The Resilience of Life Sciences: The War For Talent

6-7 Minutes

Working in Life Sciences recruitment, we absolutely had to highlight the current job market ...

By Emily Davies

Senior Content Writer

Working in Life Sciences recruitment, we absolutely had to highlight the current job market in our Resilience of Life Sciences series. So, for the penultimate article, welcome to The War For Talent…

No matter what industry you’re in, nobody can deny the importance of a paycheque. Still, over the last couple of years, we’re noticing an increasing number of people working within Life Sciences regarding company culture and other incentives just as highly when exploring new opportunities.

The shift began throughout the Covid pandemic, which became a catalyst for what is now known as The Great Resignation or The Great Reshuffle. People began to rethink their careers, work conditions, and long-term goals. Even amidst the current cost of living crisis, employees are quitting their jobs in search of other incentives such as flexible working, greater company culture, and a better work-life balance.

After all, it’s employees who have the upper hand, and as businesses battle it out for talent, salaries are swelling. In fact, across Life Sciences, the current average salary is at its highest ever value – up 6% according to GlobalData – with an increasing number of employees making the big bucks!

We’ve mentioned it before (in parts one and two of this series), and we’ll no doubt mention it again: the Life Sciences industry has already proven it can adapt and even thrive throughout a pandemic and ever-changing economic conditions. So, as the industry continues to innovate at an unparalleled rate, and the demand for gifted and accomplished professionals skyrockets, what do each of Meet’s market verticals look like and what exactly does this mean for job seekers?

In this article, we dive into the War For Talent in the three major markets we cover…

Pharmaceuticals & BioTechnology

It’s safe to say that over the last couple of years, many sectors have been heavily disrupted by the chaos of the pandemic, but Pharma and Biotech have witnessed extensive growth, including fresh opportunities, new jobs, and novel discoveries. This has led to significant amounts of capital being raised by investors, and the expansion is set to continue, with the global industry predicted to reach $1.5 trillion by 2023!

As you might have thought, due to these record-breaking levels of investment, Big Pharmas and BioTechs are using this capital to open new facilities to expand their capabilities and support their growing workforces. Pfizer, Novo Nordisk, FUJIFILM DioSynth Biotechnologies, and KIYATEC are just a few names who’ve invested in new spaces to attract top-tier talent and expand their headcount.

So, what leading opportunities are available for those in the Pharmaceutical and BioTech space?

Well, it’s key to point out that in-demand skills in this market are rapidly changing and ever-growing. Currently, the most sought-after proficiencies are python and machine learning. In fact, GlobalData and Pharmaceutical Technology report that in 2022, 55.1% more businesses are recruiting for digitalisation-related positions than in 2021. It’s said that those that invest and excel in these fields will be much better prepared for the future and better equipped to survive any unforeseen circumstances.

On the other hand, although more digitally focused positions are opening up, we must not forget that clinical research is the lifeblood of this sector, and there’s still a huge need for clinical research professionals. In the current market, Deloitte report that Research and Development organisations are posting seven times more data positions than they did just five years ago.

So, why is the sector struggling to attract talent?

Well, on top of the sizeable gap between the supply and demand of job roles in this area, the main hiring struggle for pioneering Pharmas and BioTechs is finding qualified employees to move into new research areas. However, we must note that due to the revolutionary nature of the work, this will forever be a challenge they face because, by definition, it’s something that’s never been done before!

From Meet’s perspective, so far this year, we’ve placed more than 91% of the total placements we did in 2021 within the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology market! Plus, according to New Scientist’s 2022 Global Science Employment Reports, 88% of those working in the US Pharmaceutical market said they were happy in their jobs. In the UK, the highest proportion of satisfied employees (73%) were those in Biotechnology.

Medical Technology

As we mentioned in The Covid-19 Effect, the pandemic triggered an explosion of technological advancements in the healthcare space, with at-home monitoring systems, digital access to patient records, and telehealth, to name a few. Still, insiders report that due to the speed digital innovations are progressing, the MedTech industry is only just beginning to tap into the potential of digital solutions, and over the next ten years, they’re only going to become more popular as the demand for exclusive offerings will create more unexpected opportunities.

What else drives demand for new devices is the fact that consumers and patients have embraced a more autonomous healthcare system and are becoming more accustomed to MedTech devices in their day-to-day lives. In addition, the general population is living longer, and with that, the expectation for care grows vaster, meaning the demand for improved and superior MedTech products will only inflate with time.

Considering all of this, along with the rise of AI (artificial intelligence) and PAT (process analytical technology), countless new jobs in the MedTech space are being created daily. Companies now need more digital talent, software engineers, and data scientists who understand how to design digital solutions to meet patient needs. Actually, Deloitte’s 2022 Global Life Sciences Outlook predicts that the sector needs to evolve from just doing digital to being digital. That means businesses should not only utilise digital innovations but also design and implement a digital strategy to incorporate into the organisation’s DNA.

So, if there are plenty of new jobs becoming available, what does this mean for MedTech talent?

To state the obvious, MedTech is a fast-changing market and one that’s strongly driven by its talent. So, as the scope of the MedTech space continues to expand and mature, and new areas of expertise emerge and existing ones redefined, competitors are scrambling to hold on to their talent.

Like with any specialism, the number of MedTech positions open far exceeds the number of candidates within the marketplace. This means a ton of talent are seeing higher salary offers plus several deals on the table for them to choose from.

For us at Meet, with the sector expected to grow tremendously over the next decade, this year, we’ve already placed nearly 70% of the total MedTech candidates we placed in 2021. Overall, it’s an incredibly exciting time for those entering into the space, with huge opportunities and the chance to take advantage of current trends while the pace of the industry continues to grow at an unprecedented rate.

Medical Communications

Med Comms has grown exponentially over the last few years, with the pandemic building awareness of the purpose and work of the sector. Still, like most markets within Life Sciences, Med Comms is also a field that’s hugely driven by its talent. In the current climate, specialist Med Comms professionals are like gold dust, meaning the amount of rival businesses competing for talent has reached an all-time high.

Although nowadays, the Med Comms market has more prominence than ever before, many Science graduates lack awareness that this is a career path they can pursue. To help bridge this gap, many organisations, including FCB Health, are launching programmes specifically focused on training high-science copywriters with the aim of employing participants at the end of the course.

So, if job opportunities far surpass the talent available, what does this mean for Med Comms professionals?

Well, first off, Med Comms is a lucrative industry, so there seems to be an ongoing bidding war between businesses to secure the best talent. In fact, research suggests that in the UK, Med Comms salaries have grown 10-20% over the past year! Sounds like a dream for someone in that area of expertise, right? Wrong! Because of this counter-offer culture, existing talent in the industry is diluting as employees are being promoted before they’ve experienced necessary growth. That means more senior leaders are no longer receiving the support they need from teams with the appropriate experience.

Well, what will the industry do about the lack of talent, I hear you ask.

Med Comms is known for its creativity, and companies are now expanding their reach for talent. That means big organisations are beginning to look towards outside but closely related industries with transferable skills. So, those in health technology or consumer PR areas like health and wellbeing are now being given a chance to grow their careers and upskill in the robust and highly regarded Medical Communications market – winner!

Here at Meet, as 2023 approaches, placements within Medical Communications have remained at the highs we experienced in 2021. Speaking with Med Comms insiders and our global teams, the overall consensus is that the future of the sector is a golden one.

If one thing is clear, it’s that the Life Sciences industry is stronger than ever, and job opportunities are overflowing! At the moment, there’s no better place to grow your career. Contact us today to speak to an expert member of our team and find the perfect fit for your next calling in the world of Life Sciences.

Have you seen the previous pieces in this series? Head over to Part One for an overview of our market verticals today, or Part Two, The Covid-19 Effect, for how the last couple of years has totally transformed the industry! If you're all caught up, head over to the final part of this series, 5 Compelling and Creative Ways Businesses Can Win The War For Talent.

Book in a call with one of the team about your hiring needs.

Meet Recruitment 2022. Meet Recruitment Ltd., Meet Recruitment Inc. and Meet Personalberatung GmbH are all subsidiaries of Meet Group (No. 13556131) a company registered in England and Wales at Irongate House, 22-30 Dukes Place, London, EC3A 7LP.
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