Biopharma facing 2007 talent tug-of war

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Clinical research, Employment, Us

2007 will be a tough year for pharmaceutical employers as the
industry struggles to find enough staff with specialised technical
skills and industry experience, says new research.

Technology services and device manufacturers in the hardware space, as well as clinical research and R&D departments throughout the industry will be most affected by skill shortages, according to the market analysis by staff outsourcing services provider Yoh. Specifically, the US analysis found there will be nationwide demand in the R&D space for clinical research associates (CRAs), biostaticians, firmware engineers, and hardware engineers. Two of the US's biotech hotspots, Boston and Research Triangle Park, will be particularly crying out for clinical research employees, especially CRAs, clinical project managers and clinical data managers, the report found. Fewer university students graduating from the science field and the nation's strong rate of employment are contributing to the drying up of the available talent in the labor pool. "Heading into 2007, hiring managers will need a foolproof battle plan to hire top talent with expertise in their specific industry,"​ said Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of Strategy & Marketing at Yoh. "HR leaders need to be proactive in their talent acquisition efforts, and concentrate on developing an engaging employer brand with attractive compensation packages that will draw in the best qualified talent from the shallow labor pool."​ But the looming labour shortages are not the only bad news for employers - as the war for high-impact talent in the biopharma field continues to rage, staff wages will also rise this year through stiff competition, says the report titled: "Employers Fight to Fill High-Impact Positions." "The technology market continues to grow, which keeps pushing wages up,"​ said Lanzalotto. "Hiring managers are continuing to look for specialised talent to help them keep up with maturing technology. For example, a candidate with .Net developer skills and pharmaceutical experience is far more engaging to a hiring manager than a candidate with the skills but not the market expertise or experience."​ Hiring staff beyond traditional geographic boundaries however, will go some way to ease the burden on firms as many roles, especially high-impact technology consultants, no longer need to be located on site.

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