Does no industry experience mean zero experience?

With an aging population and one of the world’s lowest birth rates, Japan’s local talent pool only seems to be getting smaller. While efforts are made to increase the foreign workers by loosening the restrictions on visa by the Japanese government, the current focus for that is more on unskilled workers. This is mainly because of an increasing demand for construction workers in preparation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As a result, the shortage of highly-skilled professionals still remains as the gap between supply of job opportunities and talent increases.

Normative ways of hiring within the industry is thus beginning to change and hiring managers now look to employ ‘industry changers’ – people from other industries.

While it really depends on the role and the particular needs of the business, hiring purely industry professionals can sometimes do your company more harm than good – limiting room for innovation and hindering growth. Thus, Japanese firms need to be aware of the benefits of hiring beyond the industry and embrace the opportunities of what these differences can bring.

Below are the top 3 reasons why an individual with no industry-related expertise should be hired:

1. They are more likely to think outside the box

Someone with no industry experience is less likely to be jaded and can often bring innovative ideas to the table. They are not bound by the same industry expectations as those with a huge amount of relevant experience. For sectors like banking and financial services who are tapping onto innovation for growth, recruiting talents from the tech industry would be highly beneficial.

Currently, financial institutions and pharmaceutical firms are beginning to shift their business focus to become more 'agile' and customer-centric, given the strong competition from technology firms. Hiring from the tech sector would add value to organisations who are seeking to adopt innovative ways of thinking and bring new ideas from individuals who are totally new to your field. Organisations would also have the opportunity to tap onto their technological know-hows which can support marketing and digital teams that are growing within the company.

Tech experts are trained in problem-solving and banks or pharmaceutical firms alike would be able to tap onto them to manage new challenges better, spanning across various functions such as software engineering, data, architecture, and cybersecurity.

2. Transferrable skill sets can value-add to your organisation

One of the biggest benefits of tapping onto talents outside of your industry is the transferable skillsets they can bring. While highly specialised industries like pharma is one that is difficult to break into without experience and expertise, a field that possesses the highest adaptability skills is the sales and marketing function. This is because of the nature of its function and how they are required to work very closely alongside different departments in the business.

Being more agile, open-minded and adaptable, marketing specialists for instance can apply their good communication skills and cultural sensitivity to adapt to new environments. In any industry, marketing specialists work across departments to accomplish their goals. Specifically for the pharma industry, marketing teams liaise closely with the Research and Development (R&D) team. The R&D team assists them in identifying the specific technicalities and drug components that are of high demand. They will then refine strategies that the organisation would use to promote specific healthcare packages, develop promotional materials, and strengthen its brand management.

This is similar to how a marketing specialist would function in a bank where they work closely with the management team to identify what form of marketing works and what doesn’t depending on their target audience. Tailoring the service to the evolving preferences and behaviours of its customers, banks and pharma firms alike can reap cost savings in product and operational costs with the right marketing strategy in place by marketing specialists who may or may not come from the same industry.

Hence, the skillset needed to effectively work across departments to derive the best marketing strategy is very likely to be transferrable and applicable to any company or industry that is looking to enhance the firm’s branding.

3. Widening your network

Having a network that is limited to your profession can sometimes limit your business options, and even hinder the future growth of your company. Widening your network is a great way to meet new potential employees and even new business partners.

In order to facilitate and foster greater relations beyond your industry, yourself and secondly your company should be receptive and open to candidates who can bring value-added skills to the business. An alternative solution would be to forge partnerships with tech firms and start-ups. Drug-makers such as Novartis, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk for example have teamed up with major technology players like Google and IBM Watson Health to match big data record-sifting with cutting-edge patient-monitoring gadgetry. This helps your organisation close in on the skills gaps and save cost on hiring as talents become an increasingly scarce resource.

Considering the option to hire outside of your industry?

Overall, pharmaceutical and healthcare organisations in Japan would need to open itself up to more talents who may or may not have the industry knowledge to sustain its competitiveness in the long run. If you’d like to find out more on how hiring beyond your industry can benefit your industry, or if you are looking to hire industry changers, please contact us by email. Our market-specialist consultants are able to advise you about your particular situation. Alternatively, do follow our LinkedIn page for more industry updates.

 

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