A talent shortage is a problem for all industries, but particularly acute in the Life Sciences industry with a record number of job openings and a higher need for recruiters than most industries. This consistent lack of talent is a pervasive challenge facing the life sciences industry, and most companies find attracting and retaining the right people difficult now more than ever. Additionally, COVID-19 didn’t exactly improve the situation regarding talent. The life sciences industry’s talent requirements changed and increased rapidly throughout the pandemic. As a result, many biotechs are now asking themselves how to manage Talent Acquisition.

Evolving Sector Needs

We work in a fast growing business, with a special emphasis on biotechnology, and skill is more in demand than ever. Apart from increased demand for vaccines as a result of COVID, we also foresee an enormous market for cell and gene treatments. Coincidentally, they require similar expertise.

We once regarded most inherited conditions to be deadly, but now we see hundreds of scientific trials targeted at healing what we previously deemed incurable. Due to the potential they carry, the majority of cell and gene therapy companies will wish to increase their hiring in the coming years.

Advancements within innovation and a rise of investments increased the biotech industry’s popularity long before we even heard about Covid-19. However, with such widespread support and enthusiasm for delivering novel medicines to patients, we also see a highly competitive employment market. What’s the bottom line? Employment possibilities have increased significantly, outpacing the pool of specialists. Which brings us to our primary question: What are the recruitment challenges in the biotechnology sector?

The biotech job market

Biotech is proving to be one of the most in-demand areas in Life Sciences, both globally and in The Netherlands. Candidates’ technical experience is a high-ranking factor in Talent Acquisition, together with the right set of soft skills. Suppose a candidate is going to be working on a life-changing new product. In that case, a company wants to know that each team member can work effectively and in a multi-disciplinary environment.

However, with diverging therapies, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage that. This expanding contrast between the supply and demand of qualified workers presents difficulties in quite a few areas of expertise. The result? An increasingly lengthy recruitment procedure to fill specialist life sciences positions.

Hard-To-Find Professionals

R&D Scientists
It’s reasonable to conclude that research will continue to be a highly sought-after technical competence in biotechnology. Academic institutions, biotech start-ups, and big pharma all compete for the services of scientists. While their duties vary according to their organization’s speciality, they all conduct research on present treatment techniques, develop theories, design experiments, and lay the foundation for future cures.

Clinical Development Experts
The top contenders for clinical-stage companies frustrations are the inability to hold vendors or, more specifically, CROs accountable for quality combined with excessive team churn over the life of a clinical trial. The high turnover rate of Clinical Research Associates is unparalleled.

Analytics (QC) & Manufacturing
Technicians, Microbiologists, Project managers, Validation Engineers and senior Process Specialists all work together to enhance the output of a manufacturing facility by scaling up processes at this stage of product development. The industry’s next difficulty will be finding enough qualified individuals to work on their more refined therapies, which are currently in the pipeline making their way from research to commercialization.

Hard-To-Find Expertise

Cell & Gene Therapies
The general increase in Life Sciences companies alone guarantees an increase in pharmaceutical manufacturing activities, particularly Cell & Gene Therapy treatments. However, one key impediment to the advancement of these promising medicines is a scarcity of individuals with the necessary skills and expertise to handle sophisticated and fundamentally difficult procedures. For instance, even if a candidate has expertise producing viral vectors on a small scale in academic settings, he or she is unlikely to have experience operating large-scale bioreactors. To operate in a commercial facility, you must have extensive familiarity with state-of-the-art equipment.

Oncology’s rapid advancement is also generating a skills deficit. As fast-growing biotech scale-ups look for experienced employees, the talent pipeline in this industry is straining to keep up with demand. Apart from the industry’s worry about a shortage of patients willing and able to participate in these trials, a big and rising number of individual cancer scale-ups are all recruiting talent from the same pool of persons, which is simply not growing at the same rate. The elephant in the room? Where to find the next generation of talent? And how can we continue to meet the evolving demands of oncology?

How to secure talent in biotech?

Most talent acquisition departments operate on a shoestring budget and are tasked with the primary responsibility of discovering and acquiring the most qualified persons on the market, ideally with the most relevant expertise.

If acquiring and retaining great personnel is your primary challenge, investing in the most difficult areas should be a top priority. Regrettably, there is no magic bullet for attracting and keeping exceptional, scarce talent. You can, however, give yourself a head start.

Money does not make the world go round for a scientist.

Yes, we all need money. But in most Life Sciences careers, good salaries are typically a given. So, what exactly can you offer in addition to a reasonable wage? A clear path for career progress? A company culture that embraces exchanging ideas? A chance to be a part of the decision-making process?

We can list ways to increase retention like incentivizing loyalty, embracing flexibility, providing growth opportunities, and prioritizing culture and connection above corporate results. But the fact of the matter is that most professionals have a relatively good idea of what they want from their careers. Life Sciences professionals are no different. Retaining the finest in Life Sciences is all about understanding their desires. What is the most significant obstacle here? To realize that in the board room and adopt it in your recruitment strategy immediately rather than later.

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