The new facilities, in Italy, Hungary, Belgium and Germany, boosts the number of EU DOCS offices to 22.
And the business – whose services include permanent recruitment and contingent staffing, strategic sourcing and large-scale FSP (functional service provision) – says the move is just a taster of what’s to come.
DOCS president Colin Stanley told Outsourcing-Pharma: “Our expansion in Western Europe is largely in response to client demand in those areas.
“We want to have a wider pool of contracts in Berlin, and Milan and Belgium – three of the places we opened up offices in – and we have aggressive growth plans for the future.”
Stanley added that DOCS’ aggressive growth strategy encompasses plans to extend into developing markets, in line with Icon’s interest in BRIC countries. The addition of an office in Hungary as well as the firm’s first foray into Asia-Pacific earlier this year are reflective of the campaign.
He said: “Again, our move into the developing markets is in response to customers who perhaps want to work within the regions, but do not have, or do not want to establish, the structure needed to do so.
“In February this year we took on 11 staff members who cover almost every country in the Asia-Pacific region, and we will double and treble these operations next year.”
Stanley went on to tell us that, although Asia is a focus for both Icon and DOCS, expanding in other key markets like the Middle East, and Latin America will also be the goal for 2012.
“DOCS is taking a global view on staffing and we have Icon’s global structure to help us with this,” he added.
Jumping on the staffing express
Icon’s ability to provide both permanent and stop-gap recruitment solutions through DOCS reflects a growing trend for staffing services.
Recently Eli Lilly took on 40 synthetic chemists from AMRI, whilst – speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma at this year’s AAPS – RPS marked an uptick in the number of companies looking to outsource employment.
But with the industry merging and folding at such rapid speed, are staffing services just a stop gap solution to the changing industry?
Stanley thinks not. “Companies have a lot of reasons for wanting to use contract staffing, from a six month cover for maternity leave, to the need for 500 CRAs over a three or four year deal for specific projects.
“It’s more about strategic outsourcing. Pharma wants to reduce the fixed costs now, and through our services we manage the risk for them.”