‘Incredible demand’ for talent leaving gaps throughout bio-outsourcing space

Pharma recruitment firm Lead Candidate says a perfect storm of factors has contributed to a shortage of professionals across key functions, and the pandemic has only made recruiting more difficult.

Business across the pharma and bio-outsourcing space is robust, whether at third-party manufacturing companies, contract research organizations (CROs), or pharma services firms. However, such a vigorous environment means the need for skilled staff has never been higher, creating something of a bottleneck going forward.

Life sciences talent sourcing firm Lead Candidate, which has launched a ‘state of the sector’ survey to understand the immediate and longer-term priorities affecting recruitment in biopharma outsourcing, told BioProcess Insider gaps are evident across most, if not all the industry sector and job types.

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“There are some areas of biopharma where the gaps are being felt more. For example, the demand for commercial professionals with expertise in biologics is particularly acute, as businesses try to realise their growth potential in a buoyant market,” Lead Recruitment CEO Andrew Mears said. “Similarly, the pressures on physical manufacturing capacity are replicated in talent gaps, which is compounding the issue.”

He continued: “The reality is there is a perfect storm of factors that is creating an incredibly demanding talent landscape. It’s not as simple as saying there is a shortage, although that is very true in certain functions.”

One of the factors creating pressure on businesses’ ability to hire is the fact “the scale of market growth is far outstripping the availability of skills and labour at all levels, functions, and areas of the outsourcing supply chain,” he told us.

On top of this, talent pools have choice while at the same time businesses are working harder than ever to retain skills. STEM academic uptake, while improving, is still not quick enough to fill the immediate demands.

Mears also told us the pandemic has overall made recruitment more difficult.

“Those who might have been tempted to make a change have adopted a more cautious approach. And while I expect this to change next year, I still expect a bit of a recruitment hangover early into 2022.

“The move to virtual hiring, adoption of technology platforms and new ways of working has been a real bright point. But the rate and scale of change in this regard, has brought about its own difficulties as we all try to adjust.”

He added that while the ‘better the devil you know than better the devil you don’t’ mentality is still in play among workers, this will likely change in the months ahead, as “people have been reticent to change roles within a prevailing environment of uncertainty caused by the pandemic.”

To contribute to the ‘state of the sector’ survey and to receive a copy of the report, click here.