Talent is more global now than ever. In light of the recent Brexit vote and the fact that demand for talent in Europe is already outstripping supply, it’s crucial politicians consider the importance the Life Science Industry. Traditionally, we have focused on the Europe-N. America axis when sourcing Talent. It the future, the answer may be to look to Asia more frequently when it comes to talent searches and building brand recognition. 

As I joined the RSA Group this month, I was reflecting on what the Life Sciences industry can do to boost innovation and productivity. After a career spent working in the industry for companies such as Smith’s Medical, Cephalon and Genzyme before becoming a search consultant, I recognise its on-going huge potential to innovate and develop new therapies that will positively impact patients’ lives.

Simultaneously, in the UK of course we’re at the beginning of the Brexit process and, as a citizen of Sweden I have a particular interest in the future of our industry with something of a dual perspective. That too has been occupying my thoughts.

Life Sciences must continue to be high on the political agenda – we will all become patients one day …

Those two threads of thought might seem disconnected initially but there’s one thing that ties them together – human capital or, more simply, talent. It’s talent that enables us to innovate successfully and it’s talent that develops effective new drugs and treatment regimes. Talent is more global than ever before and is sourced from more locations. So whatever the politicians decide, I know that making sure we have enough talent in the industry will be the key to success.

Looking further afield and into the future

One opportunity is to look to Asia more frequently for talented people. We’re used to thinking first of the Europe-N. America axis as many of us have travelled and worked in both continents. Far fewer have lived and worked in Asia and that’s perhaps why, in the past, Asia has been further down the list for Life Sciences companies when it comes to talent searches and building brand recognition.

Looking strategically to the future, I believe that the HR function and executive search specialists are going to have to take this on. More of us from Europe and the US will need to spend time working in Asia if we’re to develop a better understanding of the people there and the opportunities for the Life Sciences industry they bring. The tech industry has already understood this because it’s selling its products directly to consumers and it gains quicker market feedback to develop solutions and products. 

Skills are becoming more focused

As things stand today though we have a candidate shortage in Europe with demand outstripping supply in many cases. This is a situation that we’ve faced since early 2014. Furthermore, with drugs being developed for narrower indications, companies want more specific skills and experience as they search for candidates with subsets of already tight specialisms. As we work in tandem with in-house HR teams to identify candidates for these roles we’re increasingly looking to other industries and geographies for talented people.

If you’d like to hear more about RSA and our capabilities in supporting Life Sciences organisations, please get in touch.

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