The RightThing, a US-based recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider for the pharmaceutical industry, was nothing but optimistic about the industry at a recent human-resources-focused event, as it predicted that the market is set to expand from its cradle in the US to take international dimensions. The company would appear to know what it is talking about as 30 per cent of its business comes from big pharma firms, including Merck, AstraZeneca and Schering-Plough. "If you look back on how it has evolved, pharma companies are increasingly realising that high quality recruitment is essential to get the best talent," Terry Terhark, president of the RightThing told Outsourcing-Pharma.com "But most pharmaceutical companies don't have the resources to increase their scalability to adapt with ad hoc large volumes of recruitment." And that's exactly where RPO providers such as The RightThing come into play. According to the company, by outsourcing their entire recruiting and hiring processes to his company, pharma firms get a recruiting team that can grow instantly when the need arises - for example when they plan an expansion - and then can be pared down again when hiring slows. "We can offer them a tailored solution to best suit their need. We usually work on long-term contracts with pharma companies, to offer them an extension of their recruiting process," said Terhark. Indeed, recruitment represents a big investment for drug makers. According to Terhark, large pharma firms hire around 1500 new staff and go through 300,000 applications every year. "Research has shown that by outsourcing their recruitment to us, pharma companies can increase staff retention and productivity," said Jamie Minier, vice president of The RightThing. In addition, the firm claims that additional benefits for the companies include costs savings, time savings, better quality candidates and much quicker time to fill open positions. Meanwhile, the availability of talent is shrinking across the globe, Terhark explained, and clients are looking at new ways of recruiting their staff in different geographies. "Big pharma companies now look to recruit at an international level, especially in R&D, but also in sales and marketing," said Terhark. In order to cope with the "globalisation" trend, companies like the RigthThing form partnerships with other firms to get the local resources needed. "It's this notion of incorporation that is important to provide a viable solution to our clients," added Minier. Pharma companies are used to outsourcing parts of their processes, including contract sales, clinical research or manufacturing. And now outsourcing their recruitment process can give them scalability, she added. What is more, the trend seems to now reach smaller firms as more and more mid-sized pharma companies are now exploring their options. The RightThing said it currently has 15 contracts pending with mid-sized biotech and medical devices companies. Looking forward, Terhark said he expected the move toward global RPO to build momentum in late 2007 then hit the industry to stay in 2008.