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China’s growing healthcare industry ups demand for medical affairs experts

Updated: 14 Apr 2016

Growth in China’s healthcare industry is creating new jobs in medical affairs and portfolio program management, says recruiting expert Hays Life Sciences.      

In its latest Hays Quarterly Report for July to September 2015, the recruiter says Medical Affairs roles are becoming increasingly popular in China with a particular focus on the Medical Science Liaison function. 

“Medical Affairs professionals act as the central focal point for therapy area expertise for both sales and marketing, and clinical research,” explains Simon Lance, Managing Director of Hays in China. “In addition to demand from pharmaceutical companies, clinical research organisations (CROs) are also offering the services of Medical Science Liaisons to their clients, which is driving up demand for these candidates.   

We have also recently seen the creation of a new area of responsibility known as portfolio program managementPortfolio Program Managers play a central role in evaluating which established products are suitable for the Chinese market and then drive any product launch plans.  

“They act as the program lead to connect all the departments and key stakeholders involved in the product launch both in China and overseas. They will work with Biostatisticians as well as the Clinical Development, Clinical Operations and Regulatory Affairs departments.” 

According to Hays, this will be an area of strong hiring activity over the quarter and to be successful, candidates must have outstanding communication skills. “Excellent English language skills as well as proven relationship development and stakeholder management skills are needed,” says Simon. 

“Regulatory Affairs roles are also in high demand and candidates remain in short supply. These roles also play a key role in evaluating products from other countries to decide which ones should be licensed in China. It is still a fairly new function but is in increasing demand. As previously reported, hiring from overseas is not a solution for Chinese companies, as candidates must have a good knowledge of how to work with local authorities.”  

Meanwhile R&D hiring remains busy. “In this area employers are increasingly looking to hire from overseas especially when sourcing Biostatisticians with a PhD earned from a reputable overseas academic institution. In addition, Clinical Development candidates with specific therapeutic experience are in particular demand. 

“In an interesting trend we are seeing is that more expat Chinese candidates are considering returning home to take advantage of the career opportunities available here,” says Simon. 

For more insights on the skills in demand, see our Hays Quarterly Report.  

In China Hays operates from four local offices: Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. 

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people. 

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