Top News

Millenial employees on the rise within P.E.I. civil service

Tanya Rowell, CEO of P.E.I.’s Public Service Commission. The Commission has almost doubled the number of staff under the age of 35 over the last two years.
Stu Neatby/THE GUARDIAN
Tanya Rowell, CEO of P.E.I.’s Public Service Commission. The Commission has almost doubled the number of staff under the age of 35 over the last two years. - Stu Neatby/THE GUARDIAN

In two years, the proportion of millennial employees working within P.E.I.’s civil service has almost doubled, rising from seven per cent to 13 per cent.

The latest annual report from P.E.I.’s Public Service Commission, tabled last month, found the proportion of permanent employees who are under the age of 35 is growing.

However, the average age of P.E.I.’s public employees still skews toward baby boomers, which could pose a demographic challenge for the civil service. The average age of employees is 50. An annual report in 2017 said 21 per cent of civil service were at retirement age.

Public Service Commission CEO Tanya Rowell said a renewed focus has been placed on recruiting younger employees in recent years. Rowell said the Commission has been working with post-secondary institutions, has been recruiting at career fairs and often does co-op and internship placements.

"We're happy to bring people in. It gives them a chance to have a glimpse of who we are as a potential employer,” Rowell said.

"It is a great time for job seekers right across the Island."

By contrast, the percentage of bilingual staff has only increase from 5.1 per cent to 6.7 per cent since 2014.

Although this may not seem like a large increase, the PSC has focused recruitment on bilingual staff and has hired a bilingual recruitment specialist. French language training is offered to existing employees.

"We're feeling good about where we're at,” Rowell said.

“For us it's about ensuring that we have a workforce that is representative of the clients' needs and also of the province itself."
-Public Service Commission CEO Tanya Rowell

"The Public Service Commission, at the end of the day, is wanting to ensure that our civil service is representative of the population that we serve."

The percentage of public employees who self-identified as aboriginal was 2.4 per cent in 2019, while the percentage of employees with a disability was 2.9 per cent. The percentage of employees deemed a member of a visible minority stood at 2.6 per cent.

"The Public Service Commission, at the end of the day, is wanting to ensure that our civil service is representative of the population that we serve," Rowell said.

To this end, the Public Service Commission has recently developed a diversity and inclusion policy.

The overall size of P.E.I.’s civil service is increasing. There were 3676 total staff positions in 2019, up from 3383 in 2014, an increase of around nine per cent.

Casual positions, or staff who work seasonally or on-call, have increased at a significant rate, compared to permanent positions. Since 2014, the number of casual positions increased by 31 per cent, from 637 to 837. The total number of permanent staff decreased slightly during that time, from 2432 to 2381.

“I wouldn't call it an unusual increase,” Rowell said of the uptick in casual staff.

She said casual staff are highly valued and often fill short-term positions and fill-ins due to retirements.

A representative of the Union of Public Service Employees agreed that the increase in casual staff was not unusual.

The union did, however, take issue with the practice of government departments hiring casual employees outside of the Public Service Commission process.

“It’s important for the government of P.E.I. to hire casuals through the Public Service Commission (PSC) because it would promote transparency and fairness in its hiring process,” said UPSE president Karen Jackson in an e-mailed statement.

In a statement, the Department of Finance said individual departments determine the level of casuals needed.

The department could not provide the total number of casual employees hired outside of the Public Service Commission in 2019 by deadline.

Twitter.com/stu_neatby

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories