Measuring the Impact of COVID-19 on the Life Sciences Workforce

Feb 11, 2021

By Karla Talanian, Director, Talent & Workforce Development, MassBioEd

2020 has certainly been a year like no other, and the need for an agile and innovative life sciences workforce has never before been so critical. While doctors and nurses serve valiantly on the front lines of patient care, behind them are legions of scientists and technicians who have been working to defeat this virus. Clinical researchers validated the safety and efficacy of vaccines and therapies. Computational scientists have deciphered epidemiological patterns across the globe and within small communities. Engineers reconfigured manufacturing operations to churn out essential medical devices and diagnostic kits as quickly as possible. 

And, while the pandemic raged, thousands of similar professionals maintained their work on neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and genetic disorders that continue to afflict millions of patients.

Our industry was forced to reckon with fundamental changes in how we work, hire, train, and communicate. Overall, these challenges have been met with astounding success. In addition, some companies have found increases in productivity, agility, and the speed of innovation. How will these adaptations be incorporated into the future of work? Which innovations will become established as best practices?

Concurrent with a global pandemic, the world at large has recognized that racial and socioeconomic inequalities must be addressed and rectified. Our industry must cultivate a more diverse and inclusive workforce across all functional areas. To do this will require imagination, collaboration with a wider variety of educational partners, and a willingness to experiment with currently untapped sources of talent.

In order to fully capture the effect of 2020 on the life sciences workforce, MassBioEd and the Coalition of State BioScience Institutes have issued a call for data. A survey is being sent to life sciences companies across the United States to measure the impact of the past year’s seismic events and help us collectively plan for the future. TEConomy Partners will collect and aggregate responses from this survey for the national report, and these data will be presented at BIO in mid-June. In addition, a much more detailed analysis of the Massachusetts life sciences ecosystem will be produced and presented at our Life Sciences Workforce Conference on June 2.

This requires your help.  Please provide your company’s responses to the survey. The more companies participate, the more robust the data will be and the more insight we will be able to glean from the responses. These results will provide essential data for:

  • Industry employers who are making strategic business decisions about finding and developing talent
  • Academic institutions who are preparing the next generation of talent
  • Legislators who administer workforce training and research dollars and
  • Economic and Workforce Development organizations seeking to attract and support businesses in their state/region.

Please submit your company’s data before February 28, 2021. All responses will remain confidential and results only reported as aggregate, anonymous data.

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