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Life Sciences And The Race for Talent

A shortage of industry skills & competition from other industries makes hiring difficult.

While the life sciences industry is booming, there’s one thing that could hold it back – and that’s securing a talented workforce. The competition for skills in the sector is fierce. In order to compete, organisations will need to rethink their current recruitment policies.

When it comes to attracting new talent to the workforce Kelly Services identified twin challenges in its Talent in Science Study. The first is the shortage of available people with industry-specific skills. The second is the increasing need to compete across sectors for generic talent, notably through increased demand for technology specialists.

Breaking Down Barriers

It highlights a real need for organisations to work hard to secure the best from the scarce talent available. At the same time ensuring existing workers continue to be happy and content to remain in their roles. Firms will need to look to what will make them stand out, what they can offer that prospective hires desire and also at how they approach their recruitment processes.

Businesses will increasingly be put under pressure to compete on a far larger scale. They'll compete to find good workers as they look to bring in new talent from outside sectors. Kelly research has shown that workers within the wider life sciences industry are increasingly sought after. This is evidenced by the volume of on-line job ads seeking to attract the attention of workers already in post.

But what is it that could tempt these currently-engaged workers away from their employer? The survey shows that reputation, career opportunity and challenging work are all key factors. 12% cite the pay as the main attraction.

Stay in the Competition

For companies who can’t compete with industry giants on pay and reputation alone, there is still plenty that can be done to attract the finest talent. If people crave challenging work, then give them a big goal and then leave them to work under their own steam. Company organisational structures are changing. We’re seeing more of a flat structure with workers given more autonomy and dealing with less bureaucracy. If you can empower your workforce, then you should do well in attracting new hires.

Competing and succeeding in the race for skills it may require firms to do more in helping people relocate for the right job. They must give due consideration where to locate new facilities in order to appeal to prospective hires. Encouragingly, a quarter of survey respondents from the life science sector say they’ve already relocated for work. 78% per cent of those who’ve yet to relocate say they’re willing to consider a move overseas.

The skills required within the life sciences industry are blurring with other industries. Leaving those responsible for recruitment scrambling to try and source new workers from occupations they’re never had to consider before. A key factor for many firms will be to put the work in building early-stage relationships with prospective candidates. This should help companies identify what it will take to lure them into the life sciences sector.

Kelly Services does the hard work, so you don’t have to – find out how we can help fill your vacancies.