The industry’s explosive growth is putting a lot of pressure on biotech organizations to expand to keep up with the demand. In the United States, the growth can be attributed to the Food and Drug Administration’s fast-tracking of medications that treat serious medical conditions, as well as fulfill unmet medical needs.
Powered by the need to bring these kinds of medications to the market a lot quicker and the innate opportunities in this type of environment, small or startup biotech firms are rising up to the occasion and putting more competitive pressure on more prominent companies in the industry. To prove it, recent studies suggest that 51% of Chief Executive Officers in the pharmaceuticals and life science industries are having problems retaining and attracting the right individuals.
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Hiring obstacles for biotech firms
The growth of this industry has created some obstacles for Human Resource (HR) departments. Not only that, but it also makes a lot of problems when it comes to hiring upper management positions at reputable biotech firms. One of the most crucial challenges is tight competition for limited talents.
A competitive market for recruitment agencies
The industry has seen a drastic growth of small and startup biotech companies trying to capitalize on new opportunities for medicine development. Reputable firms suggest that the growth of startups and small organizations is increasing the competition among companies in the industries for top talents by spreading the demand more thinly.
The industry is growing with innovation and organization creation, so the demand for quality talent is a lot higher compared to what we have seen before. And it is not only a tag-of-war inside the industry. Biotech organizations are also competing with tech firms for talent.
Because of the sudden rise of artificial intelligence, as well as big-data analytics, the biotechnology world is making a tech shift, and companies need technology-savvy workers. It puts organizations in direct competition with big tech organizations like Google or Apple for quality talents, which is a battle that is proving to be hard to win.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and AI (Artificial Intelligence) Lab, biotech firms are pretty behind when they compete with tech giants when it comes to recruiting quality talents. The best talents are not in the pharmaceutical industry today. But it is not because they are not trying more to hire them. The reason for this is because there is a shortage of talents with both life science and data skills. That is why the demand is always higher compared to the supply.
The shortage of applicants with the necessary skills
The shortage of talented individuals is straining the hiring process in the biotech world. According to experts, the rise of information science, machine, and big data learning approaches in this industry, and the use of artificial intelligence, as well as analytical process techs in medicine production, are requiring firms to hire life scientists with computing and mathematical skills.
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When we look at skill sets needed to run a biopharmaceutical manufacturing process – especially around data analytics, process development, and engineering – the shortage in skill set is a persistent challenge. One of the main reasons for this gap in skills is the lack of practical training and guidance at the university level. It is pretty hard for educational institutions to develop at the same rapid pace as the industry. It contributes to the supply shortage of qualified applicants.
Hiring lead times are too long
When organizations do manage to overcome these problems and find the right worker, long hiring lead times in this industry hinder the needed progress. It takes a very long time to fill openings at biotech firms. A couple of months’ lead time is pretty standard.
It only ratchets up the pressure companies are feeling. There are two areas where the hiring process bottlenecks: the interview process and the onboarding process. According to experts, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have one of the longest interview processes in the United States at an average of 28 days.
These long lead times can be detrimental not only to the recruiting process but also to the company’s day-to-day operation. According to human resource strategists, the slow hiring process causes firms to miss out on the most qualified applicants and raise their hiring costs. Extended lead time has a direct bottom-line impact on the organization’s overall success. In a highly competitive industry, organizations cannot afford these kinds of inefficiencies.
The lack of diversity in the workplace
The biotechnology sector has a huge diversity problem in the workplace. Based on recent studies, the majority of individuals working in companies are making and white. Still, some organizations are doing enough to help dissect the bias and encourage greater participation from minorities. When contacted by big organizations, a lot of public firms refused to discuss this problem on the record. For the majority of biotech companies, race remains off-limits – it is almost radioactive.
It is true at the executive and managerial levels. According to some of the best biotech recruiters, as recently as 2016, only a handful of female professionals become CEO in publicly traded firms in California. Female chief executive officers lamented that a lot of higher management positions, especially board chairs and CEOs, make high-level hires from their networks, which are mostly male and white. It leaves highly qualified people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community executives are out of the running for the highest positions.
Biotech recruiters with the right technology to help solve these problems
These hiring problems are forcing organizations to adapt to new data-based and technological practices to help them find and recruit the best among top talents. Hiring systems supported by artificial intelligence are quickly becoming the widely used tool of these organizations that need to grow at a rapid pace.
Artificial Intelligence-based hiring platforms help address the challenges mentioned above and provide various benefits to the talent acquisition process. These tools help improve the quality of applicants by using data analytics to match the best applicants for the position. Search algorithms can narrow the field of hundreds, even thousands of candidates down to a small group based on the requirements needed for the position.