Hiring a drug safety specialist — also known as a pharmacovigilance (PV) specialist — is going to be an interesting challenge for life sciences organizations over the next five years. Though labor-insights provider Burning Glass reports that there were fewer than 700 job postings for this position over the past 12 months, demand for this role in 2020 is expected to grow — and fast.
So how can you attract strong candidates to fill these specialized and growing positions in an easy and effective way?
Here's a simple checklist to consult when looking for the right drug safety specialist for your company:1. make sure you have an efficient hiring process 2. create a competitive compensation program 3. determine the required skill set for a drug safety specialist 4. draft a clear and actionable job description 5. stay on top of current — and future — hiring trends 6. identify the right channels for attracting top candidates
Ready to see how you can put this checklist into action? Read on for easy ways to enhance your recruitment strategy today.
1. speed up your hiring process
According to Burning Glass, the average time to fill a drug safety specialist role over the past year was 40 days. However, with top life sciences professionals going off the job market in as little as 10 days, you'll need to move fast as demand for this role increases and qualified candidates have more opportunities to consider.
If you're taking more than the average 40 days to bring on new drug safety specialists, start by looking at your internal process so you can remedy these types of inefficiencies before you start missing out on top talent.
2. develop a competitive compensation package
Is your current salary and compensation package competitive for today's drug safety specialists? If you're not sure, use Randstad's 2019 Salary Guide to determine where your organization stands in this evolving job market. And be sure to use our salary calculator to see the latest data on pay rates for drug safety specialists (as well as a number of other life sciences roles) in your specific market.
But there's more to compensation than salaries. Are your healthcare benefits competitive? What about retirement contributions and investment opportunities? Do you offer professional development or continuous learning? Since there aren't clear career paths for drug safety specialists — especially those who aren't physicians — consider beefing up your benefits to include tuition reimbursement or other educational contributions, which will not only help you to attract the talent you need in this role, but retain them over the long term.
66% of workers believe a strong benefits and perks package is important.
3. identify the top skills for drug safety specialists
Drug safety specialists provide great value to life sciences companies in numerous ways: they're key contributors to clinical trials, they collaborate closely with medical directors, they develop standard operating procedures and — perhaps most importantly — they stay on top of current regulatory guidelines. But keep in mind, too, that the duties and responsibilities of a drug safety specialist can vary from company to company, so you'll need to identify exactly what your business needs from these specialists.
Work with your team to define the skills, training and experience required of a successful candidate at your organization. These qualifications can fall into two categories: the "must-haves" — necessary education level and years of experience, along with acute communication and writing skills, a detail-oriented mindset and the ability to collaborate — and the "nice-to-haves" — those unique skill sets that will set someone apart as a potential contributor to your organization, like a background in biotechnology or deep knowledge of Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Archives (MedDRA) terminology.
To get you started, here are the specialized skills most often requested of drug safety specialists:
clinical research experience
And as demand for this role increases in the coming years, also consider identifying skill sets that'll attract candidates from nontraditional roles or industries. Could you bring on an unconventional candidate and train them internally, thus broadening your candidate pool?
4. write an eye-catching job description
It can be overwhelming to write a job description for a unique and multifaceted role like a drug safety specialist. But if you know exactly what aspects of the job and your company to include, it can become a breeze to draft. Here are three things to focus on in your new job description to attract top drug safety specialist candidates.
let potential candidates know your company values the complex work drug safety specialists do every day.
For more in-depth assistance with the writing process, check out our guide to writing highly effective job descriptions.
5. brush up on the latest industry trends
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of all global pharmacovigilance efforts are conducted in the U.S. — and that's not factoring in the expected growth in the field. Pair that with a relatively small pool of talent, and you'll quickly see why employers need to focus not only on hiring the best people, but retaining them as well.
Here are some key hiring trends to keep in mind today:
Projected demand for drug safety specialists will grow more than 13 percent over the next decade. In fact, the pharmacovigilance market as a whole is expected to experience 10 percent growth, reaching $8 billion, by 2024.
Sixty-six percent of workers agree that a strong benefits and perks package is the most important factor when considering a job offer, but only 39 percent of workers are satisfied with their current employers' benefits offerings. Further evidence that employers needs to stay on top of their benefits and perks in order to keep their employees on board for longer.
California, Massachusetts and New Jersey are driving the lion's share of the demand for drug safety specialists, so employers in those key markets should expect the greatest competition when hiring.
To learn more, check out our comprehensive guide to talent trends impacting the life sciences space.
the pharmacovigilance market is forecast to grow 10 percent by 2024.
6. choose your channels to find candidates
The life sciences sector and the role drug safety specialists play within it are evolving quickly, and you'll need to move just as fast to find the best candidates for your organization.
Of course, the recruitment channels you invest in will depend on things like the size of your organization, your recruitment budget and your specific hiring needs. And while you've probably relied on a variety of options in the past — including job boards, employee referrals, LinkedIn searches — if you're looking to be ahead of the curve in this increasingly competitive job market, consider expanding your efforts by partnering with a staffing firm.
Every part of your hiring strategy can be strengthened by working with a staffing partner with deep expertise in the life sciences field. And given the challenges expected in the coming years for companies in need of drug safety specialists, gaining access to a nationwide network of top talent — screened, vetted and available on demand — can make all the difference.
Start a conversation with the life sciences experts at Randstad today to get one step closer to finding the right drug safety specialist for your organization. Or head over to our Find Employees portal and get to know our large pool of screened and vetted drug safety specialists right away.