Bioscience companies court new employees in 'very competitive' industry

·2 min read
More than a dozen of the 60 bioscience companies on P.E.I. set up displays at the career fair Tuesday at the Charlottetown Convention Centre. (Ken Linton/CBC - image credit)
More than a dozen of the 60 bioscience companies on P.E.I. set up displays at the career fair Tuesday at the Charlottetown Convention Centre. (Ken Linton/CBC - image credit)

It has been a challenge recruiting workers in the bioscience industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Tuesday, the P.E.I. BioAlliance hosted a career fair at the Charlottetown Convention Centre, the first large networking event in two years.

There are about 2,200 people working in 60 companies in the industry on P.E.I., and some companies are also expanding. BioVectra, for example, said it will be adding 120 new jobs by the end of the year.

Vivien Beer, the HR strategy manager at P.E.I. BioAlliance, said one of the biggest hurdles is attracting specialists to the Island.

"There's always challenges for specialized positions because there's less of them," she said. "And you're competing then nationally and internationally because you're attracting a family potentially to Prince Edward Island too. So … there's more involved in attracting that."

More than a dozen bioscience companies participated in the job fair.

Ken Linton/CBC
Ken Linton/CBC

UPEI student Jahanavi Kolloju was there to see if there was a fit for her.

"The main thing I look at is for the work atmosphere, like, how is the ambience there? And I think that that's what motivates people to work. Like when you have good staff around you."

Others, like UPEI grad Justin Lee, are looking for a challenge.

Ken Linton/CBC
Ken Linton/CBC

"I would like to work in a company that's, like, developing new technology, something that's never been done before."

The number of people looking for jobs is good news for employers in the bioscience sector, but it's not always easy to land them.

Ken Linton/CBC
Ken Linton/CBC

"The bioscience world in P.E.I. is very competitive," said Adella Henderson of Sekisui Diagnostics.

"Everybody is staying competitive with the market. So ... we are constantly stepping up our game."

The P.E.I. BioAlliance says it is going to do a study on wages to see how the Island compares, and plans to hold another networking event in the near future.

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