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What Does Lockdown Lifting Mean for Life Sciences Candidates?

21 June 2021

By Jay Freeman

What Does Lockdown Lifting Mean for Life Sciences Candidates?

Many life sciences candidates are used to the constant state of development and growth in the sector, and though lockdown presented challenges, this growth is set to continue.

There are many factors that are on the cusp of affecting the trajectory of the sector, but exactly how will investments, changing popularity of specific job roles, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion affect you as a candidate?

Let’s take a look.

Record-high investment

Lockdown and the pandemic put a spotlight on life sciences, not just in terms of the response and vaccination efforts, but also the technological advancements required in order to operate under such unique circumstances.

The past five years has seen a growth of 16% per annum for Venture Capital (VC) funding in life sciences companies in Europe, with investor demand only continuing to increase year-by-year.

Biotech investment firms raised a total of €1.5b in both the UK and the Netherlands, with more VC deals than ever before; life sciences real estate in Europe is also a key area of interest, attracting £685m every year, predicted to hit £800m in 2021.

This increased investment means there is an increased demand for top talent to continue driving growth and interest across sectors, but particularly in R&D, biotech, and biopharma.

Understanding where investments are set to increase means that candidates can predict where demand may be high, and as a result, ascertain which skills are most coveted by organisations looking to continue their period of growth.

Finding value

As the workforce shifts towards a millennial majority, the values of candidates are changing.

Financial reward is no longer a primary incentive for candidates as much as work/life balance, strong diversity policies and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are.

In fact, 88% of millennials say their job is more fulfilling when they are given the opportunity to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues, and 76% consider a company’s CSR commitments when deciding where to work.

Given that the life sciences sector has played such a huge role in the response to the pandemic, the ‘greater good’ effect means that after lockdown, many candidates will be drawn to the CSR elements of an organisation over traditional monetary incentives.

If you’re a candidate with a strong leaning towards CSR and areas around sustainability and diversity, you’re in luck, as more organisations than ever are taking a clear stance on their efforts towards CSR.

Deloitte predicts that by 2025, life science organisations will have implemented mitigation strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, whilst also improving waste management and water usage, and adopting renewable energy and low-carbon transport systems.

Digitalisation has also influenced supply chains, which has had a knock-on effect on carbon emissions, which considerably reduced during lockdown and provided an incentive for organisations to acknowledge responsibility for their impact on the planet. 

As an example, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health are investing $800 million over the next ten years to improve the health of people and planet, providing transparency around ingredients, and to use 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025.

Though lockdown may have put the use of single use PPE and cold-chain transportation under a microscope, these measures were necessary, and have given organisations the opportunity to truly consider how they can act as a force for good for the environment at large – something which may be very appealing to potential candidates.

New ways of working

Life sciences organisations have had to be extremely flexible and agile in their response to the pandemic, which led to cross-collaborations, telemedicine for trial visits, and healthcare-provider platforms.

Remote working has also had a significant impact on the way that the industry is working, which has increased organisational resilience, a more dynamic talent market (good news for candidates), lower costs, and high employee satisfaction.

This may open up the talent pool considerably, as remote roles offer higher flexibility and accessibility for candidates who may have traditionally been excluded from the usual hiring process.

It can be expected that hybrid working models will likely feature after lockdown, as employees drive the demand for a mix of remote and on-site working, which in turn can positively impact engagement and retention.

In R&D there is a renewed emphasis on the virtualisation of trials, which was previously quite slow, but will now be a pivotal part of the recovery phase, meaning that digital and computational skills are in high demand.

Areas of interest

Pre-pandemic, the global telemedicine industry was expected to make a slow but steady growth of 15% a year by 2025 – instead, it’s now forecast to grow by 19.3% per year, and $175.5b.

The new availability of big data, high ROI on investment, and Covid-19 have all pushed the global healthcare information technologies (HCIT) market size to a projected $270.3b.

Even global virtual diagnostics are also set to grow annually by 15.5% during 2019-2030, further emphasising how digitalisation is a catalyst for life sciences, and thus, also driving a high demand for talent.

Data analytics and targeted evidence-based interventions are also predicted by Deloitte to be necessary skills in the future of life sciences, alongside statistical analysis and data science.

Additionally, virtual technology to conduct virtual consultations can be expected as clinical roles evolve, too.

In a nutshell, candidates can expect digitalisation to continue playing a huge role in the development and growth of the industry, whilst also driving demand for certain skillsets.


It’s been an unexpected period of growth, high investment and digitalisation for life sciences organisations. 

Though certain changes were expected to be a temporary shift during lockdown, many seem to be set to stay, and as a result, impact the way candidates can expect to work within the industry.

Job market trends are currently being heavily impacted by technology, and with investment also continuing to be strong, the industry moves from strength-to-strength, making it the ideal environment for candidates with adaptable skillsets and experience.

To find out more about opportunities in the life sciences sector, get in touch with the Panda team.

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