As staffing shortages continue to sweep through the Life Sciences industry, we look at the factors influencing this phenomenon and some potential solutions.
A Blocker To Growth?
The growth of the Life Sciences industry appears to be relatively unhindered by the events of the past couple of years, with more demand than ever for innovative products and life-saving treatments in the post-COVID landscape. In some areas, however, the industry is wrestling with some pressing issues that could put a stopper in its growth plans if left unchecked.
Staffing shortages have been a continuous pain point for the industry in the past year. You may have seen the countless articles breathlessly pointing to talent scarcity, the labour crunch, or a “turnover tsunami” as shorthand for the industry’s enduring struggle to source right-fit candidates. But why is finding suitable talent in such a booming, recession-proof industry proving to be so difficult?
The Need for Innovation
There are a number of factors, a lot of which fall under the long shadow cast by a global pandemic. COVID-19 threw the industry for a loop in every way, and this effect has reverberated throughout every facet of the industry from supply chains to the range of digital tools on offer. The pandemic forced a traditional and typically change-resistant industry to adapt; to new technologies, new approaches, new business models entirely.
“The life sciences and pharmaceuticals sector faced tremendous pressure to deliver life-saving innovations during the pandemic, and they rose to the challenge,” said Mike Smith, CEO of recruitment agency Randstad Sourceright. “Now, the need for medical innovation has only grown, forcing organizations to compete across all industries for a limited supply of in-demand tech talent.”
This newfound urgency has made continual innovation a necessity. This pressure has resulted in an ever-increasing demand for talent that grew exponentially during the pandemic. The additional challenge presents itself in not just keeping up, but staying ahead of the curve in this new era of innovation.
This means that hiring processes and employee retention tactics have had to change too, as companies weather the fallout of what became known as “The Great Resignation”.
A New Solution
With 71% of life sciences companies planning to expand their workforce according to Aon’s Salary Increase and Turnover Study, the most pressing question on everyones is mind is how?. The problem is evident but is there a solution on the horizon?
As noted by Meaghan Piscitelli of Aon; “It’s an interesting predicament companies face — people are leaving in large numbers, yet the sector is growing faster than ever before.” This underlines the urgency of finding a path forward that facilitates rapid growth while taking into account the seismic shifts in the industry’s approaches to staffing.
Changing company culture and hiring practices to address the shifting needs of the desired talent pool is one obvious solution. Randstad Source Right’s 2022 Talent Trends research found that 67% of life sciences companies point to re-skilling current employees as an effective way to address the issue. With COVID-19 causing organisations to search for right-fit candidates who meet the criteria for an ever-broadening range of skills, this proposition only acts as a temporary fix.
One more sustainable solution seems to be rising in popularity and this is the adoption of the “strategic staffing” model. This new model aims to provide a third-party staffing resource that, simply put, places the right people with the right skills in the right place, at the right time.
Should a company have a critical project delivery objective but finds itself constrained by the availability of suitable in-company resources, strategic staffing aims to provide the organisation with the structure and resources needed to accomplish their critical project delivery. This will be especially helpful in Life Sciences in the common case that a company requires specialist skills that are industry-specific and hard to come by, such as Computer System Validation (CSV), quality assurance, project management or IT compliance in the Life Sciences industry.
Considering the issue at its core – changing hiring and employee retention practices, an ever-broadening skills gap caused by an industry in flux trying to adapt to new technologies and the need for a broadening range of skills that might not fit into pre-pandemic established models – the strategic staffing model may be the most viable way to integrate the new laser-focus on adaptability into its approach to staffing.
Let Odyssey VC’s highly skilled personnel help you to deliver your critical projects. Learn more about our Strategic Staffing solutions here