A Recent Case Study: The War for Talent

Written by: Mackenzie Skold
Edited by: Melissa Megna

The War for Talent in the Biotechnology Industry
The biotechnology industry is undergoing radical changes in the delivery of therapeutic solutions along with rapid market expansion. The industry has experienced a 32.28% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) increase in revenue over the last five years. This combination has created a shortage of qualified biotechnology professionals. Placing companies in a “war for talent.” How are industry executives planning to hire, train and retain the necessary talent to meet this challenge? Govig & Associates executive recruiters seized the opportunity to pose this question to biotechnology industry leaders at two recent forums, the 2018 BIO (Biotechnology Innovation Organization) convention, and the 2018 NY/NJ CEO Biopharma forum.

The BIO convention takes place annually in Boston, MA. It is a premier biotech conference with over 500 educational sessions. One of Govig’s executive recruiters, Cynthia Mason, attended the 2018 conference in June. During a panel discussion consisting of biotechnology executives, she asked the panel how they were managing to train and develop the people they hire to meet scientific technical challenges. One CEO (chief executive officer) gave an awkward laugh and replied that companies were not doing enough to solve the problem. Another executive on the panel, a CCO (chief commercial officer), answered that more should be done to manage and retain millennial employees. Both executives recognized the problem but offered no firm solutions.

A few months later, another Govig executive recruiter, Jack Hall, attended the NY/NJ CEO Biopharma forum in New Jersey. This annual event is intended for senior-level life sciences executives to network and discuss industry challenges and opportunities. During panel discussions, another attendee raised the issue of the shortage of trained biotechnology professionals, characterizing the problem as a “war for talent.” A CEO on the panel offered their strategy. They recommended that companies “grab” new talent as quickly as possible. If no positions are open, their company will create a position for someone who can bring value and new ideas.

Industry leaders are recognizing that new strategies are needed in this “war for talent.” Fast-paced innovations in biotechnology and expanding biopharma production fuel the need for qualified, talented people. Companies must come up with strategies to attract, train and retain high-quality biotechnology professionals.