Life sciences employers focus on entrepreneurial spirit and innovative capability in recruitment

Updated: 17 May 2016


Life sciences candidates with entrepreneurial spirit and innovative capability will be in high demand as start-ups scramble for talent to support their accelerating growth in China.

According to recruiting experts Hays, small businesses in the life sciences sector are focusing on soft skills, seeking candidates with the ability to operate independently with minimal guidance.

“Life sciences will continue to be a fast-expanding sector in China as the central government encourages the production of high-quality products to improve the health of its people,” says Simon Lance, Managing Director of Hays in China. “As start-ups speed up their expansion and innovation, candidates who demonstrate independence and initiative are primary targets.”

In its latest Quarterly Report for April to June 2016, Hays found that start-ups in life sciences actively seek professionals to contribute to their growth while large multinational firms seek highly-skilled candidates for replacement needs.

“We are seeing strong demand from start-ups because they hope to accelerate the pace of research and development,” says Simon. “Entrepreneurial candidates who inspire teammates to work hard are well received by employers.”

Hays also found that Business Development Directors and Managers are still in high demand in this quarter due to an overall short supply of qualified candidates on the market.

“Talent is scarce and quality candidates rare assets strongly sought after by companies,” says Simon. “We also see high demand for clinical pharmacology professionals. Start-ups are also interested in candidates with experience at multinational companies because they understand the complexities of the market.”

In terms of candidate trends, returning Chinese talents from overseas are expecting higher than average salaries amid belief that the booming life sciences sector in China has already attracted cash-rich and powerful institutions.

“Chinese returnees are elevating their salary expectations as they know that employers are willing to pay a premium for their expertise. Companies seek to enlist their help to deepen research and boost their tech-transfer process,” says Simon. “The shortage of qualified talent on the market has meant that companies have needed to increase their budgets in order to attract professionals with overseas experience.”

Simon adds that there has been particular interest in attracting returning Chinese Biology Research Directors

“A good education background, proficiency in English and knowledge of the global business arena make returnees the choice of preference for Chinese employers,” says Simon. “Biostatisticians are also highly sought after to support drug development.”

To read the full Hays Quarterly Report, including candidate and employer trends and future issues, please visit

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

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About Hays
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2015 the Group employed 9,420 staff operating from 248 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2015:

– the Group reported net fees of £764.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £164.1 million;
– the Group placed around 63,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 200,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 23% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 41% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 36% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 58% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 42% of net fees;
– 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

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