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The top life sciences skills you need in 2021

Caroline O’Sullivan our consultant managing the role
Published on 7 January 2021
Science Industry Partnership (SIP) published the Life Sciences 2030 Skills Strategy, a report that illustrates that the industry is on track to create 133,000 jobs this decade. Among the most in-demand jobs are epidemiologists, microbiology analysts, compliance officers, clinical laboratory technicians and genetic counsellors. In fact, the FDA anticipated that 2020 would mark a turning point for gene and cell therapies, predicting that 200 new applications would be submitted.

All signs point to a promising future for life sciences but how can the workforce ensure they grow with the industry? Here a few of the top life sciences skills you need in 2021:


Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of technology, bringing digital skills firmly under the spotlight. New PwC research shows that 61% of workers believe technology is positively changing their daily tasks and 77% are enthusiastic to gain new skills if it would help their career. Despite an eagerness to learn, companies haven’t been shy about the widening digital skills gap within their workforce.

With life sciences companies leveraging AI and CRM information to inform their sales strategies and aid their goal of becoming more agile, hiring managers are looking for candidates with expertise in data science, AI, machine learning and automation - the key digital skills noted in the SIP Skills Strategy. Therefore, candidates who are looking for a new job in the new year can stand out from the competition by honing their digital skills, integrating them with their traditional skills and keeping pace with the latest technological advances.


Life sciences companies are increasingly looking for candidates with eCommerce experience and, more importantly, those who can use this experience to direct their digital strategies. In 2021 and beyond, the industry’s goal is to empower companies to design scalable business models and to push the boundaries of research, clinical trials, pharmacovigilance and public health. Therefore, the news that the British government wants to boost spending on R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 was welcomed by life sciences companies, who see this is not only as a way to advance life-changing treatments, but a necessary measure to attract more candidates. Funding will be prioritised to ‘industries of the future’ and there is no denying that life sciences has earnt itself this title, among industries like ICT and renewable energy.
So how can life sciences employees with experience in eCommerce make the most of the changing recruitment landscape and secure their next job? There are no longer the same geographical barriers when it comes to job applications and candidates can take advantage of the working from revolution by widening their search.


2020 was a huge shake-up for businesses, delivering challenges that leaders have met head-on. While life sciences might not have experienced the transition to remote working in the same way as other industries, leaders will still have heard the call for a more flexible way of working. The demand for communication skills has been overtaken by the need for empathy and where emotional intelligence was fast becoming a core skill within leaders, emotional agility has crept its way to the top.

Strong leadership has never been more in-demand and it provides a prime example of a transferrable skill that is needed in every industry. In
the last decade in life sciences the skills gap has widened and life sciences companies are becoming more aware of the value of transferrable skills, recognising the benefit in supporting the mobility of employees between sectors. Therefore, as leadership skills continue to prove themselves essential to businesses navigating 2021, hiring managers will shift their focus away from industry-specific experience and towards leadership skills, like empathy and emotional agility.

Contact our life sciences division for help finding your next job

At Quanta, we’ve been providing recruitment support to the life sciences sector since 2002. Our life sciences division started its journey in Europe, expanding across North America and Asia over the last two decades and establishing our global presence. No matter how many years’ experience you have in life sciences, or if you have a background in an alternative industry, we can help. Contact us to speak to a member of the team or begin the job search and find your next life sciences job with Quanta.