Updated on 18 June 2013
BioSpectrum Asia Top 20 Survey - HR Analysis
Shortage of skills and qualification among life science professionals to pursue risk laden activities is proving to be a hurdle for Asia to emerge as a center of research and innovation. Countries like China and India, which are already riding high in API production and generics business, are striving to lead innovative drug and molecules development. However, lack of skilled labor in R&D is slowing the process.
Recent growing investments by international companies to build their R&D operations in Asia have opened opportunities for domestic talent pool to work with big players of the industry and enhance knowledge sharing. In 2012, Chugai Pharmabody Research, a Japan-headquartered antibody engineering company, committed $150 million plus in antibody research over the next five years and is to hire 60 researchers in Singapore. Also, Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) is expanding its presence in Singapore by investing in local research activities and training collaborations between Singapore and its global sites.
Insufficient numbers of domestic skilled manpower compels foreign players to hire talent from west. International life science recruitment firm Hays Recruiting Worldwide highlights that Asia is paralyzed by mismatch between demand and supply forces, and countries like India, China, Korea, and Malaysia are facing obstacles in finding appropriately skilled manpower to carry out research complying to international standards, work at par with globally-acclaimed scientists, and execute research-oriented projects. Also in some countries like Singapore, the gap between those who work for professional growth, and who are profit-oriented is emerging as a serious HR issue, according to Ms Samantha Su, director, services and biomedical, Spring, Singapore, and Mr Simranjit Singh, chairman, BioSingapore.
"We see a lack of government or educational initiatives to bridge this gap," says Mr Matt Kerr, senior manager, Hays Recruiting Worldwide.
The gap stats
Asia's pharmaceutical industry employed about 150,000 manpower in R&D division in 2012, of which Indian industry had around 70,000 researchers on its rolls and China engaged over 40,000 personnel, according to BioSpectrum estimates.