The pharma and biotech industry needs to change tactics in order to keep up with a changing job market in which candidates have more power than ever before.

The pharma and biotech job market is at the beginning of one of the most rapid periods of change it has ever seen. Currently, many valuable skills are in short supply, and this is only going to get worse for hirers as technology improves and automation takes off and professionals need to change industries to match demand.


By 2030, it’s estimated that up to 30 per cent of all UK workers – around ten million people – will need to change occupations, and demand for top-level positions like managers, technology specialists, and health professionals will increase by almost 20 per cent. This is going to put huge pressure on recruitment, and top talent will be in extremely short supply.


In pharma and biotech, this is even more of an issue. The UK is trailing behind the rest of the world when it comes to STEM graduates, with the number of people studying these subjects at degree-level increasing by just 16 per cent in Britain compared to 52 per cent in the EU and 63 per cent around the rest of the world; something that doesn’t bode well for the future.


So, how can pharma and biotech businesses change to deal with these challenges? The first step is to understand how the workforce has already changed. Just a few years ago, recruitment was often about attracting and discovering the best candidates. However, this is no longer what businesses should be focusing on. Finding candidates is the easy part; the challenge is engaging them.


The vast majority – as many as 70 per cent – of the workforce is passive; in other words, people who aren’t actively looking for a job. However, just because they aren’t searching doesn’t mean they’re not interested in changing positions; 90 per cent of passive workers are interested in hearing about new job opportunities.


Thanks to social media, finding candidates is easy. You no longer have to search through applicants to find the best talent, because you can already find them working for top players in your industry. However, actually encouraging them to take a role with you is difficult. The key to doing this is candidate engagement.


This starts extremely early on. Before candidates apply for a role, 75 per cent will look at their potential employer’s brand to assess whether or not they want the job. Recruiters therefore need to strike fast to showcase the benefits of the company and the position, followed by continued work throughout the process.


Remember, all your candidates are likely to have multiple options, and every step of the recruitment process can be used to make your company stand out above your competitors. For example, the interview is often a major factor in candidates’ decisions when they’re choosing between multiple roles.


If you’re wondering how you can prepare to switch your recruitment focus to candidate engagement and remain competitive as the pharma and biotech sector moves forward, you can download our free guide here to keep up with the latest trends and learn what industry leaders believe will be the skills most in-demand in the coming years.

About Tom Froggatt

Singular Talent is led by our Director, Tom Froggatt, a highly experienced Life Sciences Recruitment and Executive Search consultant, with a strong track record of building teams, developing talent and creating outstanding hiring experiences.

With over 250 personal placements to his name, 1500+ assignments successfully delivered by his teams and a strong track record of both developing new business and moulding highly competent recruitment consultants and leaders, Tom is dedicated to Making Hiring Better by supporting the careers and helping build the companies of those we work with.


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