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Prairie South makes Forbes Magazine’s list of top 300 employers

Forbes Magazine has named Prairie South School Division as one of Canada’s best employers for 2024, which is likely the first time the educational institution has made the list.
Prairie South School Division board office on Ninth Avenue Northwest. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

Forbes Magazine has named Prairie South School Division as one of Canada’s best employers for 2024, which is likely the first time the educational institution has made the list.

The annual ranking, which Forbes created in partnership with market research firm Statista, is based primarily on surveys of more than 40,000 Canadian employees and institutions that employ at least 500 individuals. 

Survey respondents were asked to rate their employer based on various criteria, including salary, gender pay-equity, work flexibility, opportunities for promotion and training. Participants were also asked if they would recommend their employer to others and were given the chance to rate other employers in their industries.

Responses were divided into two categories: those given by current employees and those given by people who know the company through friends, family or industry connections. Evaluations from current employees were weighted more heavily than others. The survey analysis included data from the last three years, with a heavier weight given to more recent data.

Statista tallied all the responses and scored each company, with the highest-scoring organizations making the list. 

Prairie South School Division is the first Saskatchewan organization — and only school division — on the list, in 72nd position. SaskPower follows this in 73rd spot, Cameco mining in 102nd position, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) in 146th spot, Affinity Credit Union in 182nd position and Farm Credit Canada in 209th spot.

Forbes announced its top employers on Jan. 23, while Prairie South School Division learned its ranking on Jan. 25, education director Ryan Boughen said recently. It was shocking news, considering there were very few Canadian school divisions on the list. So, before making a public announcement, division staff conducted research to ensure this was a legitimate initiative.

As it turns out, it was.

“It’s fantastic. As a school division, we’re very proud to be on the list. I think it says a lot about what we’re doing in the school division collectively,” he said. 

Prairie South made the list because of how well staff work with each other, how managers, supervisors and principals respond to concerns and how open the organization is to feedback, Boughen continued. Furthermore, the list aligns with the direction and work that the board wants the division to take to become a preferred employer.

Division administration does not believe PSSD has made this list before, while a long-serving board member who has been a trustee since pre-amalgamation cannot recall the organization being named, either, said Boughen. 

However, being the first Saskatchewan organization on the list is fantastic, while being in the top 100 makes being on the list even more special, he continued. 

“It’s just incredible news … . It’s just evidence that we’re working very well together as an organization to be a place where people want to work. That alone says a lot for us,” Boughen added.

There are actions Prairie South can take to acknowledge being named to this list, including purchasing a marketing package from Statista. However, Boughen said it’s unlikely the division will buy that package because it’s expensive and only companies like Google, Nike and Apple can afford it.

The education director reiterated that PSSD made the list because people work together as a team and treat each other with respect. He thought that the organization created an atmosphere where people could ask questions, have different viewpoints and learn from each other.

Furthermore, regardless of the department in which staff work, they influence their workplace, which contributes to the collective effort, Boughen added. Also, division administration is pleased that staff say Prairie South is a good place to work and would recommend it to others. 

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