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From faster drug discovery and extra personalised patient experience to quicker processes of diagnosis and genetically manufactured meat, digital technology has a multitude of benefits when it comes to the life sciences industry.

New research on the digital maturity of pharma, relative to other industries, reveals clear opportunities to improve performance by better connecting digitally with patients and physicians. Many companies have only just established digital specific roles and this is a necessity to compete in today’s digital age as companies assess the best way to educate and interact with their audience.

Experienced talent in short supply

60% of life science CEOs report being very concerned about a digital talent shortage and 57% find it hard to attract the right calibre of people. With this in mind, industry giants across the life sciences sector are experimenting with a range of initiatives to keep pace to attract and retain the right talent.

Major biopharma companies are taking advantage of the capabilities that technology holds by hiring Chief Digital Officers (CDOs). GSK specifically sought to hire a CDO with experience in a more digitally mature industry to help them transition to new ways of working and to drive their digital ambitions.

A number of life science companies have started to approach “workplace of the future” programmes designed to provide a consistent brand experience. This involves modernising workplace environments and relocating closer to available talent pools.

A new breed of biotechnology firm is said to be disrupting the industry by pioneering impressive new digital capabilities that are shifting the industry as a whole forward. 79% of employees consider workplace quality as a key consideration when selecting a new employer and so, perhaps their approach to being unencumbered by traditional processes is the answer to attracting the best talent.

Sourcing talent from other industries

Not only are biopharma and life science companies utilising the same talent pool as other industry sectors, but they also face competition from tech companies seeking specialist skills, such as computational biologists and bioinformaticians. Genomics-based research has caused an increase in demand for these skill sets across the life sciences industry and the likes of Google, Netflix and Amazon are in need of these professionals too as their scientific knowledge is extremely desirable for tech companies focused on healthcare.

Research states that a large proportion of tech professionals are unsatisfied with their current roles, 72% would take a pay cut for the ideal job and 78% would consider leaving their current role. This holds a critical opportunity for the life sciences industry to focus on the whole package (compensation, benefits, career opportunity and culture) to attract and retain top talent.

Understanding the needs, workstyles and preferred working environments of digital talent is the start of attracting talent.