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| 2 minutes read

By 2030 a third of all US Life Sciences roles could be vacant

In preparation for the LEAP TA Life Sciences conference next week in Boston, we have been conducting some analysis on the scarce talent trends that many, including myself, have been talking about extensively for the last year.  Our analysis makes for compelling reading. 

There are c. 1.2m roles within the US Life Sciences sector and 85,000 open roles today suggesting that we already have a deficit of c. 7%.  With attrition in the sector running at an average of 20.6% and with 54% of those leavers leaving the sector completely, it’s clear that the deficit, left unchecked, will continue to rise.  

The good news is that numbers of new graduates with Life Sciences skills are helping to offset those leaving the sector.  The US should see c.165,000 graduates with Life Sciences skills this year of which we should expect c.70% choose to join our sector.  That means we’re losing 124,000 workers through attrition and gaining 115,000 through new graduates and early careers hiring.  All of which means that our current worker deficit of 7% will be 8% by the end of this year.

But our sector continues to grow, with analysts estimating year on year growth of between 5% and 12%.  Let’s assume a conservative growth rate of 5% and let’s assume that our graduate populations also grow each year.  The 8% deficit of workers which we will see at the end of this year will rise to 13% by the end of 2023 and will continue to increase year on year to a 35% deficit of workers by 2030.    That would mean more than 1 in 3 roles vacant.

That’s a pretty alarming projection but it’s a projection that assumes that companies continue with the same talent practices as today.  To avoid these huge talent shortages we need to do things differently. We need to treasure our existing talent and invest in developing, upskilling and reskilling our talent to reduce employee turnover and reduce the need to hire externally.  When hiring externally we need to reduce our reliance on job-ready talent and instead hire for skills and hire for potential

Whilst many global economies are slowing or entering recession it feels unlikely that we’re going to see an immediate jump in unemployment and a drop in employee turnover.  Talent leaders need now to be considering new strategies to tackle the growing deficit of talent. 

I’ve linked below my new article in Outsourced Pharma which details 6 best practice approaches that companies should consider adopting.

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These challenges can no longer be denied. To address talent scarcity in the field, business leaders need to acknowledge the need for a large-scale strategic transformation and commit to bold changes in their hiring and retention practices.


life sciences, future of work, talent acquisition, talent climate, early careers and campus, reskilling, upskilling, leadership