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How Big Data Impacts Life Sciences Hiring

Posted on August 2018

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Pharma and biotech are digitizing.

Historically, natural resources have driven the global economy, what the OECD calls the “real wealth of nations”. However, this wealth-model has changed because for the first time in human history we can measure the details of our life at scale.  

What is big data?

The term ‘big data’ is used to describe extremely large sets of data that, due to their volume and complexity, traditional data processing techniques are inadequate to handle. Big data analytics can be used to reveal trends and patterns, especially relating to human behavior.

Big data is the new natural resource of our time and the tools to manage it — machine learning and blockchain — have become increasingly valuable.

The financial significance of big data might not be immediately apparent to non-statisticians. Put simply, more data means more accurate predictions. In the life sciences, big data means more accurate predictions about new molecular entities, which means higher revenue.

So how does big data affect life sciences hiring?

Big data skills give candidates a competitive edge - and bring challenges to companies searching for talent

Big data is valuable in the life sciences, but big data competencies are rare.  

Just like natural capital (e.g. natural resources, land, ecosystems) big data is often “undervalued and mismanaged”. This means savvy entrepreneurs who know how to extract sustainable value from the data stream have a competitive advantage in the new global marketplace.   

But, expertize in big data analytics is new, and these professionals are rare.

Furthermore, people with the capacity to solve immediate problems with big data likely evolved them outside of formal training programs. This makes it harder for companies to quantify their abilities in the recruitment process.

Life sciences professionals without big data skills risk getting overlooked

Understanding how to extract value from big data is becoming a new minimum competency for life sciences professionals. Most candidates for senior digital health positions in this sector spend two to three years in a top-tier consultancy/strategy house on completion of their Ph.D. before moving into the industry.

With this real-life experience, they truly understand the difference between data analytics (seeing trends in the data) and statistical analysis (determining if those trends are just noise). They may have even added machine learning and blockchain experience to their CV.

What does this mean for Life Sciences recruitment?

Ironically, the bottom line for pharma and biotech to implement cost-saving, digitized solutions is recruiting vetted human talent.

A good life sciences recruiter can take your team to the next level because they have the connections to chart up-and-coming real-word analytical talent.

When it comes to building a cutting-edge team, EPM Scientific has an extensive network across strategy houses, up-and-coming biotech startups, and institutional research departments. We are the total solution for companies looking to expand globally. With offices in Zurich, Berlin, Hong Kong, San Francisco, and more we can source specialized talent quickly, and reliably. We believe a candidate with niche competencies can provide a holistic solution to our clients if it’s the right overall fit.

EPM Scientific can source and secure the best talent because we have an unrivaled selection of both active and passive candidates in the hard sciences, computing, biotech, pharma and medicine sectors - as well as direct access to industry influencers that enable us to accurately anticipate recruitment needs.

The right candidate for the right team takes skill and timing. If you’re a hiring manager in pharma or biotech looking to extend your team with big data capacities, or you’re a consultant with big-data experience wishing to move into the industry, we can help you find the right fit.  


EPM Scientific is a leading specialist recruitment agency for the Life Sciences industry. We were founded in 2012 to give companies and candidates peace of mind that the recruitment process is in experts hands. Today, we provide contingency, retained search and project-based contract recruitment from our global hubs in London, Berlin, Switzerland, New York and Chicago.

We pride ourselves in keeping our professional network up-to-date with any changes that will shape the future of work or affect the hiring process. Visit our website to discover more invaluable insights, including exclusive research, salary guides and market trends.

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