The Biggest Threat Facing Biopharmaceutical CEOs

Nick Blum
January 31, 2017
What do biopharmaceutical CEOs see as one of the biggest threats to their growth strategies? Talent gaps. Just as these companies shifted from winning with the best scientists to winning through the best partnerships, an analogous shift is taking place with how they view talent. Decades ago, biopharmaceutical leaders recognized that to further discovery, development, manufacturing, and even sales, they needed to find the right external contract partners. Industry leaders are now applying a similar mentality to business talent management, looking externally and working differently to stay agile in an increasingly competitive market.

Work is Changing

Gone is the ‘one job for life’ mentality. Increasingly, top talent is seeking a more fluid approach to work, prioritizing flexibility and balance in the workplace over company loyalty. While this change is taking place, there is still a need for a highly-skilled workforce in the industry. PwC found that 60% of biopharmaceutical executives are planning to increase investment in a more skilled workforce. But how do they accomplish this as a growing portion of this workforce is taking an entrepreneurial approach to their careers seeking out more flexible ways to work?

The On-Demand Workforce

Today, a new agile workforce is taking shape— and industry leaders are rethinking the way they structure and engage their workforce. The talent pool itself has gone global, which increases options for those in the hiring seat. In this borderless environment, enterprises and individuals are connecting and exchanging ideas in ways that were never before possible. Fast-moving biopharmaceutical companies are proving that a culture of collective empowerment and experimentation is critical to remaining competitive. To unleash the potential of their brands, biopharmaceutical companies are looking outward rather than inward—to a growing body of independent professionals.

Winning with a Flexible Model

Taking advantage of on-demand work allows companies to be agile and efficient, driving better outcomes by accessing the right skill-set exactly when needed. The ability for biopharmaceutical companies to scale up and down through accessing talent for project-based work is becoming a key differentiator for companies that are seeking rapid growth and innovation at a lower cost.  However, to be successful with this new model, companies will need to configure policies and procedures for smoothly making independent workers core to the company’s operating model. In Catalant’s most recent whitepaper, "The Agile Workforce: How New Talent Models Help Life Sciences Companies Compete” we examined the rise of independent workers, the role of digital platforms in accessing and optimizing this new talent pool and, perhaps most importantly, the steps that organizations need to take to fully benefit from an on-demand workforce. To enable a new way of working, biopharmaceutical companies must take a rigorous approach to accessing and managing independent talent. This involves shifts across five key areas: planning and budgeting, procurement and legal, technology, human resources, and training. Organizations that focus on systematically moving to this new world of work will have a competitive advantage over their slower moving peers through new ideas, new growth opportunities, and new efficiencies. ___ sixty percent: "How New Talent Models Help Life Sciences Companies Compete"
Featured in: Workforce Flexibility

About the Author

Nick Blum

Nick Blum leads the healthcare practice at Catalant Technologies, an innovative human capital software solution that matches top business expertise with enterprises to address needs efficiently and in real-time. Catalant has built a global network of more than 30,000 independent experts, boutique firms, and custom teams, as well as best-in-class software tools for engaging and managing this market. Based in Boston, Catalant serves thousands of clients, including nearly 10% of the Fortune 1000. Before joining Catalant, Blum was a Vice President at Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) where he led client engagements and commercial activities across a variety of industry verticals. He also led APT’s San Francisco office, with responsibilities for project staffing, recruiting, personnel development, and office operations. Prior to APT, Blum was a consultant at Monitor Group and received an MBA from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.

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