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| 2 minutes read

With 1 in 3 US Life Sciences jobs vacant by 2030 how do we close the skills gap?

I recently shared new research by AMS that shows that one in three roles within the US Life Sciences sector will be vacant by 2030 unless companies start taking different approaches to attracting, recruiting and retaining talent.  As of today there are c. 85,000 open vacancies within the US Life Sciences sector.  With attrition running at >20% each year and with over half of all job leavers exiting the sector completely, we're facing rapidly diminishing talent pools.  And whilst new graduates are entering the sector each year, it's not nearly enough to stem the shortages.

You may think that 1 in 3 jobs vacant is an overly harsh assessment.  Our latest paper on this topic (linked below) references research by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) that argues that 60% of jobs could be vacant by 2025.  However we assess the gap, we need to acknowledge that the gap is significant and risks becoming a crisis in future years if solutions are not found.  

The root cause is clear - attrition is running too high and we have a substantial over-reliance on hiring job-ready talent.  Put simply, if we carry on as we are today we will run out of workers. 

There is no one silver bullet to these challenges but there are solutions and they require HR and Talent leaders to think strategically and holistically about the way that they hire, develop and retain talent. Josh Bersin proposes a systemic model to address these challenges through what he calls the "Four R's" - recruit, retain, reskill and redesign.  His research on the Healthcare sector makes for compelling reading and the parallels with Life Sciences are clear.  

Leading Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences companies are well aware of the challenges and many are focused on solutions.  Within the detailed article linked below, Beth Keeler, AVP Global Talent Acquisition at Merck talks to their efforts to broaden talent pipelines through reducing the educational requirements for roles and attracting more diverse talent.  Céline Raffray, VP Talent Acquisition at Bristol Myers Squibb, talks to the need to take a skills-based approach to talent, the need to focus on upskilling and reskilling staff as well as enhancing internal mobility.  

These are not simple challenges to solve and talent leaders (be they Talent Acquisition, Talent Management or Learning and Development) can not solve them in isolation.  These challenges call for an integrated approach to talent and require a strategic response.  Those organizations that fail to act now will undoubtedly see the challenges grow exponentially over the coming years.  

I'm proud of our partnerships with the likes of Merck and BMS that enable AMS to help our clients to overcome these challenges.  Reach out to me or one of my many talented colleagues if you would like to discuss the challenges and potential solutions in the context of your own organization.  

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Like all companies in the life sciences sector we’re feeling the competitive nature of the jobs market, particularly for scarce skills such as digital or cell therapy. Whilst BMS has an incredible brand to leverage in order to acquire the best talent, I am very aware the challenge will only get greater in the coming years As such, I see the need to be more agile and flexible and turn to innovative or inhouse solutions such as upskilling and reskilling of staff, enhanced internal mobility and the need to take a skills-based approach to talent acquisition as being of great strategic importance” Céline Raffray, Bristol Myers Squibb


life sciences, future of work, upskilling, internal mobility, candidate attraction, ams, leadership, talent climate, diversity equity inclusion, innovation