Professionals in the life science sector in Singapore are expected to become increasingly well-rounded as industry requirements evolve. Across the industry, salaries are expected to increase by 3 – 5 per cent in 2016, with bonuses averaging between 1 to 2 months.
Candidates in the biotechnology industry with the capability to transition into commercial roles will continue to see the highest demand. These professionals typically possess strong technical capabilities, as well as the understanding and ability to demonstrate clearly what their products can do. They also have a high capacity to empathise with the end user, making them strong technical sales people.
Johari Masod, Associate Director for Life Science at Randstad Singapore noted, “Candidates with the technical capability to fully understand these sophisticated products will usually be equipped with an MSc or PhD level of education. In addition to having technical knowledge, companies are also seeking talent who possess strong interpersonal, communication and business development skills. These candidates are difficult to source and highly sought-after by all employers in the biotech industry.”
Research & Development (R&D) across the life science industries is also seeing a growth in demand for scientists who are able to work across multiple disciplines such as chemistry, biology, semi-conductors, infocommunications and IT. In particular, there is an increasing demand for scientists with biochemical and tech experience.
“Developing, for example, new diagnostics equipment, no longer just relies on making products that are accurate, reliable, easy to use and cheap to run. Scientists must have the ability to innovate and develop tools that also have additional functions, such as capabilities for big data collection and IoT (Internet of Things),” added Masod.
With countries in the region stepping up their R&D and manufacturing capabilities in the life science industry, we see companies slowly moving some clinical development projects out of Singapore to these markets in a bid to reduce costs, particularly in the areas of patient recruitment and healthcare. As such, we anticipate more and more entry level and junior clinical research roles will gradually be phased out over the next few years.
Despite this trend, candidates in sales, especially those with regional experience working in emerging countries, will continue to be in high demand. Additionally, with new tech hubs being set up around Southeast Asia, talent who can optimise operations in the region for R&D, supply chain and corporate support functions, will be increasingly sought-after in the near future.
Employers looking to increase productivity should look at targeting staff turnover. Candidates in the life science industry tend to have the desired technical pre-requisites that are often highly sought after, hence, increasing staff retention rates will be crucial in maintaining high productivity.