Magazine Article | September 5, 2010

Life Sciences: Now Hiring

Source: Life Science Leader
Dan Schell author page headshot

By Dan Schell, Editorial Director, Life Science Leader

Hiring employees hasn’t been at the top of life science executives’ to-do lists for quite some time now. But that may be changing, as the economy begins to give slight signs of upward movement.

To find out more about what to expect from a hiring standpoint in this industry, I spoke with Larry Hartmann, a managing partner with ZRG Partners (, a consulting firm specializing in talent management issues within various markets. ZRG just released its first Global Life Science Hiring Index, and most of the results were in line with many of the current industry trends.

For instance, overall, the index listed the job category of regulatory/quality/clinical as the one that is currently most in demand. Further, the majority of that demand is coming from the outsourcing arena. Hartmann speculates that this is due to so many companies focusing on emerging markets as new growth areas as well as a general shortage for this skill set worldwide.

Indeed, as the prevalence of outsourcing companies grows, so too does their desire to employ regulatory and quality staff. But, that doesn’t explain why the job category that was second in demand — less than 1% off from the regulatory/quality/clinical category — was IT/accounting/finance. Hartmann and I found this fact curious considering 2009’s vast layoffs. I suggested that perhaps companies are now beginning to hire back positions that can have a direct impact on streamlining an organization’s costs and operations, another common industry trend. Hartmann wondered if this percentage only seemed high due to the other job types (i.e. R&D, manufacturing, sales/marketing) being lower than usual.

The index also listed EMEA (Europe/Middle East and Africa) as having the largest demand for regulatory/quality/clinical staff. Again, this wasn’t surprising considering the shift to many of these low-cost regions for outsourcing operations and patient recruitment opportunities. Additionally, Hartmann noted that it is more common for people in these regions to “job hop” or leave their jobs after just a few years to take another. Thus, those employees with a specialized skill set like regulatory compliance are always in demand.

I believe having an index like this will be helpful to life science executives, especially when trying to anticipate how long it will take to hire a certain position or even where best to look for a certain expertise. ZRG plans to produce these indices quarterly, and Life Science Leader will keep you updated on the results.