How to get a headstart in hiring for pharma companies in 2021?

There are plenty of reasons why you should continue hiring over the festive period and implementing a strong strategy could put you in the spotlight for the coming year. Various pharma companies are in latter stages of clinical development, coupled with hundreds of new products with approvals anticipated in 2021 and beyond. This happens to be a level of pharmaceutical production that has not occurred for about a decade given the pandemic.

Globally, 75% of hiring managers we spoke to are still actively hiring now and 70% still claim to struggle in finding the right talent, according to our recent Client Insights Survey. According to Monster, drugs and pharmaceutical industry sales are projected to grow 5.1% annually to 2020, whilst worldwide sales will reach the trillion dollar mark, signifying a very positive outlook for the coming year.

As such, we spoke to our team in Singapore to find out what are the top 5 sectors that are hiring actively across specialist, manager, and director positions:

  • Health Economics & Market Access
  • Government Affairs
  • Quality Assurance
  • Medical Affairs
  • Regulatory Affairs

Which markets have the highest potential for growth in 2021?

  • Supply Chain and Manufacturing

Pharma companies have to face the challenges looming from supply chain security lapses to avoid infiltration of counterfeit drugs. This is especially crucial in times of a pandemic where time management to supply vaccines are on a tight deadline. Apart from having an end-to-end visibility and traceability within the supply chain, an effective serialisation program is also key to carve a competitive advantage for pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, this leads to an increase of job vacancies in the following areas where talent are needed:

  1. Regional Supply Chain Analyst
  2. Supply Chain Director
  3. Procurement Manager
  • Regulatory Affairs

With greater digitalisation, it has enhanced operational efficiency and facilitated adherence to standard operating procedures. This is a trend that will continue, causing an uptake in demand for regulatory compliance. This helps to improve transparency in the sector by mitigating the loss of data.

Top talent in demand within this space include:

  1. Regional Regulatory Affairs Manager
  2. Regulatory Affairs Manager
  3. Regulatory Affairs Lead
  • Medical Devices

Reported by KPMG, the medical devices market is poised for steady growth, with global annual sales forecast to rise by over 5% a year and reach nearly US$800 billion by 2030. These projections reflect increasing demand for innovative new devices like wearables and services like health data, as lifestyle diseases become more prevalent, and economic development unlocks the huge potential in emerging markets – particularly China and APAC.

Some top talent that are demand right now within medical devices include:

  1. Product Manager
  2. Regional Sales Leader
  3. Medical Science Liaison


Recruitment will continue to play a significant role in every organisation’s business strategy. In the coming decade, talent acquisition, retention and upskilling will drive the success of business transformation. If you are looking for talent within these spaces, below are tips on how to survive the festive slowdown.


  1. Don’t underestimate the power of networking with recruiters

Establishing a relationship with a recruiter or recruiters before people go on leave for the holidays sets you up for a productive start in the New Year. This will save you time come January searching for a relevant recruiter who knows your market.

Also, contrary to popular belief, not all recruiters are slowing down their recruiting processes as soon as it hits December. Many are working right up until the break trying to help their clients with any last minute requests.

Never underestimate the power of reaching out and networking – you never know where or who it might lead you to!


  1. Revisit your organisation’s selling points to candidates

Did you know that according to LinkedIn Talent Solutions Blog, job searches have increased by 60% and applications have doubled this year especially for remote work? Now that more people have experienced the benefits of working remotely, they want the option, especially while the pandemic is still going on. Working from home is less stigmatised now — people have gotten used to cats in webcams and kids interrupting important meetings. In addition, many companies have increased their remote roles, so jobseekers are naturally discovering and applying to more of them.

With this in mind, it makes sense that you should actively relook at selling points of your company over the festive period. If your company is still facing a hiring freeze or you are in a situation where recruiters are on leave, start off by being proactive in relooking at your hiring strategy for 2021 and beyond. Taking into account the high demand for growth within the pharma and life sciences space in the current pandemic, along with a potential vaccine distribution, it makes sense not to completely take the holidays off in terms of ramping up your hiring strategy.


  1. Secure the best talent to stay ahead of your competitors

While many would think that keeping motivated throughout the Christmas holidays is a difficult practice to follow through, this is not always the case. Many job seekers in the market do put in the extra effort required to secure a new role over the festive period. You should use this to your advantage and be proactive by networking with recruiters and scheduling interviews earlier than your competitors prior to that January rush, when competition is rife.

January is one of the busiest times for job hunting, with many people coming back after Christmas with a ‘’New Year, New Job’’ mentality. Take this chance to get ahead of the crowd and start looking out for talent early. You are more than likely to be the first few to receive an update when business resumes as usual in January.


Don’t stop reaching out to us!

Keep in touch with us to further discover how the pharma, biotech and medical devices sectors are unfolding, and how roles are evolving. Contact us via the form below and our team will be in touch to share with you the latest hiring trends that will ensure your business stays competitive in the market. For more industry-related insights, please follow us on LinkedIn.


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