Illustration of life sciences workers collaborating around a DNA double helix.
Image: © Marina Zlochin/

How to ensure your life sciences career thrives after Covid

26 Apr 2021

Covid-19 has pushed the life sciences industry into the spotlight and those working in it can expect exciting opportunities, writes Hays’ Chris Smith.

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Covid-19 has undoubtedly changed the world forever and all industries will take time to adapt to the new, post-Covid landscape. Disruption that would have been previously unimaginable in the life sciences industry has become the norm.

However, the life sciences sector is not only robust enough to weather the economic storm but, as part of the solution, has been thrown into the global spotlight on a massive scale. We must embrace the great opportunities this will create.

The impact of Covid-19 on the life sciences sector

As early as 25 March 2020, a consortium of global life science companies, alongside the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced a collaboration to fast-track the development, manufacture and delivery of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines for Covid-19. Massive amounts of government funding have subsequently been pledged to support organisations on board with the agenda.

In a lot of cases, the big players have been able to mobilise the quickest. Gilead, AstraZeneca and Roche are just a few examples of companies who have begun to meet the challenges presented by Covid-19 in different ways and there is no doubt that the sheer level of demand for diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines in this area presents a massive opportunity for them.

Given that the life sciences sector as a whole is characterised by skills shortages at all levels, I feel that we should be confident that a high level of demand for talent will remain and career opportunities will be there for those bold enough to seize them.

5 ways to boost your life sciences career prospects after Covid

This will be a pivotal moment for many people’s career. No matter where you find yourself during this shake-up, there are several steps you can take that will help you continue to thrive.

1. Take control and be proactive

Research the changes that are taking place in your company and the industry as a whole. Speak with your manager or leadership team about how internal activities may be changing or pivoting as a result of the pandemic, and think about how your unique skillset can support the transition. Put yourself forward for a change in role or new assignments, to align with your mutual aspirations.

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2. Look for innovation

Your skillset will develop at an accelerated pace over the next 18 months if your company is innovating towards the new normal. This will affect your market value for potentially the rest of your career. Think creatively about how you might spearhead innovation within your organisation and help the business overcome new challenges. If your company isn’t innovating, consider moving to one that is.

3. Upskill across the board

Ensure you’re proficient in using remote and virtual tech and prepare yourself for the hybrid world of work. Take advantage of the explosion in online courses to learn new technologies that will assist in developing your virtual work muscles.

Also remember to keep yourself relevant by working on soft skills for the next era of work, such as critical thinking, a growth mindset and emotional intelligence. Don’t forget to document new skills you’ve learned during the crisis; you may want to add these to your CV and LinkedIn profile.

4. Reflect on your career options

One thing most of us have been lucky enough to enjoy during the lockdown has been a little more time.

This is the perfect opportunity to take a good look at where you are in your career trajectory, and perhaps answer a few questions like: am I happy in my current position? Am I utilising my skills? Am I heading in the right direction or do I need to change course?

This is also a good time to update your CV, including recent experience and quantifiable results generated.

5. Learn how to present well in remote interviews

Previously logistically daunting interview processes are now taking place without a flight booked or a single mile travelled. But computer to computer is not the same as face to face and you need to make sure you’re up to speed with the etiquette and technicalities of remote interviews.

By Chris Smith

Chris Smith is director of life sciences at Hays.

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