Refugees bring both professional experience and technical skills. Many were formerly engineers, doctors, nurses, and teachers prior to coming to the U.S. but may not be immediately able to meet technical licensing requirements upon arrival.

Abby Long, a recruiter at Express Employment Professionals who specializes in the manufacturing industry, says the refugees she works with are eager to start working, and their flexibility gets them to where they want to go.

“Some come from very high-level, skilled positions in their home countries,” says Abby. “We place a lot of refugees in mid- to high-level, quality positions where they can provide for their families, change their quality of life, and continue to grow.”

Refugees also bring foreign language skills to companies. As job listings increasingly seek bilingual candidates, refugees can serve an existing multilingual customer base, or draw in new customers.

2. Refugees are loyal employees

All employers understand how costly employee turnover can be.

A strong benefit of hiring refugees is they typically have lower turnover and higher retention rates. According to a report by Tent Partnership for Refugees and Fiscal Policy Institute, the turnover rate for refugees “was seven to 15 percentage points lower than for the overall workforce.”

Lynda Roersma operates Little Orange Scooter, a small sewing business in Michigan, specializing in items for women and children. She was first inspired by her faith to hire refugee women, but quickly made it part of her business model because they were so dependable.

“They are faithful,” Lynda says. “If they commit, if they say they’re going to be here, they come. They work hard. They ask good questions along the way. And they teach me things. They want to contribute.”

3. Refugees have already passed intense background and security checks

Hiring refugees is a relatively quick process because they have been extensively vetted by the U.S. government. According to the U.S. Department of State website, "Refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.”

Abby says Express Employment Professionals vets "all candidates the exact same way, which allows us to showcase to companies the specialized talent refugees bring to the job and get them up and working."

"I've had a lot of employers tell me they’re glad they hired refugees.”

Bethany partners with local businesses to hire adult refugees as they begin their new lives in the U.S. Looking to hire refugee workers? Please visit employment services to learn more.

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