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We must win the battle for talent!

In the old days, the major pharmaceutical companies and successful life science companies were generally in the driving seat and could pick and choose from qualified candidates.

Prestigious public hospitals and/or hospitals located in the major city centers were in a similar position. Today the balance of power has  shifted somewhat, and because of the growing demand for highly skilled professionals across the entire value chain of the industry, individual companies need to put in more effort to attract the talents and workforce they need to succeed in a highly competitive environment. In the public healthcare sector, not even the most prestigious of hospitals can rest on their laurels when it comes to talent attraction and recruitment.

Today the balance of power has  shifted somewhat, and because of the growing demand for highly skilled professionals across the entire value chain of the industry, individual companies need to put in more effort to attract the talents and workforce they need to succeed in a highly competitive environment.”

One key element that has become increasingly important as a consequence of this shift is good leadership. Companies and organizations now need to cater to the individual needs of the candidates, convincingly present their organization as a springboard for further growth and deliver on the promises of progression within the organization. New generations might even raise the bar and require the recruiting organization to also deliver on sustainability, diversity, and other values, to be attractive as a workplace.

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Candidates have become even more selective, and they thoroughly analyze job opportunities to ensure they align with their individual ambitions and personal lives, as pointed out in the recent White Paper “The Battle for Talent” published by Compass Human Resources Group.

Another key element, which is obviously of interest to a regional and bi-national life science cluster organization such as Medicon Valley Alliance, is the attractiveness of the region. The old days when the family moved wherever “Daddy’s career” took them are long gone! Today in most modern families, a decision to relocate to pursue career opportunities is a family decision. This involves not only company-specific or industry-specific elements such as the size and innovativeness of the life science cluster, but also the overall attractiveness of a given location including other elements such as opportunities for spouses, access to international schools and further education, work-life balance, general quality of life, perceived hospitality of the host culture, academic excellence, English proficiency of the host population, and distance to and number of connecting flights.

The Nordic countries generally rank highly on most of these elements, although there is still room for improvement.”

The Nordic countries generally rank highly on most of these elements, although there is still room for improvement. Many expats still find it culturally difficult to make new friends when they arrive. In both the Stockholm-Uppsala region and even more so in the Medicon Valley region, critical mass can be added to the selling points. In terms of both numbers of life science employees and the number of products in active development (pre-launch), Medicon Valley is the leading life science cluster in the EU. It is also the only cluster in the EU with more than 50% of its drugs in the clinic. Karolinska Institutet in the Stockholm-Uppsala region continues to be the academic center of gravity for life science in the Nordics.

Hopefully the forthcoming updated national life science strategies of both countries will address this crucial aspect head-on.”

Denmark and Sweden are generally well positioned in the new global battle for talent, but the battle is intensifying, and we cannot rest on our laurels. Hopefully the forthcoming updated national life science strategies of both countries will address this crucial aspect head-on. A coordinated approach highlighting the attractiveness of the two leading clusters and pillars of Nordic life science, the bi-national Danish-Swedish Medicon Valley region and the Stockholm-Uppsala region, would be even better – but perhaps that is too much “bridge building” to ask for?

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About the Author

This column was originally written by Niels Abel Bonde, Chairman, Medicon Valley Alliance (MVA), for NLS magazine No 02 2024, out May 2024. Photo: Ida Wang

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