Though the life sciences industry may be most commonly associated with hard skills, soft skills are of equal importance in such a fast-changing environment.
There are multiple changes impacting the industry, from shifts in the regulatory landscape to digitalisation – life sciences professionals need to be adaptable to stay agile.
For startups in particular, adaptability is essential in overcoming the teething challenges that many early-stage businesses face.
Though many biotech startups, for example, will have considerable venture capital to rely on, there also needs to be a balance with the creative ways in which the business can overcome challenges.
It isn’t just about adapting to new environments and working processes, which is an ability that the pandemic tested for most individuals.
It’s also about how well you can adjust to new technologies, laws, regulations, and even products – how can you demonstrate to a recruiter or hiring manager that you can prepare for change and adapt to it?
Digital and technology
It likely won’t come as a surprise that in your life sciences job search, digital skills are in extremely high demand.
The industry has faced considerable difficulty attempting to fill vacancies that require digital skills because of high demand across industries, making them an advantageous addition to your skillset – 60% of life science CEOs report being concerned about a digital talent shortage.
Digital technology is a critical component for scientific breakthroughs – remote clinical trials, biomarker identification, digital therapeutics and wearables – which means that the skills necessary to utilise these tech solutions are equally critical.
If you have digital skills, you’re in a unique and highly beneficial position because every industry is trying to access the same pool of digital/tech talent, making you a valuable asset to any life sciences organisation.
This means that the following are essential:
Understanding the range of technology relevant to the job role you’re applying for
How the technology works
How to use it
How it can be applied (which relates to your ability to problem solve)
How you can adapt this skill over time
You want to be able to convey to recruiters that you’re proactive in your learning process and that you can enhance your processes through digital technology.
Data and analytics
There has been a significant rise in data investment, gathering, and initiatives in recent years in life sciences.
Additionally, in areas such as biomedical research, there is a reliance on rich healthcare data, which means there is also a need for those with the analytical ability to make sense of and interpret the data.
In other words, life sciences organisations are looking for candidates who can not only produce datasets, but also those who have the skills to add context to the data and thoroughly interpret larger datasets.
Job roles in research and development, computational biology, and bioinformatics are particularly suitable for those with data and analytics skills, however, statistical and analytical ability is a strong foundation for a variety of roles in life sciences.
Interpersonal skills are the cornerstone of any life sciences skillset due to the collaborative nature of the industry.
To be able to establish solid connections and trust with your colleagues, strong communication is critical, especially when conveying findings and your thoughts.
Communication as a skill also lends itself to more technical hard skills such as analytics, as you need to be a strong communicator to convey information to different groups of people in a way that is concise and appropriate.
As areas of life sciences innovate – personalised healthcare, the use of AI, big data – there will need to be professionals that can adapt to these changes whilst communicating them within an organisation adequately and thoroughly.
This also ties in with the necessity for strong branding and marketing in life sciences, as promoting medical advances and digitalisation will be key priorities in the industry in the future.
The industry is constantly growing and evolving.
To best navigate the changes that come with growth, strong leadership is an absolute necessity to help organisations expand their workforce and continue to find success.
New ways of working – hybrid and remote working – will mean that team management on a wider, more complex scale is necessary, which makes leadership skills even more coveted.
Additionally, talent shortages in the industry mean that skills shortages need to be addressed through changes in recruitment and business processes, which would be overseen by those with strong leadership skills.
Ideally, your experience in leadership roles would be paired with strong knowledge of the industry and the technological advancements that have impacted it as well.
Get in touch
Skills capabilities are often a reflection of the industry’s growth, and in this case, are matching a period of high investment, technological innovation, and talent shortages.
This means that the combination of soft skills such as adaptability, communication and leadership, and hard skills relating to data, analytics and technology are necessary to keep the growth on a steady upward trajectory.
Transferable skills are hugely advantageous in the life sciences industry, and there’s never been a better time to harness the passion you have for the industry to enter it if you have the skills that are in high demand.
Panda International is trusted by leading life sciences companies worldwide to provide the very best contingent talent and deliver seamless candidate experiences. To find the best life sciences vacancies, get in touch with the Panda team today so that we can support you every step of the way in your job search.