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Meet have had a foothold in the US Life Sciences contract market since launching our first US office in New York in 2015. However, as the Life Sciences division has grown over the last few years so has the demand for contractors in this space.
Increasingly, our clients, from large pharmaceuticals to start-up biotechnology companies, require freelance and contract support. In order to meet this demand and build on the success the US Life Sciences team have had, Meet are launching a dedicated Life Sciences Contract team led by Division Manager Paul Banks.
Paul joined Meet in 2014 as part of the UK Healthcare Communications team, based in our London HQ (Meet’s only office at the time). His success in the market meant that he quickly progressed to Team Leader, taking responsibility for overseeing a large portfolio of clients, managing a team and recruiting into various contract roles within that market.
Ready for a new challenge Paul recently relocated to Meet’s New York office to lead the Contract team there. We caught up with him to hear more about building the contract market and the ambition of the team.
How’s the relocation going so far?
It was obviously quite surreal at first, but it’s actually been really smooth. Everyone in the office has been super welcoming and the operations team have been amazing at organising all of the logistics!
In many ways it’s been a natural transition. New York is not so different from London, particularly because it’s so diverse, there are different types of people from all over the place. Meet have a really global culture, similarly to London the New York team are close knit and I think that’s why it’s not been a tough move for me, because I know a lot of them already.
How are you finding getting to grips with the new market?
One of the motivations for relocating was that I felt I’d become too comfortable, I was looking for the next step in my career. Healthcare Communications is a great market because it’s well-established but that also means it’s very stable, what I wanted was a new challenge - to do something completely different!
I honestly don’t think I could have picked something more different. Healthcare Communications is a candidate driven market with a steady stream of jobs from our client base. Contract is completely different because we’re entering a new space in the market, so we are engaging with people who don’t necessarily know Meet.
Introducing the brand and pitching for new business to clients is not something I’ve had to do previously, selling Meet’s services from a client perspective and pulling jobs off the back of these relationships is all new to me. It’s been a big challenge but it’s exciting because I can see real opportunity in the market.
What’s in store for the US Contract team over the next 6 months?
Our team is just Lindsay, Ashley and me so far. Lindsay has been focused on recruiting contract positions since joining Meet in 2017, so she has a good network of contractors in the industry. Whereas Ashley and I are both new, so we are currently mapping out our client base and building our networks.
We’re definitely still in a transition period and there’s a lot of collaboration between our team and the permanent team. Obviously, it’s the success of the Life Sciences team that has created the demand for a dedicated Contract team and a lot of the contract work is still split across the office. Once we’re up and running we’ll have more ownership and eventually work all of these roles.
We’ve also discussed how we can work with the permanent team, to open up the long-standing relationships and influence they’ve established in the industry, to introduce our contract services. The permanent team have been great; everyone recognises that together we’re building something that we will all benefit from in the long run…especially when we’re breaking into new clients that are recruiting for permanent roles too.
What does the future of the US Life Sciences Contract team look like?
A couple of weeks ago we sat down as a team with New York’s VP, Laith, to produce our contract vision. We wanted to create a team culture that would set us apart in the industry and came up with a set of core values in the process; as a team we are relentless, high performing, positive and ambitious.
Ambition was really key because we are all facing new challenges. Even Lindsay, who has been delivering into the market for over a year is pitching to new clients for the first time. So, all of us have goals to focus on and we are really ambitious about what we want to achieve.
The aim is to replicate the success of the Contract team in the UK. Once we’re up and running we want to be competing with the New York permanent team in terms of invoicing and headcount figures.
There’s a lot of opportunity in this space. As I said earlier, we’re still small and it just isn’t possible for 3 of us to cover the whole contract market in the US. We’ve made the decision to focus on the markets that we think will be the most successful. For example, at the moment I’m working with Regulatory Writing and Biometrics professionals in New York. I’ve been speaking to seasoned contractors and exciting new clients in this area, but New York is just one state!
The growth potential for the team is immense, there is definitely room for new talent to come in, build their own market and progress their recruitment career really quickly. Plus, we’re moving into a brand-new office in a couple of weeks so there’s lots of space!
But before we grow, we want to build a team that’s performing and show everyone what we can do. Ashley is saving a bottle of champagne that we’re going to crack open once we’re up and running to celebrate our first milestone as a team!