One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Inside Hybrid Sourcing Models in Life Science

Life Science organizations must consider the scarcity, location, and unique needs of talent pools to engage with them effectively.

October 08, 2019

By Kim Ciconte, Vice President, Global Solutions, KellyOCG

We know we have a talent scarcity problem in Life Science. Organizations are struggling to find the people they need to power their life-changing work across specialist scientific roles, healthcare, and light-industrial spaces. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies the sciences as an area that is growing faster than the national average. While a recent CEO survey from PWC found that 57% of Life Science and pharma CEOs are struggling to attract the digital talent they need. This is incredibly worrying for organizations working in a competitive market space, where narrow margins can have a huge impact on success. So, what should Life Science companies do when it comes to getting ahead in talent?

Organizations must adopt a highly specialized approach to key talent communities. A traditional vendor-neutral service model shouldn’t be the only way to connect with sought-after talent. Instead, Life Science organizations must consider the scarcity, location, and unique needs of talent pools to engage with them effectively.

I take a closer look at how a hybrid approach can support smarter talent sourcing, below.

A Tailored Approach

If we look at light industrial workers in Life Science, we often see them centralized in specific geographies and in extremely high demand with employers. This can fuel high-attrition rates, leaving organizations with a significant bill for replacing technical talent. By choosing a tailored approach, with a local master vendor and specialist local suppliers, organizations can tap into local knowledge. Harnessing this experience to create accurate talent profiles and to become a meaningful part of the local community. I have seen organizations use this local mindset to drive community outreach, connect with student populations, and drive high rates of return for seasonal workers. This doesn’t mean they turn away from international or national suppliers, but for these types of workers, they are choosing suppliers with a critical mass of business in a key local area.

Hybrid Sourcing

The strength of hybrid sourcing is in its diversity. It recognizes that simply because a local master vendor is the right choice for some roles this doesn’t make it the right choice for every role. The hybrid model allows hiring managers to access a single point of entry and steers them to the right approach for the role they need to fill in that moment. For a hard-to-find research role, it may direct the manager through a competitive supplier bidding process; for a high-volume technical role, the manager is likely to be redirected to a local master vendor. This versatility combines local hiring knowledge with the extensive reach of a commercially competitive vendor-neutral approach.

A Shift from Exclusively Vendor Neutral

Right now, we are seeing the pendulum actively swinging away from a purely vendor-neutral sourcing models to hybrid models that offer Life Science organizations a more flexible approach to their talent needs. They are actively redesigning their MSPs to move to a hybrid system. This shift is having a positive impact on their bottom line, with the embracing of a partially localized approach, allowing businesses to leverage economies of scale. It’s also positively impacting traditionally high attrition rates, as local employers engage more actively and effectively with local workforces.

Digital technology in the form of talent portals, AI, and machine learning is driving the success of hybrid sourcing as machines offer up smart decision making on the best sourcing model for each role. This rise in flexibility and personalization is a trend that looks set to continue as Life Science organizations look for ways to stand out in a competitive talent marketplace.


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