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Biopharmaceutical Industry Facing Talent Shortage, Hiring Difficulties

The biopharmaceutical industry faces global economic and demographic pressures, rising customer expectations and outdated cultural models. R&D stands at the vanguard of this revolution. Some 35% of life science companies have revamped their R&D models in the past three years, according to research from PwC's Health Research Institute.

New R&D organizational models based on partnerships, alliances, and even crowdsourcing are changing talent needs. The most needed skill sets for R&D have moved away from pure scientific expertise to regulatory knowledge and relationship skills. Developing and managing outside partnerships and regulatory science are the two most sought-after skills today. As the patent cliff has eroded company profits, the industry has responded with large-scale layoffs, a staggering 150,000 from 2009. While the worst cuts occurred in 2009 and primarily affected sales staff, smaller waves continue to pare the workforce, extending into the scientific community. The industry is left with talent gaps that threaten its ability to perform well in an outcomes-based healthcare model.

Biopharmaceuticals is considered among the most research-intensive industries and the scientific team is the beating heart of the industry. Management expects this highly educated workforce to develop a constant stream of profitable new products. The challenge is immense.

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