Science recruitment trends for 2021

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic is still dominating the majority of the news we read as well as our own lives, it’s important to think about the positives and look ahead to 2021 with optimism.  Given the panic of the unknown that was facing the industry in March 2020, a big congratulations to us all is needed for the country coming together and a lot of credit to the science sector in which we operate.


In terms of science recruitment, there are trends starting to form, and trends that have even weathered the storm of the recent pandemic, that point towards what companies, candidates and recruiters will all be looking at in 2021.


  • More flexibility

During 2020 many employees have been made to adjust to home working, including the CY team.  Many employers who were uncertain about work from home have now seen the benefits it can offer, such as an increase in productivity, lower costs and an improved work life balance for their workforce.  We’ve noticed an increase in opportunities which are offering flexible hours and/or home working.  There will be some jobs which cannot adapt to home working such as laboratory-based roles however, we think more flexible working will continue into 2021. You may now no longer be able to claim this as a unique ‘perk’ of your organisation, either.


  • Increased diversity in STEM

In the digitally interconnected world, adaptability and emotional intelligence are primary skills that will define success in the 2020s.

Having a diverse workforce is crucial for getting the most out of these skills. When STEM organisations are able to call upon individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences and ways of thinking, they are better placed to find effective solutions to the issues. Diversity enables more skill-sharing, cross-sector collaboration and outside-of-the-box approaches to problem-solving.

The skills associated with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are, as we all know, all in high demand across the globe. Reducing the widening skills gap this year through greater diversity is vital if we are to solve the monumental challenges that we currently face.


  • Automation and AI

Every day, technology touches and enhances our lives in ways we rarely even pause to think about. And in the time of COVID-19, it’s enabled ways of efficient remote working that few thought could be possible. Automation and general technology has been the saviour for a lot of companies during COVID-19, and it’s here to stay.

AI has already worked to provide personalised COVID care to patients, as well as allowing Biotechnology and Medical Device companies to accelerate how they process data related to COVID-19.

When you look at the science recruitment industry, it’s clear that although AI will never replace ‘human’ recruitment, it can be used as a valuable tool to support companies that have still been hiring throughout lockdown.


  • Power of Candidate Experience:

Candidate experience continues to be one of the most critical trends in recruitment processes. Each interaction of candidates through any source (like screening, interview, etc.) affect their experience towards the organization. Providing an exceptional candidate experience at each part of the process and onboarding is critical for attraction and retention of employees.

Good candidate experience will make them eager to share their positive feelings with other potential and passive applicants, which helps you to build up brand reputation.


  • Vaccine related hiring

Many organisations are working to produce vaccines for COVID-19 resulting in an increase in the amount of jobs which are available across the supply chain.  With this growth, as well as the trend where organisations will strengthen ties with colleagues, and sometimes competitors, contract manufacturing will continue to increase. Contract development and manufacturing organisations, just like the big pharma organisations, will need to improve speed, increase efficiencies and expand globally and outsourcing services and production will likely be a key enabler.


  • Epidemiological Opportunities

We expect to see more opportunities for Epidemiologists in the wake of the pandemic.  Now we have some vaccines for COVID-19 and more in the pipeline, we expect more emphasis will be put on how exactly this took hold of the globe, what we can learn and how we can prevent future pandemics.


  • Antimicrobial Research

The UN has recently called for an “immediate, coordinated and ambitious action to avert a potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis”.  Many organisations are now expanding their ability to conduct microbial research and as such we expect to see an increase in hiring within this area.  Organisations across the UK, USA and Europe are now looking to be at the forefront of AMR.


After an uncertain year for many, the need for a strong Science industry who can adapt and work under pressure has been proved many times.  It’s a sector we’re extremely proud to be part of, If you are going to be looking for a new opportunity in the new year register on our website for all of our latest vacancies.


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