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A leading talent strategy for the Life Sciences sector: Your six-step guide

The life sciences sector is facing a talent emergency. 

Fragile supply chains, complex patent processes and rising production and distribution costs are putting pressure on an industry that has already undergone seismic changes - instigated by no less than a global pandemic.

Unrelenting waves of digital transformation are changing the skillsets needed to be successful in the industry. And robust investments in research and development means that roles are emerging and evolving, requiring organisation to find talented data scientists, digital health specialists and experts in drug safety.
What’s more, an ageing population expect increasingly personalised medicines and custom care, creating the perfect storm for a sector already under pressure - and short on skills.
But the provision of goods and services that keep populations healthy cannot come to a halt.
In partnership with market leading analysts, the Everest Group, Hays has created a series of industry-specific reports that examine current hiring practices, assess the most severe skills gaps, and identify the steps you need to take in order to futureproof your organisation.
In the blog below, we offer a brief snapshot of our latest report, focusing on the life sciences sector. Download your free copy to access all six-steps for your workforce strategy, plus exclusive data and commentary from the Everest Group.

Step #1: Plug your talent gaps with a skills-first strategy

Organisations in mature markets such as the US and Australia have already seen success from skills-based hiring, with enhanced talent pools enabling more innovative drug development methods, including cell therapy.
But it will require a widespread change in both process and mindset, with many recruitment practices built on a foundation of formalised education and proven experience. However, given the expected churn rate of roles in the next five years (44% for pharmacists, 24% for business development professionals and a staggering 42% for data entry clerks), relying on traditional talent networks will see organisations coming up short.
For organisations eager to implement a skills-based approach, your next steps must include:
  • Defining your long-term ambitions and comparing this against current workforce competencies to identify the skills vital for future growth.
  • Developing tailored and targeted recruitment strategies to attract the talent that will be critical to long-term success.
  • Designing customised training and development programmes tailored to address specific skills deficiencies and market requirements.
Read more about skills-based hiring in this recent blog from Harry Gooding, Director of Skills, Hays UK.

Step #2: Appeal to candidates with a high-value proposition 

An effective Employee Value Proposition (EVP) serves as a powerful tool in talent acquisition.
And in the battle of the ‘brand’, the life sciences sector is at a clear advantage, driven by a shared purpose to improve the quality of health and wellbeing.
The report highlights the ‘impactful’ story associated with contributing to the development, production and distribution of lifesaving supplies and equipment. Many organisations are enhancing this with a sustained commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB), or tailoring their proposition to specific skills, such as technology, to attract in-demand IT professionals.
The key steps to creating a compelling value proposition include:
  • Conducting surveys, focus groups and interviews to gain both qualitative and quantitative insights into candidates’ career aspirations and expectations. Don’t assume you’re all on the same page.
  • Build – and then communicate – clear pathways for career development. Creating the opportunity is just the first step. How you tell the story to candidates can become your advantage.
  • Ensure you’ve got a consistent, ‘always on’ feedback loop in place to enable employees to provide feedback or share concerns. Missing the mark could mean losing business-critical skills.
Find out more about the importance of the Employee Value Proposition, as well as top tips for levelling up your Contractor Value Proposition.

Step #3: Take a 'total' approach to your talent management

The life sciences landscape is characterised by rapid evolution and evolving consumer expectations. Your approach to talent acquisition and management must make similar strides, breaking down traditional silos to ensure all of the available resources – from talent to tech - are optimised.
Organisations looking to implement a Total Talent Management (TTM) strategy should consider:
  • Rebalancing the workforce mix to optimise the use of contingent talent, as well as enhancing the agility of their talent function.
  • Encouraging collaboration between Human Resource, Talent Acquisition, IT and senior leadership teams – each group will be essential in the journey towards TTM.
  • Creating an ecosystem of integrated technology to achieve total talent visibility.

Shaping a workforce strategy for the Life Sciences sector

The life sciences sector is undergoing marked advancements, as biotechnology, personalised medicine and digital health reshape the skills needed by organisations.
You need a talent strategy that can keep pace. Take the first step today and download your free copy of the latest report.

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