Pharma Manufacturing: How is the life science job market in the U.S. today, as opposed to a year or two ago? What specific changes or trends are you seeing?
A.E.: The life sciences workforce is transforming to one where individuals are in charge of their own career working for a company within the pharma supply chain as a contingent worker or “free agent”. Many organizations are embracing this trend as part of their overall workforce strategy. Today, free agents account for more than four of 10 workers employed in the U.S. Research conducted by Kelly Services estimates that the free agent population is at least 20 to 30 percent of the entire global workforce—and growing. Free agents are highly educated, highly skilled, and confident in their abilities.
|Free agent. Credit: ABC/AP|
PhM: What exact positions are manufacturers having the most difficult time finding qualified candidates for these days? What’s to explain this difficulty?
A.E.: The most difficult positions to fill are the bio processing operators and the bio engineering technicians. The reason for the difficulty is the U.S. is not producing enough scientists from our colleges and universities. (Or, is it because not enough students are studying in the science fields?) In addition, the government and trade institutions collaboratively should offer more support to the pharma industry to increase the talent pool.
Another factor making it hard to find qualified candidates is that companies are using traditional recruiting tactics that are effective today. By partnering with a workforce solutions firm, such as Kelly Services, companies map out a recruitment strategy that is suitable for their needs and meet the demands of the new complex workplace.This is a bone-stupid comment. While I don't doubt that it is difficult to find experienced bioprocessing operators and technicians, it's probably not because too few students are going to school in the sciences. It's probably much more likely to be the relatively rare training grounds for biological manufacturing, e.g. large cell culture facilities.
This is disappointing to hear from the US head of Kelly's scientific staffing division.