Top 4 Life Science Hiring Trends For 2018

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Top 4 Life Science Hiring Trends For 2018

By Taylor Ahearne | August 16, 2018

The life science industry is a powerful one. It provides opportunities for revolutionizing healthcare, promoting clean energy, researching endangered species and securing sustainable food supply. These are just a few examples of how the life sciences sector will have a major impact on how we (and future generations) live.

This year has brought some changes to the space that affects how you hire – or find – life science jobs. Read on to learn more.


It is no surprise that rapid technology development is leading the conversation when it comes to life science jobs. According to the “2018 Life Science Workforce Trends Report,” published by the Coalition of State Bioscience Institutes (CSBI), there are growing needs for technical expertise in the following areas:

IT functional areas, such as data analytics, bioinformatics, 3D printing, IT security, data quality/integrity and artificial intelligence (AI)

Life science-specific technologies, such as next-generation sequencing, stem cells technology, analytical chemistry, clinical development, drug delivery, aseptic processing, downstream processing and pharmacogenomics

Specialized engineering fields, such as automation, miniaturization of medical devices, process integration, downstream processing and CAD design


Pharmaceuticals is a major part of the life sciences sector. Moreover, international markets, including China, India, Brazil and Russia have been dubbed “pharmerging” markets. The increasing geriatric population and increasing healthcare expenditure in these countries are contributing to the growing interest. According to Grand View Research’s “Pharmerging Market Analysis by Product, by Industry,” the global pharmerging market size was valued at $548.3 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17.1 percent through 2025. So, candidates who are bilingual or have other international experience are highly valued in the space.


Partnerships with universities help build a good candidate base for future opportunities. Traditionally, the complaint about this strategy is that incentives between the industry and academic institutions are misaligned. So, life sciences companies are exploring innovative ways of partnering with colleges, including sending employees to participate in educational events on-campus and co-managing hybrid academic-industry labs. If the academic program aligns with the industry’s direction and companies’ goals, it is a win-win. Candidates are groomed to step right into in-demand jobs, and companies get exactly what they want. The CSBI report found that 82 percent of companies regularly offer internships, most commonly to college students, followed by graduate students and community college students.

Soft Skills

While education requirements and technical skills are a must for life science jobs, there is an increasing need for candidates to possess soft skills to be successful. According to the CSBI report, the top 10 soft skills listed in job postings for technical positions in the life sciences are:

  • Communication skills
  • Research
  • Writing
  • Quality assurance and control
  • Organizational skills
  • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • Problem-solving
  • Detail-oriented
  • Troubleshooting
  • Multitasking

The life sciences sector is not only responsible for breakthroughs in how we live on a daily basis, but it is also an economic driver. According to the CSBI report, the industry accounted for 1.73 million jobs in 85,000 companies last year. To get a piece of the pie and help fuel these advances, be sure you are keeping up with the trends in life sciences hiring.


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About the Author
Taylor Ahearne

Taylor Ahearne is a Life Sciences specialist focusing on the CMC & Tech Ops space for Pharma and Biotech. Taylor joined the recruitment industry in 2015 and has built a strong network of candidates and clients throughout the U.S. She primarily works with start-up / small companies, working closely with their leadership team to achieve hiring goals.

Taylor graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a B.S in Criminology and Criminal Justice. She is originally from the U.K. and spent five years in New York before relocating to Austin, TX with her Miniature Poodle, Lucky. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her enjoying some good food around Austin, or planning her next trip away…




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