With more IPO’s, the demands of COVID, Patient Trials and the need for more Data Scientists ensures that shortages of talent will continue in 2021 & 2022 and probably longer. There is also pressure on the regulatory authorities to speed up trails for the major disease categories where there are as yet no cures.

This is a recurring theme among the life science and healthcare industries and a fear that the shortage of skilled employees will lead to a decrease in innovation. It is not that the educational system is letting these industries down, it is because these industries are changing so quickly, it is difficult to keep up.

The increasing use of artificial intelligence and process analytical technology in drug production, as well as research using data science, big data, and machine learning will require more life scientists with mathematical and computing skills.

The traditional manufacturing positions have been the easiest roles to fill but the skill sets required to manage biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes—in particular involving engineering, data analytics and process development remain in short supply.

With Brexit creating lots of uncertainty in UK and Europe and the clashes between US and China this may disrupt the flow of graduates starting careers the R&D sector.

The academic institutions do a great job in serving the life sciences sector eg innovation hubs in Boston in the U.S. and Cambridge in the UK, as well as emerging centres of excellence in AsiaPac. The problem is not with the quality of the students coming through these programs it is practical industry understanding that these students lack when it comes to applying scientific knowledge in a manufacturing setting.

At San Jose State University in Medical Product Development Management they have significant background in clinical program management as they are offering a more practical, hands-on training program bringing in experts, guest lecturers, people from all different disciplines who can speak to the topics current in the industry.

Academic institutions often find it hard to keep up with the pace of change in the industry and some do not believe universities should be expected to do this. The Biofactory Competence Center in Switzerland was founded in 2016 to create a suitable bridge between academia and industry and provide courses for highly skilled academics and researchers to help them build the practical skills required to work in R & D and manufacturing, in particular around new and emerging areas such as automation and the increasing use of AI and data science.

A recent European Talent Acquisition survey found that 42% of companies saw skills shortages as their biggest problem. The only way they thought it could be fixed was for their organizations to invest in innovative ways to attract and retain top talent. Companies need to identify where they are losing key candidates during recruitment and whether the process is at fault or if the skills they are looking for do not actually exist!

Talent acquisition executives are busy with the day-to-day recruitment demands of the business, which is why many are shifting away from traditional, in-house recruiters and launching partnerships with specialist recruitment companies to develop Talent Pools and a more structured approach to recruitment such as “Talent Harvesting”.

The competition for top talent is intense. It is important that companies do a better job of showcasing their values, company culture and career paths to candidates. It is imperative for organizations to have an ongoing dialogue with academic institutions and candidates who have the key skills they are looking for.

For more information on Talent Pools and Talent Harvesting contact mark@bioprogress.com