A study released Friday says foreign trained professionals may have better luck in the GTA job market if they act in a more "Canadian way."

The study, produced by the Progress Career Planning Institute, surveyed 168 successful professionals working in 20 Toronto workplaces. The responses, its authors said, showed an overwhelmingly that understanding Canadian office culture was a key to gaining and maintaining employment.

Dr. Nava Israel, a Canadian whose background is Russian-Israeli, said being more Canadian may mean changing the way you communicate in the office. Her background, she said, led her to be overly direct when she first came to Canada.

"When you live within that culture it is highly appreciated when you speak what's on your mind, when you say it like it is," Israel said.

When you transition to a (Canadian) culture that's more, I don't know if polite is the word, not as direct … then you are perceived as being really rude."

Israel hopes her research will help the many immigrants in Toronto with education and experience who have wound up unemployed.

A study released last October by the Community Foundations of Canada found these educated immigrants are more than four times more likely to be unemployed than Canadian-born workers with a university degree.

In 2009 university-educated immigrants who had been in Canada fewer than five years had an unemployment rate of 13.9 per cent, compared with 3.4 per cent for their Canadian-born counterparts, the study said.

Research by the Conference Board of Canada said the national economy misses out on $4- to $6 billion a year by not employing the thousands of foreign trained professional who move to the country.

Job fair targets recent immigrants

Israel's findings were released the same day as one of the city's largest job fairs - specifically targeting new Canadians.

Victor Keubou came to Canada from Cameroon two years ago, and said he still faces barriers when looking for work.

Dressed in a suit and tie, with a bag slung over his shoulder to collect applications, Keubou said he sees Israel's point.

"I've come to learn that it's not always what is said," Keubou said.

Jonathan Lomotev, the study's co-author said learning to speak like a Canadian is more than just mastering English.

"Some who actually speak very good English before they get here also find they have to learn to speak English in a Canadian context," he said.   "They bring knowledge, but this knowledge has to be converted into the Canadian context in order to use it."