Uncovering Hidden Talent in Life Sciences

Where are all the contingent workers hiding?

July 15, 2019

By Ed Courtney  , Vice President, Global Solutions  , KellyOCG

We are living in a freelance world. As the number of contingent workers continue to rise they become ever more important to our organizations. In a recent Conference Board survey, fewer than half of CHROs believe their future workforce will be made of traditional full-time workers. They are a vital part of how work gets done, particularly in a fast-moving Life Sciences world. But despite the volume of contingent and gig talent in Life Sciences many workers seem to remain hidden. HR tends to look after fulltime talent and procurement keep a close eye on outsourced workers, but there is a white space in-between where contractors, SOWs, freelancers and other contingent workers are often hidden in plain view.

We need to get better at not only seeing this talent but accessing it and organizing it effectively. I look at some of the ways Life Sciences organizations can start to change their perspective on contingent talent, below.

Stop Waiting For a Tipping Point

There is no big bang moment for contingent talent in Life Sciences. No tipping point where we have to start dealing with contingent talent more effectively. Change happens insidiously, shifting the balance over time as more and more Life Sciences professionals see the benefits of becoming part of the contingent crowd - great pay, interesting opportunities, and a flexible working lifestyle. This slow move towards contingent labor can make it easy to overlook or underthink, but it’s crucial that we start measuring, organizing, and leveraging essential contingent talent now.

Choose the Right Contingent Talent

It’s easy to get caught up in process. We need a lab tech, so we will go to the outsourcing provider we always use. While in some cases this might be the right call, it’s important to strip each decision back to the work that needs to get done. What work needs to be completed and what is the most effective and value-driven way to complete it? Do we need to look to a gig platform? Or to a temp employee? There is a whole spectrum of contingent talent out there and by exploring it you open up opportunities to access highly-skilled Life Sciences talent that offers impressive value.

Make Contingent Talent Visible

The best way to effectively use contingent talent in your organization is to make it visible. Your MSP tracks every penny spent and the effectiveness of each worker deployed. Why are you not applying the same principles to sections of your contingent workforce? Contingent talent is not an outlier or a passing trend, it’s an integral part of the wider talent community and it needs to be under the microscope. Visibility is key to changing the way we think and talk about contingent talent in Life Sciences.

Contingent talent in Life Sciences may be hiding but it doesn’t mean it isn’t shaping the way we get work done. As contingent becomes the new normal are you utilizing this skilled workforce effectively?


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