Life sciences industry in search of niche talent

The life sciences industry is in search of niche talent for specialised roles. Workforce company Kelly Services, solutions a leading workforce company said that there is an increasing demand of skilled and talented work-force in India.

In its first ever Life Science Xchange 2014 Thought Leadership Summit in Mumbai, Kelly Services provided an open platform for business leaders and academia to discuss advancement of life sciences in India along with future trends and best practices in the sector.

The event was partnered in association with KellyOCG (Outsourcing and Consulting Group) and Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE).

Christopher P. Jock VP and Practice Leader of Kelly OCG – STEM Group Head said that is an appropriate platform to offer clients and future investors understand the growth opportunity India has in terms of the life sciences space which will further fuel the staffing industry in the country in a big way.

Kelly Services has a dedicated KSR (Kelly Scientific Resources) team which works towards providing work-force solutions across verticals such as Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Specialty Chemicals/Chemicals, Agro Seeds and Life Sciences segment.

Thammaiah BN, Director, Kelly Scientific and IT Resources explained that India is one of the top five emerging pharma markets and that this exemplifies the tremendous growth opportunities that the sector has in India.

“We are hopeful that the improved alignment between academia and skills in demand will help in strengthening India’s position as a leading pharma market for potential foreign investors and partners alike,” he said.

With respect to the new skill set in the market, he added that this included regulatory affairs in the pharma sector, innovation and tech transfer, medical chemist and specialist with quality assurance and quality control at global level, over and above areas like clinical research.

Though experts said that it is easier to retain talent in this segment from a global perspective since scientific researchers and other employees in the sector do not have a tendency to switch jobs at a fast pace, Thammaiah said that it is also very important to have talent engagement strategies in play in order to retain talent.

On the education courses as well, he said that there are not too many courses in the life sciences space in India to lessen the skill gap.

“Educations systems have to become flexible and companies have to become forthcoming and be in constant touch of the educational institute to inform them of the key skills in demand which will help them to mold there course accordingly,” he said.

However, the government biotech programmes like Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme are said to have increased collaboration between government and companies. Apart from helping in creating jobs, Kelly Services officials also added that this helps in swift set of technology and boosts entrepreneurship.

At present, corporates have taken up various initiatives to boost pharma education and research. Cipla’s chairman Yusuf Hamied has announced a donation of Rs 8 crore for the promotion of chemistry education in India.

The funds will go towards supporting advanced chemistry education in India with a tie-up with Britain based Royal Society of Chemistry, which has been dedicated to the advancement of Chemical Sciences.

This would equip 8,000 teachers with skills to deliver chemistry lessons, pass their knowledge to colleagues and provide 1,600 brightest students with places at chemistry camps to motivate them to study the subject at university over the next five years.

Similarly, Biocon Ltd has its Biocon Academy – a Center of Excellence for Advanced Learning in Applied Biosciences. Further, Reliance Institute of Life Sciences (RILS), established and nurtured by Reliance Life Sciences (RLS), is an institution dedicated to providing postgraduate, doctoral research and continuing education programs in various domains of life sciences and related technologies.