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There has been a marked demand in commercially astute, outward-facing Medical Affairs candidates who are comfortable presenting to senior corporate stakeholders, over the last six months.
It goes without saying that Final Signatory experience is the essential demand in the sector right now. The ABPI code of conduct standards dictate guidelines around licensed drug lifecycle. This means candidates must have the aforementioned qualification. Historically, GMC registered physicians were those who could be certified “Final Signatory”, but this changed to include pharmacists given just how few Final Signatory’s there were.
The discrepancies between geographical territories have been an obstacle from a hiring perspective: In Ireland for instance, you do not need to a qualified Pharmacist or Physician to be authorised to have signatory responsibility.
Given the scarcity of available, certified talent, it has not been uncommon for Final Signatory’s with either a Pharma or Oncology background to be on the receiving end of in excess of 5 offers secured over a 2 week period – such is the demand for their expertise.
Besides the lack of availability, one of the biggest challenges for recruiters within the Medical Affairs specialism is ensuring credibility when speaking with candidates (as well as clients) in this space. Knowledge of emerging or late stage clinical trial drugs is imperative, so as to offer reassurance that you have a strong understanding of market conditions. Furthermore, as a recruiter, it is imperative to know the company pipeline lifecycle when speaking to prospective candidates, as it is frequently one of the most common questions asked.
Lastly, being savvy towards advanced treatments (currently ATMPs, such as gene and cancer treatment is a hotly discussed topic) all contribute to a candidate feeling engaged within a prospective process. A strong recruiter with a solid understanding of current market trends and demands ensures buy-in at early stages of a recruitment process, ensuring stronger chances of success in the long-term for clients looking to secure talent in a very candidate driven market.
As alluded to, the competition for candidates with a Medical Affairs background is high. Compass Life Sciences have seen a number of clients tailor their offers in accordance with a candidates personal circumstances, in order to secure them at their organisation. This act of personalisation has had a dramatic effect on acceptance rates amongst candidates, who are deeply impressed with the consideration shown by the clients.
In addition to this, sign-on bonuses have become normal; LTIP (long-term incentive plans) losses by leaving a business are factored into offers in the form of “golden handshakes” and increased offers; as well as significant thought and consideration into the key drivers and motivations of candidates, to look at ways they can accommodate needs and wants long term too.
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