Life science hiring trends
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Top hiring trends in life science for 2017

9 Jan 2017

To kick off the new year, Paul Strouts from Hays Recruitment looks ahead to some of the top hiring trends in the life science career track.

During 2016 and for the past several years, the life science sector has been shaped and defined by ever-increasing technological innovation and growing patient awareness. Business has been buoyant for those who are willing to adapt. Despite pricing pressures, economic uncertainty and the general upheaval of an industry in flux, employment prospects for life scientists have remained positive.

Here are some of the top hiring trends we foresee for the bio-pharmaceutical and healthcare industries for 2017.

1. Medtech goes into overdrive

Last year saw exciting innovations in medical technology, such as bioelectronics (implantable ‘electroceuticals’), artificial intelligence and medical 3D printing. 2017 will be the year for generating evidence of their real-life application and utility, so expect to see an increasing number of medtech research hires.

2. Data-led patient engagement

The healthcare industry has yet to fully leverage the benefits of data-driven patient relationships. Expect to see a more actively data-led approach to patient engagement in 2017, with more roles in software and data management.

3. Growth of genetics/genomics

As the emphasis moves ever more tangibly towards a personalised medicine treatment paradigm, expect to see an increase in demand for candidates with a combination of life science and data science education and skills.

4. Emphasis on cybersecurity

An increasing number of healthcare companies are connecting their devices and mobile apps to the cloud, which is fuelling debate about personal privacy and cybersecurity. As we move into 2017, this trend will give rise to more employment opportunities in the cybersecurity space.

5. Commercial roles continue to evolve

Over 2016, field sales representatives gradually adopted a more consultative role. Moving forward, commercial teams will need to keep on top of the changing needs of medical stakeholders (prescribers, payers and patients) and adopt strategies that engage their customers from an evidence-based perspective.

6. Changing regulatory environments

Life science companies are preparing themselves for continued regulatory uncertainty during 2017, as drug pricing remains a hot-button issue and regulations evolve to meet new healthcare reforms. Regulatory professionals will need to keep themselves well informed and adapt to any downstream impacts.

7. Generics on the march

With many drugs scheduled to lose their patents between now and 2020, competition in the generics market is set to increase. This, combined with widespread pricing constraints, should see an opening up of new opportunities in the traditional pharmaceutical sector.

8. Contract manufacturing softens

Contract manufacturing has been ascendant for several years now, but 2016 saw some loss of appetite for outsourcing. Client budgets appear to be giving way to in-house strategies for some operations, which will have a knock-on effect for job opportunities.

9. International transfers/relocations

International assignments are still seen by most multinationals as important in optimising employees’ careers, building global leadership skills and filling skills gaps. 2017 will be a year for relevant candidates to think beyond local borders for their next career move.

10. Collaboration a dominant theme

Collaboration is likely to be a key priority during 2017. Life science companies are under pressure to deliver in a challenging cost, regulatory and operational environment, so expect employers to seek out candidates who are comfortable team players with excellent language and communications skills.

By Paul Strouts

Paul Strouts is the global managing director for Hays Life Sciences. Strouts looks after 27 countries within the group’s portfolio, spanning from New York in the US to Sydney in Australia.

A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.

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