How Can Life Sciences Recruitment Agencies Help Internal Talent Acquisition Teams?

8-9 Minutes

In the Life Sciences sector, where success is measured by innovation and scientific breakthr...

By Emily Davies

Senior Content Writer

In the Life Sciences sector, where success is measured by innovation and scientific breakthroughs, finding the right talent is vital. For internal talent acquisition teams operating within this competitive, fast-paced sector, attracting and retaining top candidates is key to sustained prosperity. However, various Life Sciences recruitment challenges are making it increasingly hard for TA teams to attract the talent that their organizations require.  

Forging a close relationship with external recruitment agencies is an effective method of overcoming these sector-wide hiring hurdles. Although internal talent acquisition teams possess an in-depth knowledge of their firm’s culture and hiring needs, recruitment agencies can offer a wealth of industry expertise, an extensive talent network, and time-saving admin services. 

In this blog, we’ll take a detailed look at the challenges that talent acquisition departments face in the Life Sciences sector and explore the ways in which recruiters can support these teams. 

What Are the Challenges Facing TA Teams in Life Sciences?

The Life Sciences sector is currently undergoing a period of transformation, largely driven by trends such as the advancement of state-of-the-art technology, aging populations, and personalized medicine. These era-defining trends are having a knock-on effect on recruitment within the industry, with businesses finding it increasingly difficult to recruit the right professionals for all-important Life Sciences jobs. 

Internal talent acquisition teams are having to navigate an ever-more competitive landscape, with many businesses vying for the same limited pool of candidates. A recent survey of Life Sciences businesses in the north of England revealed that 45% of employers find it difficult to fill roles with qualified applicants, while 30% claimed that there were too few applicants

Given that research from the UK government projects that 133,000 extra Life Sciences jobs need to be filled by 2030, it is clear that companies must go the extra mile to attract and retain the talent they need to drive innovation and sustained success. So, what are the issues that are preventing talent acquisition teams from hiring high-quality candidates? 

Here are the four of the most common recruitment challenges internal talent acquisition teams face: 


1.    Fierce Competition For Candidates

With so many Life Sciences companies competing for exceptional talent, securing the brightest and best candidates can be difficult. The rising demand for qualified Life Sciences professionals has also driven up salary expectations, making it even more challenging for organizations to attract high-caliber candidates. With the high demand for Life Sciences talent outpacing supply, talent acquisition teams may not be able to fill critical roles within a reasonable time frame. 

2.    Evolving Skill Requirements

With the advancement of cutting-edge technology, a shifting market landscape, and evolving workplace expectations shaping the Life Sciences sector, it is unsurprising that candidate requirements are also changing. It’s not uncommon for talent acquisition teams to struggle with keeping up with this rapid pace of change, making it hard to select the most suitable candidates. 

3.    Time-Consuming Hiring Process

The Life Sciences sector is subject to a wide array of complex regulations, and ensuring compliance can lead to talent acquisition teams having to conduct elongated hiring processes. Regulations around medical devices, clinical trials, and the use of AI can result in lengthy, multi-layered recruitment procedures. Speed matters in the Life Sciences job market and promising candidates may be discouraged from applying.

4.    Talent Retention

It’s no secret that the Life Sciences sector is currently experiencing a talent retention crisis. Keeping valuable employees requires competitive compensation and benefits, career development opportunities, and a positive work environment that fosters engagement and motivation. However, owing to limited budgets, many Life Sciences firms may not be able to offer these benefits, thereby missing out on high-quality candidates. 

Although these problems will likely persist for the foreseeable future, there are actions that Life Sciences companies can take to overcome sector-wide recruitment challenges. If you work within a talent acquisition team that is struggling to attract and retain top talent, find solutions in our How to Overcome Skill Shortages in Life Sciences Recruitment guide. 

5 Ways External Life Sciences Recruiters Can Support TA Teams

As we explored in the previous section, there are various challenges the talent acquisition teams in the Life Sciences sector have to contend with. From above-average staff turnover rates to excessively bureaucratic recruitment processes, there are various issues that undermine the recruitment efforts of pharmaceutical, biotech, MedTech, and healthcare communications businesses. Yet, by pursuing the right strategies, companies can avoid these common pitfalls and recruit the ideal candidates for their Life Sciences jobs. 

There are many strategies talent acquisition teams can implement to attract and retain outstanding candidates, from strengthening their employer brands to fostering an inclusive workplace culture. However, one strategy in particular has emerged as an especially effective option - collaborating with Life Sciences recruitment agencies

Here, we’ll explore the top five ways external recruiters can support internal talent acquisition teams: 

1.    Industry Insights and Market Knowledge

While TA teams boast exceptional knowledge of their business’ hiring needs, calling on outside expertise during patchy recruitment periods can be particularly advantageous. 

That’s because Life Sciences recruiters typically possess a highly specialized knowledge of the sector, with a solid understanding of trends, regulations, and the niche skill sets required for certain roles. They can provide talent acquisition departments with invaluable industry insights that help them understand the unique challenges and requirements involved in filling critical Life Sciences jobs. 

External recruiters routinely gather market intelligence regarding the shifts and fluctuations in the Life Sciences job market. From their extensive research, they can identify pivotal hiring trends, conduct insightful competitor analysis, and discover the latest salary benchmarks. By collaborating with recruiters from outside your organization, you’ll be able to utilize this key information to make data-driven decisions about hiring strategies, compensation offerings, and talent retention initiatives. 

2.    Streamlined Candidate Screening

As we alluded to earlier, a lengthy recruitment process is one of the most significant factors contributing to the Life Sciences sector’s below-average talent retention levels. According to one study, 60% of candidates claim to have quit an application process because it was too long. In a sector like Life Sciences, where swift hiring practices are key for securing top talent, talent acquisition teams must take action to avoid unnecessarily time-consuming recruitment procedures. 

A useful method of speeding up hiring time is to streamline candidate screening. Although there are plenty of effective strategies your talent acquisition team could adopt to achieve this, hiring an external agency to perform this task for you may be your best option. This streamlined approach not only accelerates the hiring timeline but also ensures that the most qualified individuals are identified and engaged in a timely manner, helping organizations to fill critical roles faster and maintain a competitive edge.

3.    Access to a Wider Pool of Talent

Owing to ongoing skills shortages in the Life Sciences sector, talent acquisition teams often experience difficulties recruiting the talent their organizations require. By partnering with external recruitment agencies, talent acquisition teams can gain access to a much larger pool of potential candidates. That’s because the vast talent networks that agencies have access to typically include active job-seekers as well as high-quality professionals who may not be diligently seeking new opportunities. 

Rather than just sourcing candidates through traditional job boards, agencies forge long-lasting relationships with professionals who may not be actively seeking new Life Sciences jobs at the moment but will be open to them in the future. These individuals are known as passive candidates, and given that 70% of the global workforce is passive, building relationships with agencies that can provide access to this extensive pool of candidates can be extremely advantageous to talent acquisition teams.  

4.    Support with Employer Branding  

The importance of employer branding in relation to talent attraction and retention cannot be understated. Research shows that 84% of job-seekers consider an employer’s brand identity before applying for a role with them, so it is understandable that so many Life Sciences firms are implementing strategies to bolster their employer branding. 

Although there are several methods talent acquisition teams can employ to improve their firm’s branding internally, calling on the expertise of a recruitment agency can often be a more effective alternative. 

Here are the key ways external recruitment agencies can support internal talent acquisition  teams with their employer branding efforts: 

  • Employer Branding Assessments

Before deciding how to support talent acquisition teams, recruitment companies will evaluate your current employer branding strategy, identifying strengths and areas for improvement. 

These assessments provide important insights into how businesses can enhance their brand identity to stand out from the ever-intensifying competition from rival Life Sciences companies. 

  • Social Media Management

Talent Acquisition teams can hire recruitment agencies to manage their social media profiles, ensuring that they align with your desired brand identity. 

Recruiters often have expertise in leveraging platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and X (formally Twitter) to attract exceptional talent and promote an organization’s online presence. 

  • Candidate Experience Improvement

Providing an elevated candidate experience is crucial for Life Sciences teams looking to retain high-caliber professionals. External recruiters can be instrumental in enhancing candidate experiences at their clients’ companies by ensuring personalized interactions, helping candidates prepare for interviews, and using cutting-edge technology for efficient communication. 

  • Providing Ongoing Feedback

External recruitment agencies are often tasked with evaluating the employer branding efforts of their clients’ talent acquisition teams, offering support and feedback where required. They monitor key metrics like candidate satisfaction ratings and employer brand perception scores to pinpoint areas where strategies need to be refined. 

5.    Enhanced Diversity and Inclusion

One of the most significant challenges the Life Sciences sector faces is a lack of diversity. According to a report by the BioIndustry Association, there are notable diversity gaps across demographics and management levels throughout the industry, highlighting that there is a distinct absence of employees of color. 

Extensive research demonstrates the inextricable link between higher diversity levels and improved rates of talent attraction, with one study revealing that diverse companies attract 73% more top talent. 

By enlisting the support of a Life Sciences recruitment agency, talent acquisition teams can overcome this key challenge and ensure that their workforce is representative of all communities. There are numerous ways external recruiters can aid their clients in boosting levels of diversity and inclusion, including: 

  • Conducting Unbiased Screening Processes

External recruitment agencies can help talent acquisition teams implement hiring processes that reduce bias and enhance fairness. They utilize various techniques to accomplish this, including blind resume screening and standardized assessment criteria. 

  • Diverse Candidate Sourcing

Recruiters can also help talent acquisition teams improve representation by conducting diverse candidate sourcing. They can prioritize identifying and reaching out to candidates from underrepresented groups by tapping into platforms and communities that diverse job-seekers engage with. 

  • Providing Diversity Training For TA Teams

With an in-depth understanding of diversity in the Life Sciences sector, external recruiters can assist talent acquisition teams in learning more about best practices for diverse recruitment. They can offer insights into attracting and recruiting diverse talent, the business case for greater diversity levels, and helping diversity initiatives align with overall goals. 

  • Measuring Diversity Metrics

There are numerous metrics that can shed light on a company’s diverse strategies. Recruiters can monitor various indicators that evaluate the impact of diversity measures, including candidate demographics, retention rates, and hiring ratios. 


Navigating the challenges of talent acquisition in the Life Sciences sector requires strategies and approaches that go beyond traditional recruitment methods. While internal teams possess deep knowledge of company culture and needs, external recruitment agencies can bring an array of advantages to the table, including market-leading industry expertise, access to a wider pool of high-quality candidates, and quicker hiring processes. 

By connecting with a Life Sciences recruitment agency, your company will be well-equipped to combat common recruitment issues, access the best and brightest candidates, and gain a competitive advantage over rival businesses. Whether you are seeking ambitious graduates or accomplished scientists, leveraging the services of an external recruitment agency (just like Meet!) is a forward-thinking strategy that is sure to yield excellent outcomes for your talent acquisition team - the proof is in the pudding!  

Want to learn more about how we can support your unique hiring needs? Get in touch with us today for more insight, reports and case studies.

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