December 7, 2022

We heard from young immigrants across industries — business, healthcare, engineering, and more — about their common thread — navigating the U.S. job market as an outsider. The report shows that young immigrants face five major roadblocks, from a lack of networks to communication barriers, while navigating the U.S. labor market and pathway to self-sufficiency:


Identifying their place in the U.S. market. 71% had difficulty evaluating which career paths, professional courses, or credential evaluations were worth pursuing.

Accessing and valuing professional networks. 85% of all jobs are filled through networking, but only 50% of study respondents used networking as a job search method.

Communicating about their job skills and history in professional-level English. While 22% mention English proficiency as a barrier, 43% asked for targeted support on cultural differences, industry lingo, and professional communication.

Possessing little U.S. work experience. Only 17% of participants had any U.S. work experience in their field of specialization, facing many U.S. employers that don’t recognize overseas education and experience.

Finding the time for a job search. 65% report having less than five hours per week to look for a job.

Due to these barriers to meaningful employment


of participants believe their professional skills are not fully valued at work

With that number climbing to over


for immigrants of color.

Survey responses by the numbers:

"My skills and experience are valued at work."

"Do you need help with improving your general level of English?"

"Do you need tools and templates for professional communications?"

"Have you worked in the U.S.?"

"How much time per week can you dedicate to a job search?"

Upwardly Global invites employers, policymakers, funders, job seekers, and all others interested in workforce development and immigrant inclusion to reflect, build, and act upon these findings. For more insight on an equitable path forward for young immigrants, find more detailed recommendations in the latter portion of the report.

Download the Report