HR and talent acquisition leaders in pharma and healthcare - this is your time to shine

How to work from home in a shared living space

Pharmaceuticals and the healthcare sector as a whole have stepped up as key saviours in the fight against Covid-19, with pioneering vaccine development complemented by significant donations, including masks from Merck; mental health support and cash donations from Boehringer Ingelheim; and ground-breaking collaboration from GSK and Sanofi. 

This surge of activity is foreshadowing an increase in demand for pharmaceutical and healthcare talent. Pete Donaldson, Associate Director at Resource Solutions, reveals why HR and talent leaders in these industries should buckle up and get ready for a busy 18 months ahead.

Embrace the mass influx of multi-industry talent

Across our pharmaceutical clients we have seen an uptick in applications in April, many of whom have relevant skills but have not worked in the sector previously.  As the reputation of the sector rises and candidates’ need for career purpose increases, we expect significantly more talent to be drawn to pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Organisations need to ensure their talent acquisition teams or partners can capture, assess and nurture candidates to populate highly segmented talent pools over the coming months. 

Get ready to become a technology business

Artificial Intelligence companies have long worked with scientists, but the best way to understand which therapies have the highest chance of success in finding a vaccine for Covid-19 is by leveraging AI technology to crunch the pharma data. Partnerships with third-party vendors and specialists and pharma companies collaboratively sharing data will be key here, but an increased demand for in-house AI and emerging technology specialists will speed up the digital transformation of pharma and healthcare companies. Across our pharma clients, we have seen a notable increase in tech vacancies during April.

Maximise your employer brand during and after Covid-19

Every employer and industry experiences highs and lows in terms of employee reputation and candidate appeal. Financial Services had the highs of the boom years (who isn’t partial to a six-figure bonus?) and then the lows (less said about 2008 the better). Technology’s star continued to rise as candidates’ preferred industry (yes, I will take my French Bulldog in to my Bay Area workspace, thanks), followed by a swift reputational decline (Cambridge Analytica…).   Candidates are starting to explore how a career in pharmaceuticals and healthcare can, inspired by the many healthcare heroes during the pandemic, satisfy their need to help others whilst also offering career progression. Leverage your human stories to power your employer brand.

Rapid spikes and dips in hiring become the new normal

Workforce planning is arguably more of an art than a science. But particularly with pharma clients we, along with our HR clients, have been able to accurately predict demand for talent. The pandemic has changed this with advertised roles in pharmaceuticals in the US tripling, yet the focus on Covid-19 will inevitably hit other areas of pharma; for example, sales reps, with many companies already lowering sales expectations for many products. One of the key takeaways for HR from Covid-19 is the need for an agile workforce than can flex up (and down) when needed. Find out how we can scale up your hiring with specialist pharma recruiters in just 28 hours.

Pharma recruiters need to up their research and headhunting skills

Whilst the renewed candidate interest in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector will bring exciting new talent to BAU and project roles within the sector, there will be an acute skills shortage of highly specialist talent. Even prior to the pandemic, the demand for bio pharmacists, process analytical technologists in drug production, and gene therapy specialists far outstripped supply. Pharma and healthcare employers need to ensure their in-house team or RPO has highly skilled recruiters with specialist knowledge enabling then to identify, engage and convert in-demand talent.