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The Need for Talent in a Growing Biotechnology Market


bradgphilbrick@gmail.com

Indiana ranks as the second largest state in the exporting of life science products.  Its $9.9 billion of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, agricultural supplies, and testing laboratories is second only to California.  Indiana’s contribution to the biotechnology sector accounts almost one-third of its state exports.

Indiana like all states seeking to grow and be continued leaders in the biotechnology industry must find and recruit great talent.  David Johnson, the president and CEO of BioCrossroads, wrote in a May 2016 report, “As the most research and development-intensive sector of our economy, the growth of health and life sciences depends on talent. Highly concentrated in STEM-driven occupations, many careers in life sciences require additional skills, education and training unique to a regulated industry from research and development to production and operations. Changes in healthcare delivery, including the move to more coordinated care and the treatment of increasingly complex cases, drives up educational requirements and specialization. All results in unique challenges in developing, attracting and retaining talent to support growth.”

The Conference Board states, “The Ill-Prepared US Workforceꟷthat about half of all employers believe that the people they have hired are inadequately prepared for their jobs.  A large assumption is that the opportunities in biotechnology careers are there, but the amount of educated and adequately trained individuals to do the work are in short supply.

Human Resources leaders and recruiters have a huge challenge.  It appears recruiters, in an attempt to avoid an onslaught of resumes and applications, they are posting job descriptions that require experience and skills,  with the hope that a new hire will immediately dive right in and be productive.  Peter Cappelli writes in his book, Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, “Neal Grunstra, the founder and president of Mindbank Consulting Group, staffing, and IT projects company, calls it “looking for a unicorn.”

Accenture, a global management consulting firm, reported in 2011 that only twenty-one percent of colleagues in an organization had received any training in the last five years.  The report went on to say that apprenticeships, internships, and extended training that assure employees become successful in new roles or new jobs.

It’s a well-known fact that the two ways to make a profit are to sell more or reduce costs.  Organizations have downsized and found effective ways to cut expenditure.  And that has included training programs, internships, apprenticeships, and residencies.

It is time again for business to devote time to education and training and find ways to partner with universities, tech schools, and continuing education providers to assure competitiveness and success for their business.