How life sciences organizations can prepare for change in 2024

As 2024 unfolds, life sciences is experiencing a surge of optimism. Overall US economic growth entered the year on strong footing, with most economic indicators moving in a favorable direction. An added boost will come this summer if the Fed starts cutting interest rates, as many experts anticipate.

The S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index is up almost 20% year over year. M&A activity in the global life sciences industry heated up late last year and remains strong. With many drug therapies in the pipeline and regulatory changes unfolding, demand for labor is rising. Life sciences organizations can thrive in the face of such changes by understanding market shifts, assessing internal talent gaps and proactively responding to them.

Several key trends are driving transformation in life sciences:

  • Rapid oncology drug expansion, with expected growth from $214 billion in 2024 to $359 billion by 2028.
  • The emergence of GLP-1 weight loss drugs, such as Ozempic and Wegovy, which are challenging traditional wisdom about treatment options and overall health.
  • Cell and gene therapies for blood cancers, lymphoma and rare diseases. mRNA technology, which became household knowledge during the pandemic, is emerging as one of the fastest-growing sectors, with more than 211 such drugs in preclinical development.
  • The FDA’s support of decentralized clinical trials (DCTs), aimed at increasing flexibility and innovation, is making studies more efficient while tackling quality risks.
  • Cybersecurity is in the spotlight as the industry looks to combat risks.
  • Generative AI could accelerate clinical development, transform application development and testing, and improve quality management. The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimates the technology could generate $60-110 billion annually for the pharma and medical product industries.

PREMIUM CONTENT: US Staffing Industry Forecast: March 2024 Update

Manage a Rapidly Changing Life Sciences Industry

Life sciences organizations that keep abreast of market changes and proactively respond to them will ensure they have the right people, resources and knowledge to stay competitive. As organizations seek highly-skilled individuals to address life sciences trends and growth, the war for talent is intensifying.

Life sciences organizations must stay flexible and agile to attract and retain the workers they need. But what does this look like in practice? They can start by assessing resources and properly scoping any talent gaps. Once gaps are identified, a streamlined recruiting and hiring process will efficiently attract the best talent for those roles. Onboarding, along with transparent communication about expectations, scope of work and duration of projects, creates a foundation for success.

Flexibility around pay, skills gained and remote or hybrid work arrangements enhance the appeal of life science roles. For example, although the labor market continues trending toward on-site work, organizations that remain open to remote and hybrid work arrangements will have access to more top talent, especially when it comes to highly skilled and experienced workers.

Get Ahead in the War for Talent

The highest-demand areas for life sciences talent span biotech, pharmaceutical and medtech. From preclinical and clinical drug trials to commercialization of new medicines and new medical device development, the industry is experiencing a reinvigoration. Proactively addressing demand is essential for gaining access to top talent.

As the market stabilizes, organizations that accelerate their talent sourcing, interviewing and hiring will gain a competitive edge. Companies have an opportunity to refine hiring processes, grasp the full scope of staffing needs and make well-timed hiring decisions. Engaging with a staffing partner well versed in industry trends is a proactive step that will drive successful talent acquisition.

Make Sure Your Recruiting Partners Are Best in Class

The risk of lagging in recruiting and hiring amidst rapid industry changes is significant. Losing out on the best talent means falling behind competitors and jeopardizing project outcomes. Organizations that operate in isolation or are unaware of market dynamics could miss opportunities and face inefficient resource allocation.

Companies need the right people in the right roles at the right time to stay competitive. The importance of having the right individuals in leadership roles cannot be overstated. Organizations must trust their recruitment partners to successfully navigate complexities and ensure successful outcomes.

Life sciences is not only poised for transformative growth — it’s in the midst of it. Companies that proactively adapt to change, embrace innovation and streamline their recruiting and hiring processes will lead the way in this new era.

Bret Cerasoli

Bret Cerasoli
Bret Cerasoli is president of Black Diamond Networks.

Bret Cerasoli

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