Fully a third (33%) of C-Suite and Human Capital leaders in life sciences and pharmaceuticals say scarcity is a major pain point in their search for talent, and it’s exacerbated by their extensive hiring plans for this year.

According to Randstad Sourceright’s 2022 life sciences and pharma Talent Trends report. The need for talent is expected to grow as demand for products increases faster than global GDP in the next few years. Indeed, 45% of those talent leaders say the main reason they want to hire is to prevent talent scarcity from slowing their business.

Covid-19 contributed to skyrocketing demand for a broad variety of technology skills in life sciences, Randstad said. In particular, organizations have seen demand for data scientists grow as they bring new innovations to market. Businesses are increasingly competing with the IT and communications sector for engineers and other workers with technical skills as they develop new vaccine and diagnostic technologies. Also, many of these companies are refocusing on other areas of development in emerging fields like bioinformatics and medtech, which will require specialized and high-demand tech talent to execute.

Mike Smith, Randstad Sourceright’s global CEO, said the need for medical innovation has only grown since the pandemic, forcing industry employers to compete across sectors for a limited supply of in-demand technology talent. Failing to win the race for those skills will be costly, Randstad said, though a strong focus on talent experience, workplace culture, flexibility and diversity, equity and inclusion can help employers stand out. In addition, reskilling and upskilling will be essential to addressing the scarcity of talent and demonstrating how much companies value their people.

Focusing on DEI – Sort Of

On average, life sciences employers need 105 days to fill a non-executive position in the U.S., Randstad said. As a result, companies can face a loss of $500 per day. The skills gap also threatens further progress in the sector, making smart talent strategies essential.

One area in particular needs improvement, Randstad said: DEI. Sixty percent of employers said diversity efforts are “fundamental” to attracting, engaging and retaining talent. Meanwhile,

just 41% say their hiring practices supported their diversity goals last year. That was the lowest level among all of the sectors Randstad surveyed. At the same time, 63% of life sciences and pharma leaders believe DEI is important to candidates — also the lowest percentage of surveyed sectors.

Another strategy to helping life sciences businesses address both the skills gap and increased competition for talent involves a commitment to upskilling current employees, Randstad said. “Our research shows that 67% of life sciences and pharma leaders report that reskilling current employees for different roles has been effective in addressing talent shortages,” said Smith. “It also has the added benefit of showing employees how much the organization values them. So it’s not surprising we see investments in internal mobility platforms growing, with 63% of leaders already investing in these platforms, and 53% saying they will be investing more in this area.”

By Mark Feffer

Mark Feffer is executive editor of RecruitingDaily and the HCM Technology Report. He’s written for TechTarget, HR Magazine, SHRM, Dice Insights, TLNT.com and TalentCulture, as well as Dow Jones, Bloomberg and Staffing Industry Analysts. He likes schnauzers, sailing and Kentucky-distilled beverages.


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