It’s going well for Biotech – how to keep up with the growth

21. März 2022

By Stephan Breitfeld 

Looking back at recent developments in Biotech – through a global pandemic – investments and innovation increased significantly, companies saw continued growth, share prices skyrocketed, and overall business has been great. Some have expressed that these developments even rendered Life Sciences one of the most stable growth areas worldwide. In a recent whitepaper that I contributed to together with colleagues for IIC Partners (read here) we conclude that such an environment of rapid growth has already attracted extremely qualified personnel to the sector and is signaling the need for more. There are several areas marked by experts as especially promising. What are those areas and what kind of workforce can make them bloom?

Open up to international talent

Being relatively new and rapidly growing industries, biotech and medtech are struggling with a very acute problem: skills development can hardly keep up with growth. This, in turn, leads to competition among recruiters for the best and/or qualified talent locally as well as globally – there is only so much suitable workforce in the whole world. In this circumstances, internationalization of the entire industry is imminent, and according to Jörg Trinkwalter (CEO of Medical Valley EMN e.V ) “it actually will not work without international specialists.”

Luckily, COVID-19 not only opened a new dimension of working ‘virtually’, but it also proved that this is very much possible and even desirable in some instances to look for more international talent. That means there is no need to shy away from hiring the internationals, even if they can only work remotely: every expert is way too valuable in the current battle for international talent. Diverse international teams and leaders who can nurture and maintain diversity have become the backbone of a successful company.

Open up for your tech skills

Technological development thrives right on the border of disciplines (well, it’s even in the word ‘biotech’ itself) and there’s a requirement for specialists right where the disciplines meet. Unfortunately, there’s a considerable deficit of specialists such as data scientists or medical IT specialists. With that in mind, it’s advisable to look for candidates who are fit for the job and can work in your team (personality matters the most!), instead of becoming obsessed with the track records and decades of experience. Talent has a remarkable ability to grow, and, therefore, lowering the bar of requirements to qualify for a job can be useful in a long-term perspective (Big Data, for example, is also a relatively new phenomenon). Furthermore, there is a large chunk of experienced workforce over 55 who lack digital skills, so upgrading them by launching a digital Re-training program can open new interdisciplinary opportunities within a company.

Dedication for talent and the right partner

Another aspect of recruiting the best talent is planning ahead. Look at the bigger picture: recruiting is an integral part of your company’s development and thus it needs to be regarded as such. Michele Porreca (Chief People Officer, Prelude Therapeutics) suggests moving the recruitment agenda from a discussion primarily about budget to discussion about organizational development instead, also pointing out that “talent acquisition is top of mind with the need to balance speed with getting the right people in the door.”

With all its positive effects, growth in biotech and medtech industries need more qualified talent to sustain it. Yes, it’s challenging, but manageable. When looking for suitable candidates, it’s wiser to prioritize not (only) the complexity of their CVs with all the revolutionary publications and decades of experience in a particular field, but whether they can fit in the team, no matter where they are located. Work with a trusted partner who knows their way around Biotech. The industry is new, talent will grow with it. As long as there is balance between experience, diversity and flexibility – those teams will excel!

Read the whitepaper this article is based on here.

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