The following piece on life sciences talent acquisition and development trends was originally published by our partner company BCTG – learn more about BCTG and trends in talent here.
The Great Resignation has spared no one – including the life sciences industry. For an industry that traditionally experiences below-average turnover rates, recent macro talent trends have created new challenges for the life sciences industry. With previous years reflecting a turnover rate of 10%, the industry jump to nearly 20% each quarter is undoubtedly cause for concern for some.
While turnover remains a threat for many businesses, the industry continues to experience record growth across a variety of metrics. In the coming year, 71% of life sciences companies plan to increase their workforce across several functions and skillsets. Below, we outline just a few of the key life sciences talent trends taking hold in 2022.
Record Demand for Lab and Biomanufacturing Space Creates Demand for Quality Resources
As the pandemic highlighted the fragility of our global supply chain, businesses in the life sciences industries recognized the long-term threat that a dispersed supply chain can pose. As pandemic-driven lockdowns disrupted the distribution of drugs, life sciences businesses are now investing in stateside facilities with a 34% increase in demand since mid-2020.
Adding to this demand, the science of medicine has evolved, and with that evolution, there’s a greater need for more sophisticated manufacturing centers. As targeted cell and gene therapies rise to prominence in the industry, lab operations and manufacturing facilities are starting to blur together in next generation biomanufacturing spaces. With this rise in demand for biomanufacturing real estate, there’s been a subsequent increase in demand for personnel in the quality and laboratory functions to support the production and distribution of next-gen treatments. Energizing this demand further is the lack of a strong talent pipeline from lab and/or quality-centric academic centers. An already limited talent pool coupled with a sharp increase in demand will only serve to create an even more competitive market for resources throughout 2022.
Life Sciences Talent: Next Generation Treatments Require Next Generation Skills
While traditional skills remain in demand in the life sciences space, increasing reliance on data, analytics, and digital tools and capabilities has created strong demand for digital talent with capabilities in bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced analytics, to name a few. While this demand has been rising for several years, the circumstances of the pandemic forced businesses to double down investment in these areas as a tool for mitigating operational complications. For instance, as businesses were forced to halt traditional, in-person clinical trials during the pandemic, the use of predictive analytics and decentralized clinical trial operations is becoming increasingly common, forcing new skillsets and expertise in order to operationalize and successfully manage clinical trials effectively going forward.
Unfortunately for the life sciences industry, skills in data, analytics, and digital are in near universal demand across almost every industry. In order to combat this talent gap, businesses are exploring a myriad of ways to bolster their next-gen skills, including managed services agreements with digital and analytics service providers, upskilling existing staff, and an increased focus on contingent work.
Back to Basics in Order to Address Disruption at this Scale
Regardless of the technology or functional area at hand, project management skills continue to become more and more critical for businesses in the life sciences industry. According to the Project Management Institute, the project management labor force is expected to grow by 33% by 2027. Unprecedented disruption has given way for widespread business transformation in the life sciences industry. In order to deliver on these transformation strategies, businesses are relying on project management professionals to manage complex initiatives and projects in IT, R&D, quality, sales, marketing, and more.
For many businesses, addressing the new realities of the modern business landscape requires the adoption of new technologies. In this respect, a strong project manager is critical to ensure a successful implementation that creates little to no downtime for the business and its teams. Looking ahead, project management will remain a critical demand for life sciences businesses in 2022 and beyond.
Life Sciences Talent Trends – What’s Next?
These are just a few of the many trends driving life sciences talent acquisition and development strategies for businesses in 2022. Apart from those we discussed here, we’ve also seen a rapid increase in demand in areas including supply chain, SAP, and executive leadership. Learn more about how Clarkston Consulting can help your business navigate your challenges in the life sciences industry here or contact us today.