The shift of focus to COVID-19 related products and services coupled with significant disruptions to supply chain and logistics has put many life sciences organisations in Singapore on the backfoot amidst ongoing economic uncertainty. But despite this, the outlook for the sector remains buoyant and well financed, with more big players and investors making their entrance into the local market to capitalise on the access, stability and business support the city offers. This has resulted in measured yet optimistic hiring across the industry, led by the R&D and engineering functions. The rising trend for roles within molecular genomics has also continued at a steady pace but while poised for growth in the years to come, the space remains acutely talent short.

Organisations change focus to pandemic response

These are some of the findings from The Inside Story of Singapore , a monthly regional recruitment analysis undertaken by global recruitment expert Hays. Focusing on the life sciences sector, the analysis found that the COVID-19 crisis has forced many organisations to adjust to disruptions within the shortest time available, causing some to struggle to find their footing in the present competitive landscape. This has led to more companies shifting their focus towards products, services, facilities and distribution channels that can aid in the pandemic response. Commercial sales functions within the life sciences have been amongst the most impacted by the pandemic, owing to the lack of access and demand for salespeople.

Growth continues despite challenges

But while organisations may not be expanding their teams at this time, they are still holding up their current team strengths, leading to a steady demand for replacement hiring. There has also been hiring demand from new entrants in the market and businesses looking to expand their Asian presence owing to Singapore’s reputation of being a hub for innovation and R&D. Major players like Dyson, for example, are adding skilled engineering talent to Singapore’s limited talent pool. There are an increasing number of medical device companies who are now broadening their hiring criteria to take advantage of this. Additionally, the job market is showing a mid-year recovery as more businesses get back on track with their annual hiring and expansion plans. Life science investment companies also continue to set up shop in Singapore.

Organisations face a candidate rich but talent short market

Despite increasing opportunities, the life sciences candidate market remains talent short. The increasing number of redundancies in the market has also led to an influx of candidates who may not necessarily be the right fit. Organisations at this time are thus receiving an excessive volume of CVs for existing vacancies, from both relevant and irrelevant candidates, which translates into significantly more time required for HR or talent acquisition teams to shortlist a potential candidate. This trend has led to more organisations exploring working with external agencies to hire in this challenging market.

Grant Torrens, Regional Director of Hays Singapore commented, “While the life sciences sector is certainly seeing its share of challenges, Singapore’s stable economy and regulatory environment are strong indicators of a bright future ahead. Taking into consideration the ongoing pandemic-led instability as well as talent crunch in the sector, organisations looking to hire top talent are advised to broaden their hiring criteria to take full advantage of the current candidate market. They can also strengthen their talent attraction strategies by focusing their energies on improving their employer branding and offering low-cost yet high-value benefits like flexible and remote working, focusing on productivity (rather than hours) and promoting work-life balance.”

To read the full Inside Story of Life Sciences in Singapore, please click here 


About Hays Singapore

Hays Specialist Recruitment Pte Ltd, Singapore ("Hays Singapore") is one of Singapore's leading recruitment companies in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions.

Hays has been in Singapore for over a decade and boasts a track record of success and growth. We operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanent, temporary and contracting positions in more than 15 different specialisms, including Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Digital Technology, Engineering, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Life Sciences, Marketing & Digital, Office Professionals, Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales. Hays Singapore was named the “Best Small Workplace” in Singapore in 2019 and 2018 and was ranked fourth “Best Multinational Workplace” in Asia 2020 by Great Place to Work®.

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2019 the Group employed 11,600 staff operating from 266 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2019:

the Group reported net fees of £1,129.7 billion and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £248.8 million;

the Group placed around 81,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 254,000 people into temporary assignments;

18% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 32% in Rest of World (RoW);

the temporary placement business represented 57% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 43% of net fees;

Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA