Year after year, biotech represents one of the biggest growth markets. This plays out in many different contexts: media coverage, corporate investment and (most important for us) job opportunities.
It makes sense the sector continues to draw attention. More and more money is being spent on health care, and biotech represents the leading edge of healthcare development. The industry has cutting-edge cache, a seemingly endless supply of investment capital and a reputation for providing potentially life-saving products.
Here are three trends within the biotech space to keep in mind if you are looking to land a job in the sector:
Specialized Skills Are in High Demand
Smaller, targeted companies are increasingly drawing talent away from big pharmaceutical companies. According to Forbes magazine, this has intensified the search for specialized skill sets. Consequently, this accelerated demand in the biotech space has created a fight for qualified talent.
A further interest in specialized skills will put a premium on niche training and targeted skill sets. This could put job candidates with distinct, or even exotic skills in higher demand. Of course, the trick will be matching that narrow skill with an employer who can use it.
Increased Interest From Non-Biotech Players
Pharma IQ, a publication dedicated to pharma professionals, notes that outside influences are likely to invade the biotech space. Quoting Greg Dombal, COO of Halloran Consulting Group, the website reports that general technology heavyweights are eying the biotech space as their next area of potential growth. The possibility of attractive profits in the space could prompt companies like Google and Amazon to initiate their own biotech programs, Dombal said.
This could lead to increased opportunity for job candidates in the field. New capital and increased competition could fuel a rise in hiring at these new entities. Beyond this, the new players in the sector could draw talent away from current companies, prompting higher turnover at established biotech players. This would create additional opportunities for people coming into the field.
Growing Application Beyond Drugs
The popular view of the biotech sector can often get summed up in a two-word phrase: baby pharma. The average person likely thinks about biotech (if they think of it at all) as place to develop drugs, at least until one of the big drug makers gets intrigued and either partners with the biotech startup or buys it outright.
But the horizons of biotech range far beyond more little pills. The same techniques that have driven the important drug discovery contributions the biotech industry has made in recent decades can apply to other realms of research as well.
As Matt Pavlovich, editor of Trends in Biotechnology, points out in a blog post, there are many other potential uses for biotech techniques. He lists such possible frontiers as “bionic plants,” bioelectronics and bioenergy. As the scope of what we think of as “biotech” expands, the opportunities in the sector will expand with it.
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