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PwC: Biopharmaceutical Industry Facing Hiring Difficulties

By Rob Starr, Content Manager,

A talent gap in the scientific workforce has biopharmaceutical companies searching outside for fresh skills and alternate approaches to R&D staffing, according to the PwC Health Research Institute (HRI) in a new report published yesterday.

HRI at PwC suggests that new R&D models need equally innovative HR strategies to find the right mix of scientific talent, skills and incentives.  The knowledge-intensive pharmaceutical industry had the highest reported difficulty in hiring top talent of the 19 industries featured in PwC’s 2012 Global CEO Survey. CEOs identified talent gaps as one of the biggest threats to future growth prospects.

The two most common outside partnerships biopharmaceutical companies have been pursuing are with academic medical centers and third parties such as contract research organizations, according to PwC HRI.  Some companies also are teaming up with traditional competitors through consortiums, alliances with foundations, crowd sourcing and other relationships that enable them to build R&D capacity and share risks and rewards with external partners.

While many biopharmaceutical companies are looking outside for talent in new partnerships, HRI found others are restructuring their own scientific workforces and incentive structures.  Either way, HR is playing a bigger role in strategic planning, organizational design, compensation, incentives and professional development of the scientific workforce according to PwC.  Internal barriers have limited HR’s role in the past to hiring and firing tasks, but HR’s ability to have a big influence on R&D productivity may depend on how tightly it is integrated with R&D organizational decision-making going forward.

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