CIPD, life sciences recruiter, worry about skills

Posted on 3 Oct 2013 by Ruari McCallion

Two separate organisations have expressed concern about looming skills shortages.

Recruiter Clinical Professionals and the CIPD have both highlighted the threat of skills shortages and suggest strategies to overcome them.

In the pharmaceutical sector, an analysis of pharmaceutical talent trends from Clinical Professionals, a specialist life sciences recruiter, says that the industry must address the looming skills shortages or risk losing the best candidates to other sectors.

At the same time, research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has found that more than a third of line managers have not received training in how to supervise people, a trend that could create culture problems.

According to Clinical Professionals, there are three key strategies the pharma industry must implement in order to address its “talent crisis”. First, companies should implement “smart pipelining and pooling” in order to develop a flow of engaged candidates. Second, it should be recognised that potential talent is not restricted to traditional sources. Businesses in the sector need to look at wider communities that may harbour future pharmaceutical talent. Graduates looking to develop careers as physicians, for example, could be future candidates for the Clinical Research, Medical Affairs and Pharmacovigilance arenas. Third, the talent pipeline is now international. Businesses must engage with talent across borders, using a strong employer brand message. Yvette Cleland, Managing Director at Clinical Professionals commented on this potential skills shortage.

“The upheaval the industry has noted isn’t surprising, given the challenges most organisations have faced, from clinical trials failing to clients demanding more,” she observed. “While the changing pharma environment and budget constraints can’t always be helped, it’s important that the people element of business isn’t pushed to one side. Without the highly skilled people to drive innovation and clinical research, the pharmaceutical sector will struggle to progress.”

The CIPD’s latest research offers analysis and suggestions on improving line management leadership skills. The latest edition of the organisation’s “People Management” magazine also carries an article extolling the value of line managers.

CIPD’s reports are available through its website: More information from Clinical Professionals can be found at