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How to Get a Job in Biotech in 2023

Compared to 2022,  87% more biopharmas laid off staff in just the first quarter of 2023.

This has led to a large amount of experienced biotechnology professionals returning to the job market, heightening competition and the importance of a well-considered job search strategy.

While the biotechnology market is still turbulent, it remains fundamental to driving the UK government’s life science strategy and is a key growth area to the overall economy. 

Over 2023, biotechnology organisations stand to benefit from R&D tax reliefs to improve cost-efficiencies, as well as newly revised clinical trial regulations which are set to reframe the UK as a location of choice for global biotechnology organisations and investors.

In this article, I’ll explore 3 key ways biotechnology professionals can leverage their experience to drive better career outcomes through the biotech industry’s period of transformation this year.

Read on to learn more about:

  • The importance of specialisation
  • Managing the shift back to on-site work
  • How to stay ahead of the curve as a candidate

The importance of specialisation

While ongoing investment challenges are making it harder for biotech businesses to fund new research, patents on several blockbuster drugs are set to expire in 2023. This creates the dual issue of both balancing innovation with controlling costs; spurring leaders to de-prioritise early-stage drug discovery in preference of investing in getting products that are almost fully developed to market.

To accomplish this, biotechnology research teams need specialised talent to fuel progress fast in specific research projects. 

Tapping into this as a candidate means identifying exactly what sort of specialism you’re interested in. Then, highlight specific experience that you have that aligns to role requirements and overall industry trends.

Working with an experienced recruiter who can support and link you with the opportunities that best align with your professional history can help accelerate this process. 

As organisations across biotech become leaner and more streamlined, recruitment consultants can help feedback wider therapeutic trends and help link you with a company that meets your specialist ability. 

Managing the shift back to onsite work

Our latest survey revealed that 14% of scientific candidates are looking for a new role to find a ‘flexible working’ environment.

Post-COVID, flexible working has become increasingly important to scientific professionals, even in more on-site based positions. However, in many cases this can prove challenging across biotech, particularly for laboratory based roles and in start-ups or smaller biotech organisations where in-person collaboration is vital in smaller teams. 

Finding a job in today’s job market where you’re likely to be competing with a large number of experienced professionals due to the layoffs means staying flexible in terms of on-site work.

However, while many employers are looking for full-time on-site employees, others are opening up opportunities to adapt working hours to improve work-life balance – negotiating this through the interview process and in collaboration with an experienced recruiter can help ensure that the working environment you receive suits you as much as possible.

How to stay ahead of the curve as a candidate

Staying ahead of the competition and navigating the ever-changing biotech environment means investing in networking and building up your online presence as well as proactively tailoring your development in well-funded therapeutic areas.

According to Thermofisher Scientific, the top 5 therapeutic areas in 2023’s development pipelines are:

  1. Hematology
  2. Oncology
  3. Rare diseases
  4. Immunology
  5. Rheumatology

Building a network as a candidate in today’s business world is heavily linked with establishing an online presence on platforms like LinkedIn.

Having very few connections on LinkedIn can make it harder for recruiters to find your profile, due to the way searching works via LinkedIn Recruiter. It’s important to try to build a network of co-workers past and present. This could include researchers, collaborators, mentors, people who were on your course at university, and even friends. 

You don’t necessarily need to add hundreds of people immediately, especially if you’re just starting out in your career, but slowly building this up as your career progresses can ensure you stay linked with opportunities and trends as they emerge. 

As you build this network, you can ask colleagues, managers, clients or even academic supervisors to write you a recommendation. While recommendations aren’t essential, they can boost your credibility to employers. You can send people a message asking for a LinkedIn recommendation on the “Recommendations” section of your LinkedIn profile. When asking for these I’d be mindful not to pressure or pester people. It’s also important to note that if you ask your current managers for recommendations, they may suspect that you’re looking for other work.

Find your next role in biotech with SRG

SRG have been connecting talented science professionals with rewarding careers across the biotech industry for the past 30 years. Our talented recruitment consultants can help you meet your potential, and find your next opportunity.


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About the author: Ben Brown specialises in developing adaptive solutions for the recruitment and resourcing challenges faced by companies working across the clinical sector. Having spent several years collaborating in the set up and development of a new life science recruitment business venture managing clinical research, medical affairs and regulatory affairs divisions, Ben has a proven track record in business development working across the wider life science industry including Pharmas, CROs, emerging Biotechs, CDMOs and FMCGs. Ben specialises in placing a wide range of roles within drug development including; Clinical Operations, Medical Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, Data and Commercial Operations and Research and Development. Click here to connect with Ben on Linkedin

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