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Life Sciences jobs flourishing in China’s emerging healthcare market

Updated: 14 Apr 2016

As major healthcare companies move all or part of their core R&D centres to China,  technical Life Sciences jobs are increasing, says recruiting expert Hays.


“Previously, multinational pharmaceutical companies used China as a base for production plants, but over the last 10 years a number of R&D centres have been established here as a way of gaining a foothold in the emerging China market,” says Simon Lance, Regional Director of Hays in China.


“Such China-based R&D centres support the global headquarters and enable firms to respond quickly to changes in local markets. As a result we expect to see increased demand for R&D professionals.”


But this is not the only area of talent demand within China’s life sciences market.


“Market Access specialists are also becoming more valued by pharmaceutical companies, and the likelihood is that this trend will play a more important role than brand marketing in relation to business growth and breakthroughs in the long term,” says Simon.


The recruiter also notes that new companies are looking to enter China's healthcare market whilst already existing companies want to introduce new products. A shift from relationship sales to healthcare data driven sales has seen increases in the functions that support this: clinical, medical and bio-statistics.


“Clinical Affairs candidates are needed to design, conduct and report on clinical and marketing studies, and interact closely with cross-functional departments, including research and development, medical affairs, quality, regulatory affairs and sales & marketing,” says Simon.


“Medical Affairs candidates are in high demand, and are a key component of a successful product launch and product promotion lifecycle. In the different trial phases, medical affairs play different roles but all contribute significantly on trial results.


“Finally, Biostatisticians are in high demand to develop and apply statistical methods to analyse data from research studies, not only in the drug development process, but also in epidemiology and health economics.”


According to Hays, the five Life Sciences skills in greatest demand are:


1.     Research and Development professionals – “We have witnessed a number of R&D centres established in Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park over the last 10 years,” says Simon. “The relocation of a growing number of Chinese Americans back to China is assisting communication between local markets and global headquarters. Following the software and chemical industries, pharmaceutical R&D is the mostly likely sector to experience aggressive growth in China.”


2.     Market Access specialists “Market Access is the extension of the Government Affairs function, which includes pricing, reimbursement, listing (NRDL, PRDL), HEOR and government relations. Many MNCs have segmented their MA team into various sub-functions such as external accounts (key government stakeholders) management teams, pricing and policy analysis, MA strategy development, business partnerships and communication. Thus the demand for suitable candidates in high.”


3.     Clinical Affairs – “This function provides clinical guidance for product development, clinical representation to regulatory agencies, and clinical evidence to support marketing approval of company products. As a result, it plays an important role in the licensing and marketing of a pharmaceutical company’s products.”


4.     Medical Affairs – “These candidates prepare scientific articles, abstracts and posters to provide information to build a sound process covering study protocols, marketing promotion documents, sales collateral and training materials. They also listen to the requirements from the market directly, align the feedback of physicians and patients to drug development, and ultimately launch the valuable drugs to society. In this function, medical communication teams (consisting of medical publications/writing and medical information) and medical affairs teams (consisting of medical science liaison / MSL and medical advisors) are all critical and essential for business.”


5.     Biostatistics – “In the clinical trials process, biostatisticians play critical roles in designing clinical studies. They formulate the scientific questions, guide clinical data collection procedures and adopt suitable sampling techniques. This is done to conduct the statistical analysis in order to find patterns in data, and form an answer based on honest evidence. In the epidemiology or health economics fields, Biostatisticians are also sought to prepare research material for comparison and publication.”


For the full list of skills in demand, please view our Hays Quarterly Hotspots.


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


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About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.


Hays Specialist Recruitment  (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing.


Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company with more than 7,840 staff operating from 239 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms.


Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.