The hiring trends in the biotech and pharma industries are constantly evolving, and it’s no wonder when we look at how quickly technology is advancing. They remain at the forefront of innovation and scientific advancements, and that fact is reflected in the hiring trends in biotech and pharma. Driven by emerging technologies, regulatory changes, and shifting market demands, the landscape of these industries continues to progress. Experts are even noticing that candidates from other professions are pivoting and returning to school to jump into biotech and pharma, noting that part of the draw is the Biden administration’s commitment to further advancements in the industry.
Let’s explore some of the key hiring trends in biotech that are shaping the hiring landscape for the biotech and pharma industries.
Trend #1: More Focus on Generalists
Traditionally, specialized knowledge and expertise were highly valued in biotech and pharma. However, a notable shift is occurring, with companies placing greater emphasis on hiring generalists. The complexity and interdisciplinary nature of projects have highlighted the need for professionals with a breadth of skills and adaptability. Generalists can bridge gaps between specialized teams, facilitate effective communication, and drive innovation. They are better equipped to handle the challenges of working in a rapidly changing environment.
For example, a biotech company that is developing a new drug may need to hire a generalist who has experience in research, development, and manufacturing. This generalist will be able to wear multiple hats and help the company to move the drug through the development process more quickly.
Trend #2: Increased Demand for Data Scientists and Analysts
In the era of big data, the demand for data scientists and analysts in biotech and pharma continues to surge. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), employment of data scientists is expected to grow 36% by 2031, which is much faster than other professions. Likewise, the OOH predicts a 35% growth in information security analysts by 2031.
These professionals play a crucial role in extracting insights from vast datasets, enabling evidence-based decision-making, and driving personalized medicine initiatives. Skills in data analysis, machine learning, and bioinformatics are becoming increasingly sought after.
Trend #3: Wanted: Professionals with Experience in Regulatory Compliance
Regulatory compliance is a critical aspect of hiring trends in biotech and pharma industries. With evolving regulations and a heightened focus on patient safety, companies are seeking professionals with expertise in navigating the complex regulatory landscape. Candidates who have experience in regulatory affairs, quality assurance, clinical trials, and compliance are in high demand to ensure adherence to guidelines and streamline the drug development and approval processes.
Trend #4: Cybersecurity Takes Center Stage
Along with other industries, biotech and pharma companies are increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats. It is therefore imperative to protect sensitive data such as intellectual property, patient records, and drug formulas, as well as ensure the integrity of clinical trials. This means that the need for cybersecurity professionals with an understanding of the unique needs and challenges of the industry is on the rise. In reviewing hiring trends in biotech and pharma, companies are looking for individuals who not only understand cybersecurity and risk mitigation but can also collaborate across departments to ensure company data is protected.
Trend #5: Increased Focus on Diversity and Inclusion
In the 21st century, diversity and inclusion are key priorities for most companies, and that holds true for hiring trends in biotech and pharma as well. Organizations are actively seeking to diversify their work environments, creating inclusive settings that foster creativity and innovation. Another benefit of a diverse workforce is a better understanding of the need of patients and customers.
The Harvard Business Review supports the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, stating that diversity drives innovation and market growth. In companies headed by leaders with inherent and experienced differences, the status quo is no longer accepted as the only way to do business, meaning they are open to new ideas and approaches to problem solving. Additionally, diversity leads to more revenue, productivity, and agility.
Trend #6: The Emergence of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies are revolutionizing the biotech and pharma industries. From the discovery of life-saving drugs and the development of clinical trials to enhanced patient care, AI is a game changer. Several companies in the industry are currently focused on adding more team members with talents in AI and ML. Whether candidates have a background in life sciences or are looking for a change, one of the key hiring trends in biotech and pharma is embracing all the current and future capabilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Trend #7: The Growth of Cell and Gene Therapy
Cell and gene therapies represent a rapidly growing sector within biotech and pharma. UC Davis reports that job postings for roles in cell and gene therapy grew 400% between 2019 and 2023, and the desire for employees with specialization in cell therapy is projected to increase 75% in the next two years.
Candidates with these talents can find roles in several areas within biotech and pharma, including regulatory and compliance, QA/QC, and research and development. Everyone from very specialized individuals to technicians and generalists will find employment opportunities increase in the coming years.
Trend #8: Going Global in Biotech and Pharma
Hiring trends in biotech and pharma industries are going global as technologies bridge geography and the world becomes more aligned. Collaboration is a big key to success in the industry, especially with a need for new drugs and companies in developing countries. That means candidates who possess experience in the global marketplace, have multilingual abilities and are competent cross-culturally will become valuable assets for companies looking to navigate diverse markets and establish successful global partnerships.
Get Ahead of Hiring Trends in Biotech and Pharma
While not a new industry, biotech and pharma is most assuredly growing, and hiring trends in the industry continue to evolve. That’s why staying ahead of what’s next is crucial for employers and job seekers alike. But companies and candidates don’t have to go it alone; by partnering with a recruiter who is immersed in the industry and understands the hiring trends in biotech and pharma, you’ll accelerate results.
Unlock the keys to successful hiring in biotech and pharma with Blue Signal. With a depth of experience and expertise working with companies in the industry, we offer the solutions you need to remain competitive and attract the best talent.
About Kelsey Campion
Kelsey Campion is a Sr. Recruiting Manager at Blue Signal with over a decade of experience in the healthcare, pharma, and biotech spaces. To learn more about her expertise in medical and healthcare recruiting, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and clinical research positions, visit her bio and connect with her on LinkedIn.
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