BY SONNY GALLANT
In response to The Guardian’s editorial stating there are “too few jobs that appeal to young, well-educated and ambitious Islanders” in our province, I will start by listing a few of the jobs posted on the WorkPEI website today: architect at Nine Yards Studio, project manager at MacLean Construction, senior programmer analyst at Maximus (Deltaware), associate advisor at Charles Street Financial, NDT technician at StandardAero, and the list goes on.
Last month, there was over 1,600 job vacancies between WorkPEI and the Job Bank. The construction industry alone currently has 300 to 400 vacancies and have already hired 400 employees this year. In the last two years, 4,200 new full-time jobs have been created across the province.
You only have to drive around our province to see this growth first hand. Expansions are happening in sectors both traditional and new. Over the last month, we witnessed major announcements at Somru Bioscience, Sekisui Diagnostics, and StandardAero – powerhouses in their respective fields of bioscience and aerospace.
Numbers in the Labour Force Survey released in July by Statistics Canada tell the story. The survey shows the total number of employed Islanders reached 76,200 and the number of Islanders working full-time reached 63,700. Both of these figures represent all-time highs for our province.
Wages are also growing as businesses and employment expands. The average year-to-date wages for 2018 increased 3.7 percent compared to 2017. Our wage growth in construction, professional, scientific, and technical occupations lead the country.
Government has made targeted investments to attract Islanders to work in key sectors, including Team Construction and Canada’s Food Island. To help connect younger Islanders with the many exciting opportunities that exist right here, we have also tripled the number of graduate mentorship opportunities available over the past two years.
After only a week into the campaign, I am amazed with all the incredible stories shared by inspiring Islanders. Thank you for your passion for our province, as together we make P.E.I. a great place to live, work and thrive.
And for Islanders reading this that live away, maybe you should come home.
- Sonny Gallant is Prince Edward Island’s minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning and has served since February 2017.