Life sciences recruitment has historically been challenging as employers compete to attract top talent in one of Australia’s fastest-growing sectors. 

According to the Labour Market Information Portal, employment in the healthcare and social assistance industry has increased by 24.2% over the past five years, and the sector is predicted to contribute the greatest number of jobs to the Australian economy over the next four years.

More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed critical importance on life sciences and changed the face of employment in the sector. Here are some of the trends we’re seeing unfold, and how they will impact life sciences recruitment in the coming months and years.

1. Unprecedented industry growth

Today, the race for talent is fiercer than ever before thanks to the unprecedented surge in demand driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. A growing supply and demand gap of skilled professionals is creating immediate challenges for employers, which could have long-term hiring consequences in 2020 and beyond. 

In particular, experienced candidates in key industries like healthcare, pharmaceutical and research and development (R&D) will be highly sought after. And for many companies, this could mean a longer recruitment process to fill life sciences and health science jobs, particularly in niche areas. 

2. The hunt for technological expertise

A growing number of companies are adopting advanced technologies to find prospective employees – both active and passive jobseekers. AI and machine learning are increasingly being utilised to enable data-driven approaches that create value across patient care, manufacturing, the supply chain, and the entire life sciences ecosystem.

As life sciences and technology converge, there is an increased focus on recruiting professionals with the expertise to deliver tech-enabled solutions. Roles in biotech, data analysis and digital product management will continue to rise in 2020 and beyond as companies compete to stay at the forefront of a rapidly evolving sector.

3. Increase in remote healthcare roles

The pandemic has also accelerated the shift to remote work across a wide range of industries. In the life sciences sector, many traditionally in-office administrative roles have moved online – and may continue to be remote for the foreseeable future.

In addition, the growing adoption of telehealth services (health services delivered virtually via telecommunication and videoconferencing technologies) in the sector is increasing the availability of remote roles for healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, psychologists, and other clinicians.

4. Greater investment in research and development (R&D)

According to research carried out by Deloitte prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, R&D in the life sciences sector is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3% over the
2019 to 2024 period

Given the research into COVID-19 and the race to find a vaccine, the realised investment in R&D is likely to be much higher. 

This uptick in R&D activity will see an increased demand to fill roles such as R&D managers, R&D chemists, project managers and quality assurance specialists.

5. Employee value proposition (EVP) matters more than ever

Life sciences recruitment has always been competitive. But now, employers must work hard to distinguish themselves from other players in the market and create a compelling employee value proposition (EVP) to attract top talent.

What career development opportunities, salary, non-monetary incentives, and work/life balance initiatives are on offer? What kind of workplace culture is promoted? How is achievement recognised and rewarded? 

These are all questions that businesses will need to thoughtfully considered to ensure a successful recruitment process to secure top talent in the competitive health and life sciences field.

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