The process of hunting for recruits can be a struggle for many companies, particularly when they have an ideal candidate in mind. And many at times, for the life science/biotech industry, due to the highly competitive landscape – for both recruiters and job seekers – hiring has been made more difficult. While some believe that this is because the talent pool is drying up, in healthcare and pharma, this is thought to be because professionals who possess the skills to thrive in the life science sector, are already employed.
This is certainly good news for employees in the industry, especially at a time of unsteady global unemployment rates during an economic slowdown, where unemployment is projected to increase by 3 million this year. But this poses a challenge for companies looking for skilled staff to join their teams. Moreover, tracking down these candidates can be a laborious process, particularly for startups that don’t necessarily have dedicated teams built to recruit, but are in need of employees.
This is where recruitment firms come into the picture. Today, many firms are cropping up, to aid healthcare companies that have their hands full, in making those decisions. Although concerns like cost may dissuade companies from teaming up with a recruitment firm to hire their candidates, these biotech recruiters are said to be successful at attracting passive candidates who may be employed but are open to new opportunities.
Labiotech has created a list of ten recruiters in the biotech space, who were nominated by our readers, based on their expertise in recruiting within the life science industry.
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Adam Butler, founder of Mason Harding
Committed to recruiting potential employees in the life sciences industry, Mason Harding was founded by Adam Butler last year. Having worked with recruitment firm Charlton Morris for nine years, Butler is a clinical science graduate who has made his mark in the field of consultancy.
With a particular interest in genomics, diagnostics, drug discovery and artificial intelligence among other areas in healthcare, Mason Harding supports professionals who are seeking roles across different sectors within the industry, be it executive roles, to posts in research and development to marketing and legal teams.
Based in Leeds in the U.K., the biotech recruiter offers their client services to life science companies regardless of whether they are a multinational or an early-stage startup looking to expand their crew. For its clientele, Mason Harding first holds a briefing consultation to get an idea of the company’s ideal candidate. Following this, companies are able to choose from recruitment models that include both budget-friendly options, and for those looking for specialist or confidential hires. The recruitment agency then presents customers with a variety of portfolios to choose from, and collaborates with the companies until they’ve onboarded the recruits.
Amber Penrose, founder at Moxee
Based in the U.K., Moxee is a key biotech recruiter for sectors like multi omics, gene editing, bioinformatics and drug discovery. With a goal to help startups expand their labor force, as many are left to fend for themselves because hiring companies tend to partner with multinationals on projects – although now this environment is changing – Moxee’s clientele comprises startups looking for worthy candidates.
The company offers a variety of services including consultancy, wherein startups are advised on how to go about their hiring spree without necessarily outsourcing the task to Moxee or any other recruitment company. Moxee also conducts executive searches for companies hunting for highly qualified individuals to fill in senior-level positions.
Founder of Moxee, Amber Penrose launched the company to focus solely on life science startups, as they make up a majority of the industry. Prior to setting up Moxee, Penrose has experience working with other executive-search-based companies as a consultant, and has a degree in Accounting and Finance.
Andrew Davis, managing director at Walker Cole International
With 16 years of experience scouting talent in the U.K., U.S. and Asia Pacific regions, Andrew Davis specializes in recruiting individuals for the life science industry. With a portfolio as a recruitment director, having been with two recruitment agencies prior to Walker Cole International, Davis’ area of expertise lies in the pharmaceutical, biologics, cell and gene therapy, and consumer goods sectors.
Davis’ company, which is headquartered in London in the U.K., aims to direct companies that need to find skilled individuals who can take on executive roles at pharmaceuticals. Moreover, the company offers interim solutions for companies looking to onboard recruits on temporary contracts. In this line of work, Walker Cole International has previously collaborated on a U.K. government-backed COVID-19 project for a pharmaceutical company acquiring a new facility. It has also partnered with organizations on various projects that involved building a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) steering committee, for companies seeking FDA approval.
Eylem Demir Senturk, founder and CEO of Women on Stage
Often described as an old boys’ club, it has long been established that there is a gender gap where women make up only 28% of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce. Eylem Demir Senturk, founder of Women on Stage, aims to dismantle this system through recruitment drives run by her company.
Focused on hiring women for biotech roles, the company launched the ‘Sponsoring Women’ program, where women applying for positions in the biotech industry are given training to advance in their career. The potential recruits are coached on how to improve their visibility as a candidate, by optimizing their LinkedIn accounts and their resumes. Then, they are matched with a sponsor who guides them through the process, be it starting fresh at a new company, taking on a leadership role, or even expanding their network.
Based in Basel in Switzerland, Senturk founded the company in 2020 to spotlight women entrepreneurs to gain traction as well as for prospective employees to be able to grab opportunities in their fields.
Heidrick & Struggles
Founded in 1953, Heidrick & Struggles has made its name as a notable headhunting agency having led major searches in Silicon Valley in California, over the years. And its role in scouting life science leaders has been crucial to its success.
Clients that range from established pharmaceutical companies to early-stage biotechs looking to advance their drug candidates, Heidrick & Struggles aims to serve companies in different stages of their life cycle. In biopharma, in particular, the organization performs talent assessment and helps with CEO onboarding , to assist companies in their pursuit of professionals to build their teams.
Julian Turner, senior director of Regulatory Recruitment at Turner Regulatory Recruitment
Today, most pharmaceutical and food tech companies have a wing that oversees the safety and efficacy of their products to ensure public health, known as regulatory affairs. Turner Regulatory Recruitment in the U.K., specializes in sourcing candidates for companies looking to fill up roles in this sector. Headed by Julian Turner, who began his regulatory recruitment career in 2005, the company banks on Turner’s decades of headhunting experience to match multinational companies like U.S.-based pharmaceuticals BioMarin, Amgen, Swiss company Roche, and Australian biotech CSL, to suitable candidates.
Having placed over 600 candidates, the company not only aids pharma companies, but also job seekers looking to seize career opportunities in the world of regulatory affairs. Turner Regulatory Recruitment works with the clients’ senior management, human resources and talent acquisition teams to recognize who their model candidate would be, before they go on to create a roster of at least ten candidates to select from.
Karolina Jarosinska and Monika Kozdron-Sikorska, managing director and managing partner at ExecMind
For discovering scientific talent as well as in executive search, Polish recruitment firm ExecMind, specializes in biotech and artificial intelligence in medtech recruitments in Europe and the U.S.. The company aims to match professionals with the technical expertise who can drive the growth of a life science company to said companies looking to hire specific candidates.
Karolina Jarosinska, who is the founder and managing director at ExecMind, understands the nitty gritties of the industry, having been a recruiter for 18 years. She is a member of the Life Science Cluster in Krakow, where she promotes the biopharma and medtech communities to be represented internationally.
As the managing partner at ExecMind, Monika Kozdron-Sikorska has had over two decades of experience within the specialty chemicals and life science industry. Her areas of expertise include business development and corporate management. At ExecMind, she looks to connect researchers to companies seeking life science experts.
Oliver Drew, managing director of Executive Search at Skills Alliance
Based in London and San Francisco, Oliver Drew is the co-lead of Skills Alliance’s Global Executive Search division. Drew leads the C-suite recruitments, and is responsible for refining the company’s hiring strategy, and in market mapping and candidate assessment, to analyze the talent pool.
With over six years of expertise at Skills Alliance as well as at the recruitment firm Esade International, the specific branches within life science that Drew currently focuses on are biopharma, animal health, medical device and agrotech. The company Skills Alliance deals with hiring people for a range of positions like in drug discovery, clinical research, quality assurance and validation, technical operations and manufacturing, drug safety as well as human resources, finance and legal teams. Founded nearly two decades ago, Skills Alliance aims to deliver talent acquisition solutions through its recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) and managed service provider (MSP) partnerships.
Spencer Knight, senior business consultant of Cell & Gene Therapy at Charlton Morris
Centered on discovering talented professionals within the field of cell and gene therapy, Spencer Knight is a senior business consultant specializing in recruitments within the cell and gene therapy sector, at Charlton Morris.
Having had success in taking on the hiring process for early-stage biotechs that include those that are in their pre-seed stages to series C level startups, Knight has been recommended by various biotech companies as a recruiter with a vast knowledge of the cell and gene therapy industry.
At Charlton Morris, cell and gene therapy is one of many fields that the company has experience reviewing candidates for. Additionally, the Leeds-based company, which was established a decade ago, conducts mentorship programs for young people who are trying to break into the job market, which can be quite taxing for those with little experience. The Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB) Apprenticeship Scheme is a bootcamp for those particularly in need of a job, to improve their chances at being employed. These programs are held through rounds of fundraising, and volunteering.
Tom Froggatt, CEO at Singular
With experience in recruiting for pharma and biotech companies dating back to 2006, Tom Froggatt previously specialized in the placement of managing directors and C-suite executives in clinical development, as well as guided consultants through recruitment processes and strategic planning. He is currently the CEO at Singular, a Cardiff-based biotech industry recruitment agency.
His recruitment firm aims to improve retention of candidates for client biotechs. The process begins with setting up a growth strategy session, to understand the company’s requirements better. Singular then either takes over the hiring process or aims to equip its customers with the skills to efficiently recruit candidates.
Froggatt believes that in a highly specialized sector like biotech, it is no longer enough to simply post an advert to secure applicants, as many companies are racing to attract and retain the ideal candidate. He thinks that by having a thorough business strategy for recruiting professionals, it can place the companies ahead of their competitors seeking to fill up similar positions.
For further information on recruiting in the biotech sector, we invite you to read our article: “How to Hire and Retain Talent in the Biotech Industry.”