Life sciences: lab fire
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The 5 hottest science jobs of 2017

8 Dec 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, and we look towards next year, we anticipate the jobs that will be in high demand. Here, Hays Recruitment’s Matthew Cotton highlights the top science jobs of 2017.

Over the last 12 months, we at Hays have recognised recruitment patterns within the life sciences sector in Ireland. These patterns give us an indication of what we can expect from 2017, and tell us what roles are likely to be popular.

The five roles detailed below are significant growth areas within the sector, and we expect demand for them to be high.

Biologics engineering

The demand for automation, process, validation, commissioning and qualification, and project engineers with strong experience in biologics is growing, and will continue to do so into 2017.

Biologics accounts for eight out of the 10 top-selling pharma products. The strong demand for these professionals, mainly on a contract or project basis, is driven by existing producers operating huge manufacturing plants and large-scale expansion.

With such demand also comes competition for staff, particularly for candidates who have gained experience in biologics and who have a background in chemical or biochemical engineering.

Global biologics sales are expected to continue to grow in 2017, creating a landscape of opportunity.

Scientific R&D

It is perhaps natural that, with its large established base of global life science groups and a talented workforce, organisations continue to invest in R&D and drug development within Ireland.

Candidates who have experience operating in R&D, development or analytical science, especially in biologics, will continue to be highly sought after in 2017.

The main demand revolves around those with established experience, GMP exposure and relevant academic qualifications (more senior roles will often require a PhD).

There is also a requirement for such candidates to move into more operational roles, overseeing processes and ensuring that client demands are met.

Regulatory affairs

Planning, preparing and finalising regulatory submissions is a critical part of bringing products to market.

As the R&D and manufacturing functions expand, so do the regulatory and compliance teams. Some organisations are starting to hub their teams in Ireland to deal with the full product life cycle and support global regulatory strategies.

The strongest demand in this area exists at mid to senior level. Candidates are required to have a related degree (sciences, pharmacy, pharmacology etc) and previous experience in a similar role, with strong knowledge of relevant EU regulatory demands.

Senior quality professionals

Given the amount of large manufacturing operations and the appeal of ‘virtual’ manufacturing set-ups, it is no surprise that there is a large number of quality professionals (QPs) working in the Irish life sciences sector.

Continued expansion, operational development and the introduction of new products is likely to create a surge in demand for senior quality professionals, especially at manager and senior manager level.

Candidates who have set up and established full life science quality or compliance functions, or supported FDA audits, will likely continue to be in demand.

The growth in biopharma has created a demand for QPs on a permanent and contract basis.

Quality control or lab analysts

The quality control (QC) lab function makes up a significant workforce in Ireland. Increased operations, new products and tech transfers are likely to continue creating a demand for QC lab professionals, both on a permanent and contract basis.

Candidates for entry-level lab analyst positions are proving easy to find, in stark contrast with the difficulty in sourcing those with established experience in GMP-regulated environments, up to and including team-leader level.

Those operating within QC chemist roles will, in particular, see an increase in growth and demand.

By Matthew Cotton

Matthew Cotton is business director for life science at Hays, specialising in recruitment for pharma, biotech and medtech.

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