Lead Candidate talks talent challenges and solutions at BIO

03.08.23 Conversations
“We’ve got to be doing things differently because what we’ve done in the past isn’t going to be enough.”
Andrew Mears, CEO at Lead Candidate

Speaking with Millie Nelson, Editor at BioProcess Insider at BIO in Boston, Andrew Mears, CEO and co-founder of Lead Candidate, said talent acquisition must be approached differently if the industry is going to tackle the ongoing talent challenges. 

A key topic of discussion at this year’s BIO International Convention was the talent shortages being felt across the industry. These challenges have mainly come about due to the fact that “the amount of people coming into the industry has not kept pace with the annual growth rate that the industry has experienced”, said Mears. 

Mears highlighted that organisations need to start doing things differently to try and plug the talent shortage. He said, “What businesses are starting to realise now is that they’ve got to grow their own, and they’ve got to accept that they might not get all of the technical qualifications that they need, but they can get a base level and then grow their own and build their own pipeline of talent. Just recruiting people from other businesses isn’t gonna be the solution to what is a fairly significant issue for the industry, it’s going to have to be a multifaceted approach to tackling all those aspects of the talent ecosystem.”

Although he made it clear that there is no one magic solution to these talent issues, Mears recommended that companies who are looking to hire need to “look at their hiring strategy and really make sure that they have a strategy.” He stated that to attract talent in today’s market, it’s not enough to just switch on the ‘hiring’ sign. Instead, organisations need a continuous marketing effort supporting their hiring to showcase why they present an attractive opportunity to those looking to be hired. 

Speaking on the root cause of the talent shortage, Mears observed that more needs to be done to get the younger generation interested in STEM and encourage them to see a career in these fields as a viable option. Although this can be viewed as a governmental responsibility, he discusses the responsibility that organisations themselves have in driving this interest in the industry, for their own benefit: “It’s about us mobilising and making a collective effort”. 

Events such as BIO are so valuable as they allow industry leaders to get together and discuss the challenges they are all facing. Mears said, “At this event, there will be lessons to be learned and things to be shared that will benefit everybody and not just a single region or a single business.”

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