CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island--(BUSINESS WIRE)--When an industry development strategy calls for a doubling of revenues and an additional 500 new jobs by 2020, it’s important to have a human resources plan to back up that rapid growth. The PEI BioAlliance today unveiled a new HR Strategy for the province’s bioscience sector, focusing on actions to maintain a high level of recruitment and retention success, HR support for companies, skills development, and community outreach.
PEI’s 47 bioscience companies have added almost 1000 jobs over the past decade, with over $200 million in export sales, and the sector currently employs over 1400 people. These companies work in the development and commercialization of products ranging from functional food ingredients to pharmaceuticals, animal and fish health products, and diagnostics.
Vivian Beer, the BioAlliance HR Strategy Manager, says that Prince Edward Island is becoming known nationally and internationally as a vibrant cluster of bioscience-based businesses and research organizations, presenting exciting employment opportunities.
“Bright minds have many career opportunities. Whether they are PEI graduates in science or business, or skilled individuals from another part of the world, we want our employers to be able to attract and retain the best talent possible,” said Beer. “That’s what this strategy is all about.”
Beer says there is a high level of collaboration within the PEI bioscience sector and HR is a team effort. “Holland College, UPEI, our federal and provincial government partners, our PEI network of employers - everyone works together to support students and job seekers, as well as companies’ recruitment and training requirements.” The BioAlliance also has a partnership with BioTalent Canada providing access to national compensation data to ensure PEI is offering competitive compensation and benefits packages.
BioVectra - one of the most active recruiters in PEI’s bioscience sector, will continue to look for talented professionals. “We will be seeking individuals to hire into specialized positions in research and development, individuals with Quality Assurance and Quality Control backgrounds and training, with a continued emphasis on production roles. And in addition to adding new talent at BioVectra, we’ll continue to invest in the development of our current employees - broadening and deepening our intellectual capital,” says Lester Wood, Executive Director of Human Resources at BioVectra.
The Center for Aquaculture Technologies Canada – a contract research organization providing R & D and commercialization support for the Aquaculture Industry, plans to hire at least 15 new employees over the next year as they expand their operations at their new facility in Souris, PEI.
This past month, CATC received final approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on the application for certification of their Aquatic Animal Pathogen Containment Level 3 (AQC3) biocontainment facility. “This certification will allow us to expand our suite of services, including the conduct of in vivo and in vitro studies with imported aquatic animal pathogens to and will facilitate the growth of services for warm water aquatic animal species including shrimp and tilapia,” says Dr. Debbie Plouffe, Vice President of Research.
Other PEI bioscience companies are also expanding and adding jobs, says Beer. “We regularly highlight career opportunities on our website and in social media postings. Job categories include research, production, business development and administration. Job seekers can request to be added to our mailing list to receive job notifications. Our audience is growing daily.”
The new HR Strategy will support other strategic priorities laid out in the Bioscience Cluster’s 2020 Strategy for growth, including new incubation and manufacturing scale-up facilities, business attraction, strengthening business-academic collaborations, and achieving national recognition as an important element of Canada’s innovation ecosystem.
- The PEI Bioscience Cluster currently has 47 companies
- Over 1400 employees work within the PEI Bioscience Cluster
- Between 2012 and 2015, 43% of jobs were created by emerging companies and 57% by the largest three companies
- The average employee retention rate in the biotechnology sector in PEI is 94%
- 95% of PEI positions are filled within three months
- 80% of recruited employees working in PEI’s bioscience industry come from within Atlantic Canada (including a large proportion from PEI)