Common wisdom is that the US job market is still trying to recover, but it looks like no one told that to the biopharmaceutical industry. With a tremendous number of job openings and only a few qualified candidates, the biopharmaceutical industry is facing thousands of dollars in lost revenue from unfilled positions. What can biopharmaceutical companies do to keep their hiring practices competitive and ensure that they are attracting the strongest and most qualified candidates?

A picture of what pharma hiring looks like in the USA this year

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What Positions Are Empty?

A key clinical staffing issue facing biopharmaceutical companies is that the job openings tend to be specific, not general. It’s relatively easy to find a general-purpose research scientist, but a drug safety professional, regulatory affairs professional, or clinical project manager can be significantly harder to find – and these are the precise jobs that are most in demand at biopharmaceutical companies right now, according to HR company Randstad US.

Hiring professionals with specific training in these areas is critical. The journal Applied Clinical Trials Online has an article highlighting the importance of skilled drug safety professionals for the success of clinical trials, and the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society clearly describes the importance of an experienced regulatory affairs professional who is up-to-date on government regulations.

How Can These Positions Be Filled?

With so many positions and so few highly qualified candidates, biopharmaceutical companies may despair of ever filling the gaps. This is particularly true for companies in areas with few highly qualified candidates.

Companies that are having trouble finding strong hires to fill out their ranks have several options available to them besides posting ads online. One tried-and-true method is to use an HR or headhunting group to seek out qualified candidates. Another is to fill in hiring gaps by outsourcing to clinical research organizations such as, who can help in the research and development of a variety of drugs, devices, and therapeutic methods. Social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn can also help employers find the best candidates for their jobs.

It’s difficult to fill hiring gaps in today’s biopharmaceutical industry, particularly with the level of specific, technical education and experience required. However, by using some creative hiring options, employers don’t have to limit themselves to job-hunting websites to bring the most qualified candidates to their doors.