Employers try creative ways to court workers at P.E.I. job fair
Dozens of companies set up shop at a Summerside job fair on Tuesday
Some employers on P.E.I. are offering incentives to attract workers as the province's labour shortage continues.
Prince Edward Island's unemployment rate was once one of the highest in Canada, but in recent years, the workforce isn't growing as fast as the number of jobs.
Hundreds of people attended a job fair put on by Skills P.E.I. in Summerside Tuesday, and dozens of employers took part — from construction companies to ice cream parlours.
Jennifer Nangreaves, executive director of the Early Childhood Development Association of P.E.I., said centres are working hard to attract and retain educators with lots of "really cool initiatives."
"If you're part of our publicly managed system, there are health and dental benefits as well [as] vacation days, all of those sorts of things. We're really trying to be a competitive profession, which we're getting closer and closer to every day."
Nangreaves said employers across all industries are competing for the same pool of workers, and higher wages thanks to government funding in 2022 have made it easier to recruit early childhood educators.
But she says there are still vacant positions waiting to be filled.
Shortage of skilled staff
According to a survey by the Greater Summerside Area Chamber of Commerce, 40 per cent of its membership had trouble finding skilled workers — people who have experience or education in a specific job.
Executive director Kaley O'Brien said there is a lot businesses can do.
"A lot of businesses are trying right now to be more flexible with their hours of operation, to be more flexible with the workers that are up-levelling the skills that they have within their organization to fill these gaps."
MDS, a company that applies protective coating to airplane parts, is offering to train employees in the field.
"Attracting them is one thing; keeping them is entirely different," said human resources manager Tracey Stott. "We offer things like full employer-paid health care, health and dental benefits, which is huge here on the Island."
That sounded good to job seeker Dyonathan Jacob.
"The benefits like health or dental, or whatever they can offer, it's something that probably most of the employees would be looking for."
Job seekers were also looking for good wages. Some positions are paying $3 an hour more than they used to.
But Jesse Greenan said it's not all about money.
"Positive feedback and positive energy and… just makes you feel like it is a place you want to be at because it is positive."
With files from Tony Davis