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Are Immigrants’ Pay and Benefits Satisfaction Different than Canadian-Born?

Posted: 18 Apr 2012  

James Chowan

McMaster University - Michael G. DeGroote School of Business

Isik U. Zeytinoglu

McMaster University - Michael G. DeGroote School of Business

Gordon B. Cooke

Memorial University of Newfoundland (MNU)

Date Written: March 15, 2012

Abstract

This study contributes to the emerging literature on immigrants’ life, job, and pay satisfaction by focusing on a relatively understudied aspect of the immigrant experience – satisfaction with pay and benefits. The purpose of the study is to first examine whether there are differences in satisfaction with pay and benefits between Canadian-born and immigrant workers, and if so, to then examine factors associated with immigrants’ pay and benefits satisfaction using discrepancy and equity theoretical frameworks.

Immigrants are examined in four cohorts based on the year of arrival. We use statistics, Canada’s 2005 Workplace and Employee Survey (WES), which is a large Canadian dataset containing responses from both employers and employees enabling us to control for individual and workplace heterogeneity. Both descriptive and multivariate regression results found that, with the exception of the pre-1965 cohort, all immigrant cohorts report significantly lower pay and benefit satisfaction compared to Canadian-born workers. Further, we find that for Canadian-born workers, external and internal referents, non-wage benefits, and pay-for-performance are positively related to pay and benefit satisfaction, whereas pay-for-output is important for the 1986 to 1995 and 1996 to 2005 immigrant cohorts.

We conclude that the lack of consistency in the factors contributing to pay and benefits satisfaction across Canadian-born and immigrant groups suggests that the theories and traditional models for pay and benefit satisfaction may not be as relevant when studying immigrants. We recommend that further studies of a qualitative nature tease out factors associated with immigrants’ pay and benefits satisfaction and contribute to the refinement of existing theories. The results can also assist human resource managers and government policy-makers to facilitate more successful integration and retention of immigrants.

Keywords: pay satisfaction, benefits satisfaction, equity, diversity, job satisfaction

JEL Classification: J30, J32, M52

Suggested Citation

Chowan, James and Zeytinoglu, Isik U. and Cooke, Gordon B., Are Immigrants’ Pay and Benefits Satisfaction Different than Canadian-Born? (March 15, 2012). Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, Vol. 67, No. 1, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2042026

James Chowan (Contact Author)

McMaster University - Michael G. DeGroote School of Business

1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M4
Canada

Isik U. Zeytinoglu

McMaster University - Michael G. DeGroote School of Business ( email )

1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M4
Canada

Gordon B. Cooke

Memorial University of Newfoundland (MNU) ( email )

Faculty of Education
St John's, Newfoundland A1C 5V3
Canada

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