Operating under its parent company Kelly Services, Kelly Scientific Resources is the world's largest scientific staffing agency. Alan Edwards, vice-president and product leader of its Americas Product Group, Science, explains how keeping abreast of changing trends within the pharmaceutical industry can facilitate a seamless recruitment process for clients and employees.
In line with increasing levels of drug development, the pharmaceutical industry is undergoing a period of transition. No longer monopolised by large conglomerates, smaller entities are now seeing a considerable share of general revenue.
In recent years, the market has also become more flexible, with employment positions being found on a temporary or contingent basis across the entire supply chain, from the preclinical and manufacturing, to sales and marketing. As a result, a seamless recruitment process has become paramount when it comes to filling positions efficiently and ensuring that the employee fits the ethos and image of the respective company.
Consequently, Kelly Scientific Resources has adapted its workforce solutions. While employing approximately 8,500 scientific professionals in a range of temporary, contract and permanent positions, predominantly in North America and Europe, it has also expanded into the more specialised fields of R&D, clinical, IT and engineering.
"We do a variety of things," says Alan Edwards, vice-president and product leader of Kelly's Americas Product Group, Science. "Looking at recent developments within the pharmaceutical environment, companies are looking to the likes of Kelly to provide talent in a staged deployment. This means that talent is used when and how they need it."
Given pharma's recent period of robustness and dynamism, Kelly has honed an ear-to-the-ground approach in sizing up market trends so it can provide customised solutions. "In the US, in particular, there are not enough scientists to fill the number of job openings out there," says Edwards.
"We have to make sure that we are well-integrated within the scientific communities on a local and global scale." Edwards also alludes to versatilability™, a criterion that underpins Kelly's approach to the recruitment process.
Using its team of consultants and managers, most of whom hail from scientific backgrounds, this refers to the need for candidates to have a mix of ability and readiness in order to ensure productivity within the workplace from the outset.
"Today, companies are no longer willing to hire someone and then train them up for six months," he says. "Over the last year, we have heard more and more clients talking about an ingrained understanding of the cultural fit as being essential to the recruitment process.
"We take the pulse of the company and assess its culture and what types of individuals would fit in; for example, a biotech environment can be very different compared with a classic pharmaceutical company as it has a very different mindset and resources to work with. It's not just a case of someone walking through the door and saying, 'Here I am'; employees need to have soft skills, too."
These soft skills pertain to how candidates function as an individual as well as in a team; a great deal of emphasis is now placed on sourcing employees who hold the right balance of technological know-how and communicative attributes.
"This the biggest issue for people coming out of academia and going into the workplace," says Edwards. "Employees need to be able to understand how to mix their technical skills with soft attributes, which are necessary in the societal culture of companies today."
Looking to the future, Edwards sees Kelly's competitive edge continuing to lie in its ability to tailor its services to industry trends, while developing strong partnerships with clients.
"Currently, demand in the marketplace is greater than supply," he says. "This is causing people to do things differently; for example, the 25-30 year career job doesn't really exist in our society anymore.
"Most jobs are temporary, therefore we are starting to look more at strategic and transactional work across locations and companies, because this is the preference for a lot of employees these days. You also have to partner with companies in a way that you have never done before by becoming part of the network model and the supply chain."
A company's success is ultimately the result of hiring, mobilising and guiding exceptional people' - and nowhere is this more true than in the life sciences environment, where skilled scientific' professionals drive tomorrow's innovations. That's why your company needs staffing firm' Kelly Scientific Resources to put you in touch with the best professionals in their field.
Kelly Scientific Resources is the leading scientific and' clinical trials staffing company in the world. It' employs more than 7,000 scientific professionals' every day, working in contract and full-time positions across' North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. The company has' spent years developing a reliable reputation, an expansive' network of scientific professionals and a skilled team of' scientific recruiters, to attract the most highly qualified talent.
This staffing firm brings companies the best of both worlds:' international reach with customised, quality service at the' local level. It is dedicated exclusively to building on its' expertise, identifying and placing qualified science' professionals across a broad spectrum of life sciences' disciplines, including:
During the coming months, as the world emerges slowly from the' global recession, companies will have to face the challenge of' ramping up their workforce in order to adapt to improving economic' conditions, while also observing their bottom lines.
This delicate balance of labour costs and talent requirements' has traditionally been achieved through the use of contingent' workers. Although this strategy is considered a viable way to' control costs in a post-recession environment, organisations' around the world are now discovering additional benefits by' tapping into a growing pool of highly skilled temporary workers.
Life sciences companies, in particular, are witnessing a' fundamental shift in the way the industry assembles specialised' teams of workers for specific projects, and then disengages or' reassigns them. Employers are looking for the best talent and' the most effective results to attain business objectives as' quickly and efficiently as possible.
Many organisations today are now forgoing traditional' business models to develop creative staffing strategies, such' as increasing their contingent workforce relative to the' augmentation of their full-time employee base. Skilled' contractors have long provided temporary project support in' many companies, but many employers are beginning to' recognise the benefits of maintaining a permanent contingent' workforce in tandem with traditional full-time permanent' positions. Transferring full-time positions to contingent-based' talent is an emerging trend, and rapidly gaining momentum.
Kelly's goal is to enhance greatly its customers' overall' ability to remain versatile, in order to accommodate their' demands for a more flexible workforce that can adapt to any' environment. Every company's success over time has hinged' on its capacity to identify and respond to changes quickly,' with minimal disruption to operations or profit. By improving' its customers' 'versatilability', the firm in turn helps to' mitigate many of their related workforce challenges.
Life sciences organisations have been looking for innovative' approaches to lessen the structural costs that are duplicated' in pharmaceutical and biotech industries . and a more fluid' temporary workforce business model is one solution. Many' are seeking alternative ways to work together and create' solutions to get products to market more quickly and less' expensively. Workforce versatilability can significantly shorten' the go-to-market cycle.
Contract work is rapidly becoming a more popular choice' for workers and employers, so it is essential for companies' to have a strategy in place for developing and managing a' temporary workforce as a vital part of their overall labour pool.
As today's life sciences workforce and economic environment' grow increasingly complex, organisations that adopt flexible,' cutting-edge solutions will have a distinct competitive' advantage in adapting to the transformation.