The life sciences job market is among the best in the country. This industry has the second-lowest unemployment rate of all U.S. occupations at just 0.6% as of April 2022. Lauded as one of the most important industries, life sciences gives employees the opportunity to make a marked difference in the healthcare industry as well as numerous individuals’ lives. Despite such perks, employers are having a hard time finding the right talent to fill these essential jobs.

Current Trends in the Life Sciences Job Market

The life sciences industry is incredibly stable and resilient. While total private sector employment fell 5.1% between 2019 and 2020, employment in the life sciences industry increased 1.4%. During this period, employment in research, testing, and medical laboratories increased 2.7%, the total number of jobs in drugs and pharmaceuticals increased 1.7%, and bioscience-related positions went up 0.7%. As the industry grows, it is also steadily changing.

An Evolving Workforce

The professional landscape is evolving rapidly in the life sciences industry. Individuals are turning to online courses and community colleges to get faster and more affordable degrees. Many of those who already have a degree in another field are considering specialized degrees or certification programs to help them adapt their backgrounds to a career in life sciences. Others are simply trying to switch between different fields within the life sciences sector.

Employees need to have an extensive skill set to thrive in this demanding industry. Life sciences rely heavily on engineering, digital manufacturing, information technology, and scientific skills. Compliance experience is a great boon to anyone interested in working in this field.

Life sciences, like many other industries, has also adapted to the prevailing shift to remote work. In a national hiring survey, a whopping 75% of life sciences companies indicated that they’re implementing, expanding, or considering implementing remote work options. While much of the initial shift to remote employment was a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this paradigm is sticking in many companies. Twenty-eight percent say that they’re shifting to remote work to compete for talent with tech and other industries that offer this type of remote work option.

New Research and Technology

Life sciences are always pursuing new developments and researching ways to improve their processes, procedures, and outcomes. This has given rise to a wealth of new technologies including cell-based therapies, immunotherapies, mRNA therapeutics, and CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) gene editing technology.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing a growing role in life sciences as well. The global artificial intelligence in the healthcare market is expected to reach $164.1 billion by 2029, exhibiting a 42.4% compound annual growth rate. AI can deliver personalized care, automate time-consuming workflows, and more.

Challenges for Life Sciences Companies in Hiring Talent

Life sciences companies are steadily seeking out new talent, but many are struggling to fill essential roles. There are a few key factors inhibiting successful hiring in this industry.

Shortage of Talent

Demand currently exceeds the supply of global talent. This is true in nearly every industry, but the shortage is especially pronounced in life sciences companies because this industry seeks a higher-than-average percentage of high-skilled workers. In other industries, just 27% of entry-level positions require high skills. However, in life sciences, this percentage jumps to 47%.

The talent shortage has created a highly competitive job market. Companies need to make an outstanding offer to snag top talent, and the best employees know that they have their pick of the job market.

Complex Hiring Processes

Vetting talent properly is of monumental importance in life sciences. Since many positions require an extensive educational background and reliable, detail-oriented work, employers must ensure that their new hires receive ample onboarding. These complex hiring practices can make it more difficult for businesses to obtain the talent they need.

Regulatory compliance and requirements present another challenge. The complexity of healthcare systems and processes requires heightened standards and in-depth examinations to make sure the right people are in the right jobs.

How a Staffing Partner Can Help

Working with a staffing partner helps you gain access to a larger pool of talent so you have a better chance of connecting with top-notch employees. Staffing companies also have specialized expertise in identifying and attracting the right talent. These companies streamline every aspect of the hiring process and can even help ensure that any potential hires are in line with all regulatory requirements.

Partnering with a staffing agency is a powerful way to combat the challenges of hiring in the current life sciences job market. Working with a skilled staffing partner can make a major difference in filling essential jobs.

Read more strategies for overcoming staffing challenges in clinical trials here.