Unexpected Skills Gaps and Recruiting Trends in the Health and Life Sciences Industry

by Thomas Zembacher in — June 2019
What set of capacities (networks, reputation), capabilities (potentials, skills, and human capital), and what mindsets will employees in Austria need in the future? Surprising results emerged in the Talentor Future lab.

Digitalisation, liquid work, new professions, and ever-faster cycles demand new solutions from HR and CEOs. Demands specific to each region will challenge that region’s workers. What mega-trends will influence developments in Austria? More importantly: how will organisations face the demands presented by these developments?

Health Life Science Recruiting

A New Problem-Solving Methodology

Together with the FASresearch Institute, Talentor Austria organised a Future Lab with 17 experts for a co-creation workshop. The two-step “Situation Room” process helped participants identify the biggest trends and weight them by importance and preparedness. After isolating the trends with high importance and low preparedness, the experts used an “analytic network process” (ANP) to compare the needed skills with the skillset of the existing workforce.

The Key Success Factor

The immense cost pressure in the healthcare industry has resulted in efficiency and savings programs as well as mergers and acquisitions. The importance of transforming ever-increasing amounts of data and information into useable concepts is increasing. Technology and social media are changing the ways that researchers, patients, and funders communicate and collaborate. Digital talents – and the ability of organisations to attract and keep them – are a key success factor.

The critical trends involve complex changes to the healthcare industry on the one hand and digital talents on the other. Organisations need to invest in recruiting and talent development.

Thomas Zembacher, Managing Director of Talentor Austria

An Immense Skills Gap – But Not Where You’d Expect

The ability to deal with complexity, agility and flexibility, and a healthy amount of self-reflection are the most important skills for the future. Organisations need employees who reduce complexity in volatile situations and make decisions with their own limitations in mind.

After a decision has been made, the next step is getting colleagues and management on board. This task demands teamwork and coordination skills. The same applies to relationship management with external stakeholders and clients. Social skills, customer-orientation, and negotiating skills are becoming more important than ever before.

Curious problem-solvers are able to acquire concrete technical skills. A data scientist who lacks cognitive agility and social skills will be ineffective in a world characterised by cost pressures and unwelcome surprises.

The Strategy for Future-Readiness

The study shows that the pharmaceutical workers of the future ought to focus on second-tier skills like cognitive agility, self-reflection, emotional intelligence, personal resilience, and active listening. These are the skills that experts in the healthcare industry find lacking in the current workforce. New recruiting processes can close the gap.