If you’re in the biotech industry in Boston, you couldn’t be in a better place. Well, technically the whole state of Massachusetts is the place to be, but we’re a little biased towards the capital. In fact, Massachusetts, and more specifically, the Boston metropolitan area, has surpassed California and is now the top biotech hub in the world by the metric of a total number of people employed in the industry.
The Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation’s (MassBioEd) most recent job trends forecast reported some encouraging statistics for those currently in or thinking of joining the industry.
Explosive Growth Predicted to Continue
According to MassBioEd’s summary, the industry exceeded 70,000 jobs for the first time and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
- Since 2014, the Massachusetts life sciences industry has grown at approximately double the rate of both the state and U.S. economies.
- The total amount of job listings exceeded 27,700 in 2017. Of those, over 16,000 were STEM/Technical positions.
- The Massachusetts biotech sector will add almost 12,000 new jobs by 2023.
- Eighty-three percent of life sciences companies reported plans to expand their headcount in the next 12 months.
Growing Pains are Unavoidable?
Rapid growth will inevitably pose several challenges to the industry, including:
- Longer recruitment cycles: 65 percent of organizations surveyed reported that the average time it took to fill an opening was over 10 weeks; compared to the national average, which is only about 30 days.
- Clinical research was named by 31 percent of companies surveyed as the hardest area to find qualified candidates in, followed by openings in Regulatory Affairs, Quality, and Research & Development roles—which also happen to be the top four areas that life sciences organizations plan to expand. This means that recruiting candidates to fill these roles is going to quickly become even more challenging.
- Job openings requiring an Associate’s Degree and Ph.D. saw much higher levels of growth in demand compared to supply.
- Colleges and universities have improved somewhat, but are still struggling to produce a sufficient number of graduates to fill entry-level positions for certain types of roles.
- Specialization in these positions means that new workers cannot simply be poached from another industry or sector.
- Twenty-nine percent of companies said that they had formal diversity initiatives—for either gender or race/ethnicity—at the contributor level, 28 percent at the management level and 17 percent at the board level.
- Sixty percent of companies reported that they had no formal diversity initiatives.
Largest Life Science Companies in Massachusetts
The Boston area is home to almost 1,000 biotech companies, including both pharma giants and small startups. According to the Boston Business Journal, these are the top five largest life science companies in the state of Massachusetts as of August 2018:
||Total 2017 Revenue
||Company’s Main Product/Service Focus
50 Binney St.
Cambridge, MA 02142sanofi.com
||Specialty care, primary care, vaccines and consumer health care
300 Shire Way
Lexington, MA 02421shire.com
||Therapeutic areas including immunology, hematology, neuroscience, genetic diseases, internal medicine, ophthalmics and oncology
|Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.
40 Landsdowne St.
Cambridge, MA 02139takeda.com
||Oncology, gastroenterology, CNS and vaccines
225 Binney St.
Cambridge, MA 02142biogen.com
||Therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases
181 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139novartis.com
||Broad range of medicines for a variety of diseases/conditions
The bottom line? Biotech is booming in Boston.
And if you’re a biotech recruiter, don’t be surprised if it takes a little longer to fill all of your vacant positions. Sci.bio is here to help make that process smoother when you decide to outsource your recruiting efforts.
5 Steps to get your career started in the Pharmaceuticals & Biotech Industry!
There are many recent graduates that are entering pharmaceuticals and biotech workforce every year. Embarking on a new journey and opening a new chapter of your life can be challenging and overwhelming… this is completely normal and you are NOT alone.
Finding a job and kick starting your career is no easy task. It involves hard work, research, commitment and patience. Here are 5 steps to jump start your career!
Customize your resume
Many headhunters and pharmaceutical recruiters today use applicant tracking systems to scan resumes for keywords. This means that if you do not have specific job related keywords built into your resume you may never receive this opportunity.
In order to set yourself up for success it is important to edit your resume to incorporate specific job description keywords into your resume. Take a look at the job requirements and required skills and align your resume to match keywords within these two sections.
Check job postings daily
In order to put yourself in the best position for a job – try and check biotech or pharmaceutical opportunities daily and apply to a job within the first 48 hours after it’s posted. To get into a good routine, start off your day by searching for new job openings each morning. There are different job boards that allow you to set up daily notification based on a custom search that best fits your interests, qualifications and location.
If you have specific companies in mind that you are looking to join follow them on social to make sure you are staying on top of all career opportunity updates.
Use your network
Most colleges maintain an online alumni database that grads can use to get contact information. Other medical colleges set up different graduate programs to assist in career building and education.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your high school or college network. Utilize these connections to learn more about a specific industry or about a particular company.
NOTE: When contacting alumni you are reaching out for information and/or advice. It’s important to remember you are not reaching out to land a job right away. Instead, if the alumni is local, ask to meet up for coffee to chat about questions that you have prepared. Always be organized, professional and appreciative of their time.
You may not have a job just yet – but it’s important to understand what’s going on in “your” field. Making sure you are always up to speed on industry related news could be important in future interviews or once you actually start a job. Join different social groups, read different online publications or blogs, be active on social media channels.
Expanding your knowledge will only help you with you future career search!
To actually get the job you will need to have a great interview. In order to put yourself in the best position you should be prepared. If you research common interview questions and prepare ahead of time this will give you the confidence you need when these questions come up.
Make sure you research the company and do your homework. Have questions prepared, read the company’s website, follow them on social media and make sure you are doing your due diligence on all ends.
The advent of online job board and e-applications in the early to mid 2000s all but killed the cover letter. The impersonal nature of applying online for pharmaceutical or biopharma positions led many to believe that cover letters did not improve or enhance a person’s hireability or them an edge in landing a job. However, the cover letter is making something of a comeback in today’s highly competitive job market.
Pharmaceutical recruiters and biotech headhunters have begun to read cover letters again because in today’s fast -paced business environment. Hiring decisions must be made carefully and quickly. To that point, job applicants who actually take time to carefully read job descriptions and craft cover letters to introduce themselves to biotech & pharmaceutical recruiters are likely to be more qualified and interested in the jobs that they are applying than those those who simply attach a resume to an e-mail message and hit the send button. Also, cover letters offer candidates opportunities to make a strong first impression but injecting some of their personality into a job application.
So, what should a strong cover letter contain? Besides including keywords (taken from the job descriptions) and action rather than verbs, job candidates ought to infuse cover letters with engaging and memorable dialog. Also, applicants must include descriptions of their skill sets, career goals and previous experience that may help to differentiate them from the hundreds of other people who may have applied for a particular job. For example, rather than writing “I’m writing to apply for the open position at your company” try offering something like ” My name is ____ and I’m looking for a change. After that opening, then explain why your background, skill sets and career focus are in line with the company’s needs that were outlined in the job description. Biopharma head hunters pore over hundreds of job applications and tend to remember the ones that stand out.
There is no doubt that writing new cover letters time consuming and often difficult. It is much easier to just hit the send button because you may believe that volume will trump quality. That said, pharmaceutical recruiting firms and biotech head hunters no longer have the job to carefully evaluate potentially qualified job applicants. These days they are looking for any edge to quickly identify and separate right fit candidate from the thousands of job applications that they receive. Remember: taking time at the front end of the job application process will often pay off with success on the backend!
Until next time,
Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!
In the Biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, it takes more than a big salary to attract, and keep, better candidates.
A successful pharmaceuticals recruiting strategy is essential when it comes to finding more, and better, candidates. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But finding a candidate with the skills that fit current vacancies and who also aligns with corporate culture can be a challenge. Nothing feels better than getting it right. And nothing seems more frustrating when it doesn’t. Unsuccessful placements impact morale and are costly to the company.
And while there isn’t a secret formula that can guarantee every placement will be a success, you can stack the odds in your favor. Enjoy successful placements with these tips for finding more, and better, candidates.
A Better Job Description for A Better Candidate
When you need to find better candidates, you need to start with the job description; it’s critical to your success. By taking the time to craft a detailed, attention-grabbing job description you’ll see more, and better, candidates send in their applications come across your desk. And a job description that contains relevant job-specific terminology and speaks the language of biotech and pharmaceutical job seekers will help attract top professionals.
Painless Application Process
One-touch applications, from a mobile device, is one convenience that you can’t afford to overlook. Want top technical talent? Then you’ll need to advertise you’re relevant and up-to-date with technology as well, and nothing says that better – or easier – than a mobile application process. When the biopharma recruiting process is mobile-friendly, you’ll not only let job seekers know you’re on trend, but you’ll attract more and better millennial candidates.
Good on The Job? Or Just Good During the Interview?
There’s a big difference between acing the interview and excelling on the job. Did a candidate sail through the initial screening with ease and get top marks in the interview? That’s great, but it doesn’t always mean that will translate into job success. Taking a little extra effort to evaluate technical skills and abilities will help you differentiate between candidates who not only stood out during the interview process but who will also be top performers in the role.
If you’re not using social media as a regular part of your pharmaceutical recruiting process, you’re missing out on talent. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are all outstanding resources when it comes to finding better candidates. With social media, you can
- promote current and upcoming vacancies,
- reach passive candidates who might not be actively searching for new jobs,
- reach a wider audience than just posting on your company’s job board,
- gain insight into whether a candidate will align with a company’s corporate culture.
And best of all, social media is free for both recruiters and job seekers to use.
With a little attention to these tips, you’ll be attracting more, and better, pharmaceuticals and biotech candidates than you ever expected.