Max Eldridge, client engagement manager, Life Science People, examines some of the changes in recruiting people for roles in life sciences since the COVID-19 outbreak.
There’s no denying that COVID-19 has brought widespread change to society worldwide. So much so, in fact, that our new ‘normal’ will arguably be anything but.
The pandemic has seen us all adapt, with a new way of working, socialising – and existing – now commonplace; while the virus has brought widespread devastation, it has forced the healthcare industry to make vital changes that might have taken years.
Dr Lester Russell is an experienced clinician and commercial professional who possesses a great deal of knowledge within the digital health space on this subject. He tells me that, while most of us are adept at using tech in our day-to-day lives, we haven’t had the opportunity – until now – to discover how it can revolutionise our access to healthcare.
A stumbling block to real change?
The COVID era has accelerated our need for more efficient GP consultations, which can now be successfully carried out online. The question is: why did it take a crisis to realise this need; what was holding us back?
One such stumbling block could be the healthcare industry’s apparent resistance to change. But the fault doesn’t lie at the door of the NHS and healthcare companies; the public isn’t used to using tech in the healthcare arena, with many GP practices still relying on patients telephoning for an appointment. Others, however, are embracing tech, giving people the chance to book appointments online and easily access their health records.
The crisis has forced people to change, with video conferencing the norm for meetings, and apps like FaceTime now one of the main ways we communicate with friends.
COVID-19 has pushed things forward, particularly in the recruitment arena – and we’ve recognised that fact here at Life Science People.
As scientists race to find a vaccine and medical professionals work hard to discover the right drugs, life science recruitment firms like ours are now advertising roles that simply wouldn’t have existed pre-COVID.
Does the public welcome change?
It’s worth noting that before COVID, £1.7 billion was invested in the UK healthtech scene in 2019 alone. With the scene continuing to grow throughout the pandemic, that figure is likely to increase significantly.
I’m part of the client engagement team at here at Life Science People – a London-based healthcare industry recruiter.
We’ve seen plenty of healthtech companies popping up, and many of them in niche fields.
Meanwhile, Dr Lester tells me the NHS has adapted during COVID-19, too, having discovered they can handle doctor-patient consultations remotely, with telephone consultations now in full swing.
“Not too long ago, we were reluctant about doing telephone consultations”, Lester says.
The public, however, is now welcoming this new way of doing things, given that it can save time by often ensuring a much quicker diagnosis. There will still be people who prefer face-to-face consultations, but as a society we are making positive steps towards virtual healthcare.
New career paths in the COVID-19 Era
There is clearly a need for this kind of tech – in the COVID era and beyond, and it’s something my colleagues here at Life Science People are realising as well. Helping make a tangible change to global health, the roles we’re recruiting for now simply wouldn’t have existed before COVID.
At Life Science People, we’ve had to educate companies around how to find these roles, and where they come from. Clinical GPs working in health technology being one example of a brand new career path for people.
We’re now on the lookout for candidates with a whole host of tech/health-related skills, which is opening up new possibilities for Life Science People and for those looking for their next big career move in the life science industry.
As a society, we have been resistant to change for some time, but the virus has meant that essential change is now possible – and that can only be a positive step for patients, recruiters and the healthcare industry.