Most important Recruiting Channels - Challenges of Recruiting in the Life Science Industry

Read the following article to find out what the right recruiting strategy in the life sciences sector can look like.

Hannes Sommer
Hannes Sommer
Founder & Managing Director Sinceritas Executive Search

The tight situation in the job market forces companies to use different recruiting channels (platforms) to find personnel. There has been talk of a "war for talents" for several years now. So, companies should upgrade their recruiting - strategy.
In order not to waste unnecessary resources with multi-posting, it is worthwhile to understand which occupational groups are most urgently sought. This will help to conclude who is best to be found where. 
Finally, to be able to use active sourcing in a targeted manner. This means that potential candidates can be approached directly via a number of channels, which can be very effective, especially in industries with staff shortages.

Personnel Shortage in the Pharmaceutical Industry and Medical Technology

In medical technology,  53% of companies state that they have difficulty filling vacancies. According to the German Economic Institute (IW), the need for specialists in research/development as well as production and sales has increased significantly here.
The so-called “key professions” of the pharmaceutical industry, the same study by the German Economic Institute (IW) concludes, are far less affected by the shortage of skilled workers than other sectors, with a 5% job overhang rate. There are strong regional differences, however, which also have to do with the agglomeration of the pharmaceutical and medical technology industry, for example in the "cluster" of Upper Bavaria or in the Ruhr region.

Among other things, a “key profession” is defined as an occupation that also has apprenticeship training positions. Furthermore, 205 pharmaceutically relevant occupations were identified and classified into different occupational groups. The pharmacy-relevant occupations have a higher job overhang rate of 18% on average.
So the question is, how best to target these much-needed professionals for the pharmaceutical industry?

Social Networks and Career Portals

It's a matter of course that companies have a presence on social networks. These include Instagram, Facebook, Indeed, Stepstone, X and YouTube. As well as in career networks such as Xing and LinkedIn. Applicants can thus get a comprehensive picture of the company in question. They often also have a professional profile on these sites and are familiar with them.
Xing is mainly used to find candidates from the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), while LinkedIn has an international network and places great emphasis on content.

Especially because the life science industry is internationally networked and Germany plays a major role in the international market, a channel on LinkedIn should also be internationally present.

Active Sourcing

Active sourcing is a way to turn the tables, so to speak, and to find candidates directly. Moreover, a pool of potential employees can be formed who seem to be suitable for the company. Direct contact with candidates has many advantages. Here, too, it is important to offer the right approach (wording) and a good profile of the company. It may also be possible to retain future employees at an early stage. This is also possible and interesting in contact with training centers or trade fairs. Getting students interested in the future employer is hence often used successfully.

University Cooperation

Postdoctoral Challenge, for example, is a call for applications from Astra Zeneca that invites doctoral students in their final year or after their doctorate to apply with new ideas. AstraZeneca R&D Postdoctoral Challenge

R&D (Research & Development) is elementary for the pharmaceutical industry and Germany is a promising location. In 2021, the pharmaceutical industry invested 8.7 billion euros in the development of new drugs, making it the most research-intensive industry in Germany. With contact to research projects developed, for example, in the course of the doctoral thesis, a pharmaceutical company can secure both employees and future drugs. It therefore makes sense to pick up these potential applicants where they are.

Mobile recruiting

For the younger generations, mobility is increasingly taken for granted. The use of smartphones and tablets is possible and taken for granted everywhere. To make recruiting possible on these devices as well, career websites should be optimized for mobile. This can also make the application requirements less complex. If the internal applicant page is compatible with documents or websites of the applicants, a lot of time is saved and an application is possible quickly and on mobile.
This makes the search easier for both the interested parties and the company.  

Job Fairs

Job fairs also offer the opportunity to get in touch with applicants directly and personally.For physicians and scientists, it is again mainly graduates who want to find out about career opportunities. At trade fairs, a company can present itself and recruit new candidates at the same time.

It is therefore important not to neglect this rather "classic" approach. Having your own company stand at a job fair is a good investment in the acquisition of junior staff.Here, however, it is by no means sufficient to simply hand out colorful pens and business cards. Instead, innovative concepts and a creative approach are needed to stand out from the crowd at the fair and attract the attention of potential applicants.


In summary, the challenges facing the life science industry are not easy, even with the current inflation and energy crisis.  Companies must strive to develop a strong employer branding strategy to differentiate themselves from the competition and attract suitable candidates. This should be internationally oriented in the life science industry.

In addition, prospective employees should be contacted mobile and directly. Active sourcing plays an important role in the recruiting process. With some important tricks, the expansion of websites and the possibility of mobile contact, companies can become very attractive.This makes the search and the application itself easier for the applicants. Channels should also be chosen specifically in terms of professions. Active sourcing can support this search and thus also find "hidden candidates" who cannot be found in the relevant social networks (Xing, Linkedin). In order to finally be able to hire the candidates who will fit the company in the future.