The fast-paced nature of life sciences can often seem to result in a hectic and reactive approach to recruitment.
After all, talent is in high demand and short supply – the Great Resignation and a candidate-driven market continue to shape the way that life sciences talent is recruited.
In such a competitive hiring market, Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) can often be left trying to make the best match possible between candidate and company, whilst also trying to maintain discussions with their recruitment supplier.
Rather than rushing into a reactive and costly approach to recruitment in life sciences, how can MSPs begin predicting future demand in life sciences?
Reactive recruitment primarily relies on the concept of an instantaneous need for talent – rather than anticipating your client’s needs ahead of time, you’re responding to the here and now.
In such a fast-moving hiring market (and such an innovative sector), it’s unsurprising why a reactive approach can be so common, given that many businesses are looking to find talent as fast as possible.
However, for MSPs, this presents a challenge.
Working collaboratively with clients and talent suppliers can quickly become disorganised and deliver poor results if the main objective is speed over quality.
A proactive approach utilises market awareness, specialist knowledge from talent suppliers, and an understanding of how certain dynamics are changing the hiring market to engage and attract talent.
But how can MSPs start using a more proactive approach for their life sciences recruitment efforts?
We’ve spoken before about the impact of skills shortages on the life sciences sector and the in-demand skills the industry is looking for, and this issue continues to impact the industry.
For MSPs, knowing the areas that are experiencing skills gaps can help considerably with moving towards a more proactive approach.
For example, data modelling, programming skills, and skills relating to automation are all rising in demand.
Part of this demand comes from the digitalisation of the industry, with certain areas experiencing this process faster than others.
In medicine, manufacturing, data modelling and programming skills are coveted due to the necessity to build programs and infrastructure, in the same way that statistical literacy is a must for research and development scientists.
To manage client expectations and have a better idea about future demand, knowing the skills that are likely to be more sought-after than others is essential, particularly as a competitive advantage.
Remote and hybrid work roles have continued to be in high demand, though many businesses may have assumed that as the pandemic slowed down this might have shifted back.
Greater flexibility in life sciences roles is no longer an added benefit for candidates, but an expectation – offering hybrid and remote roles as part of wider employee benefits is a competitive necessity.
Innovations in the clinical space – in-home nurse visits, telemedicine, digital remote monitoring tools – have opened up the door for greater flexibility and agility in the industry.
Many life sciences businesses have also noticed an increase in employee productivity and efficiency, which further reinforces that hybrid and remote working options are here to stay.
Deloitte found that employee engagement, which is directly correlated with productivity, is highest among employees who spend 60-80% of their time working remotely.
For MSPs, this is a key consideration as it potentially widens the talent pool whilst also being an area that is in high demand from candidates.
It is likely that flexible working will be a prominent factor in the future of life sciences recruitment, which is something that MSPs may have to convey to their clients to utilise effectively during the recruitment process.
As Deloitte describes, many life sciences organisations are turning the ‘Great Resignation’ into the opportunity for a ‘Great Re-imagination’.
This means focusing on greater flexibility, a more diverse culture, and fostering greater collaboration.
Part of creating a more diverse working environment is widening the talent pool beyond traditional academic backgrounds and routes.
Transferable skills are extremely valuable, in part due to the skills shortages that the industry is facing – data programming, for example, is a skill that might be found in traditional tech roles but applied in life sciences.
Additionally, companies are looking more to have access to the best talent, rather than just hiring them permanently – contractors, gig workers, external suppliers – are now combining with in-house employees instead.
Cross-functional teams are another area that digitalisation has acted as a catalyst for, which can allow for greater flexibility for businesses.
When MSPs give insights into today’s talent market to their client, it helps to set expectations that won’t limit their recruitment partners’ ability to deliver the best talent that matches the criteria.
The scope of job requirements
An area that MSPs can find challenging is how to align their clients’ expectations with the current talent market.
Often, client expectations don’t match such a candidate-driven, competitive market.
For example, clients may be set on a certain duration of previous experience from candidates and are inflexible about this requirement.
However, for MSPs, clients and their talent providers, setting realistic expectations of the scope of job requirements is key.
Rather than searching only for candidates with 7-10 years of experience, why not work with the hiring manager to review the criteria and see if 5 years+ is adequate?
This widens the talent pool without compromising on the areas that clients are most invested in, and can be applied to location (e.g. can the role be hybrid?) and educational requirements (e.g. opening the talent pool beyond degrees from specific institutions).
It’s more important than ever before for MSPs to look towards the future demand to provide the best service possible for their clients, and also to collaborate effectively with their talent supplier.
After all, the talent market can shift significantly, which is why being proactive can keep the recruitment process streamlined and efficient.
At Panda International, we work with MSPs and organisations directly to place the best contingent talent on the market. For more information about how we work and what we can do for you and your clients, get in touch today.