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Hiring in a Post COVID World in the Biotechnology Sector

The field of biotechnology is comparatively a new one when juxtaposed with other more traditional professions. However, in just two centuries, biotechnology has solidified its place and even taken the lead in the race to solve many of humanity’s challenges, so much so that it has provided solutions in various areas, ranging from medicine to pharmacy, engineering, energy and agriculture.

The prospects are ever still on the increase as India, for instance, takes on a new 15-year roadmap in strategically placing some cutting-edge biotech professions to take the lead in the future of the country, due to their applications in health, sustainable living and the environment which are more or less a tip of the iceberg. Biotechnology is geared to play even more vital roles in the future than we have yet imagined.

This notwithstanding, the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic has left trend watchers and professionals asking – are things about to change for the profession? Will recruitments in the field of biotechnology change? If so, how does this affect the biotechnology professional especially regarding renumeration?

Why recruitments could increase

Increased Investment in Health Research

In spite of the pandemic, and indeed largely because of it, a lot of financial investment has gone into the biotechnology sector. This year alone, biotechnology companies raised a record sum of $15 billion. This is almost three times the amount raised in 2019. Other healthcare investments are also at all-time highs. This is so because we have come to greatly rely on scientific methods to solve problems in order to make life easier and the COVID-19 pandemic is not any different.

The rise in Covid-19 infections globally has also been matched with an increase in research and studies into how the virus functions and how vaccines as well as therapeutic options can be developed and made available to the public within the shortest possible time. As a result, recruiters in biotech have seen an increase in the already high demand for biotechnology professionals, with a growing headcount for biomedical engineers, bio manufacturing specialists, research scientists, among others.

Digital Hiring Adaptations

Initially, it was a challenge for biotechnology headhunters when the lockdown strategy was implemented in most parts of the world, as a means of curbing the rate of spread of the virus and many people were required to work from home where possible. As even the best recruiters in biotech found recruiting new workers during this period a problem, tech companies like Zoom, Google, Tencent and Microsoft were quick to see the problem and provided alternative options to meet this need. With the wide acceptance of Zoom, Microsoft team and Google hangout, business meetings and recruitments took on a whole new look. Millions of interviews were conducted on these platforms and hiring more health professionals to meet the pressing need was no longer a problem.

This, however, was not without its own challenges – a major concern of recruiters was having to do without certain tell-tale signs typically looked out for during in-person interviews and contributing to the general decision-making of the interviewers. The interviewees, on their part, were concerned with having to deal with possible distractions from their location as well as technical hitches. Regardless of these concerns, videoconferencing and online interviews have been a critical force driving the increased rate of hiring in biotechnology and indeed many other sectors.

In the last five years, two of which have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic, employees in the field of biotech have risen to about 316,796 with an addition of 39,000 new professionals. This shows that more people are considering and taking up a career in the field while many others already in it are going in for further educational studies to specialize in a biotechnology sub-field.

Salary prospects in Biotechnology

Working as a biotechnology professional comes with a lucrative financial package, thanks to these professionals being at the helm of affairs in some of the most significant and impactful scientific advances going on in today’s world. Even before Covid-19 happened, many biotechnology companies were hampered by the smallness of the talent pool and now the covid-19 problem has created an open market with an even higher demand for these professionals: biotechnology professionals with a master’s degree or a doctorate have no limit to their earning potentials with the increasing investments into this field. There is virtually no unemployment in the industry and with this demand comes a greater bargaining power when it comes to renumeration. In fact, due to a shortage of biotechnology professionals, many biotechnology firms have had to go extra miles to entice these talents especially for positions that need particular scientific skills. Higher wages, increased flexibility and other mouth-watering benefits like tuition re-imbursement are just a few examples as biotech talents are regularly beseeched with enquiries and offers to get them on board. As the Covid-19 vaccination coverage increases, many cities across the world are set to re-introduce in-office hours for 2 to 3days a week, allowing a greater balance of remote and in-persons work. It is certainly a new era and an exciting time for biotech professionals!

If you are considering a career in biotechnology, here are some of the specialties you may want to consider. These specialties have been selected based on their demand, employment and earning potential.

Bio-manufacturing specialist

These specialists leverage biological systems to create end products of medicine and industry such as the vaccines used in the fight against covid-19.

Biotechnology research scientist

The research scientists carry out laboratory experiments to determine the potential use and applications of their findings in solving health problems.

Biomedical engineer

Biotechnology is as much a biological science as it is engineering. This skill set is necessary in determining and evaluating equipment and tools for medical industries. It is predicted that this subfield will see a 4% increase in job growth by the year 2028.

Biochemist/Biophysicist

The knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of organic components holds the key to designing solutions to health problems. Biochemists and biophysicists apply this knowledge and findings learnt through observation and learning. They help to develop new drugs and vaccines used in pharmaceutics as well as other fields of biotechnology. A 6% growth is expected in this subfield by the year 2028.

In conclusion, covid-19 is only the most recent of global pandemics experienced in human history and more than ever – like all other problems that medical science has encountered – time, financial and human resources have been dedicated to finding solutions to this problem and this, by all indications, has made biotechnology a profession highly sought-after. The increasing financial investments into the field will also see that the professionals are well taken care of as noted in the ongoing upward trend in salary scales. Covid-19 has not stopped the recruiting, neither has it slowed down the process. If anything, it has shown us that there are ways to recruit biotechnology professionals other than the traditional, established methods.

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