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The value of incorporating lean talent into your workforce strategy

19 Apr 2017
Matt Yeager

The life sciences industry continues to undergo significant changes in 2017. An ageing population and an increase in chronic diseases are driving the need for innovative therapies. Digitization is transforming both how companies operate and how they connect with consumers. And despite the possibility of considerable deregulation in the United States, regulatory pressures continue to be challenging for companies overseas.

These factors combined bring both obstacles and opportunities for employers in the life sciences vertical. But regardless of whether it’s to navigate difficult regulatory processes or staff new clinical trials, it’s critical to have a reliable pipeline of skilled, experienced talent.

Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done. In general, employers are looking for talent with four-year degrees and at least two years of experience. In addition, thanks to the rapid pace of innovation, there are positions in niche areas that require a high degree of specialization—yet there are very few opportunities for candidates to get the required experience. And recently, high salaries are attracting top talent away from life sciences and into the tech industry.

What’s so interesting from a talent management point of view is that life sciences employers can increase the size of their talent pools simply by adjusting their requirements. In the BioSpace article titled “Job Seekers Take Note: Challenges Faced by Life Science Employers” by Angela Rose, the Director of the SF Bay Division of Centers of Excellence, John Carrese, points out that candidates with community college certificates, associate degrees, and certain amounts of college credit are often fully qualified to fill low and middle skill positions. Similarly, although employers prefer candidates with two to three years of experience for skilled jobs, many recent bachelor’s degree holders have some experience from doing internships or low-level work.

While some employers might feel that hiring these types of candidates would require too much of an investment to bring them up to speed, the truth is that companies can benefit significantly from doing so. Here’s why:

  • It’s more cost-effective. Even if they require additional training, entry-level candidates and candidates without four-year degrees command much lower salaries than candidates with bachelor’s or master’s degrees.
  • They bring a fresh perspective. Many aspects of the industry are changing, including the way companies interact with consumers. Bringing young talent on board offers new frames of reference and can help drive innovation.
  • They can be nurtured to meet the company’s needs. Lean talent is usually eager to learn. Helping them grow and develop their careers is a win-win situation that helps them advance while providing the company with the skills it needs in the long run—and eliminating the need to hire external talent.
Let’s face it: Finding the perfect candidate is practically impossible. But when life sciences employers decide to invest in lean talent, then over time, these candidates can become highly qualified, loyal, and valuable employees.


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