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Medical Affairs Recruitment Trends

Posted on December 2020 By Darian Kelly

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The importance of utilizing value-based research within the healthcare industry to inform decisions on the patient population has increased tremendously since COVID-19 forced us into lockdown. Pharmaceutical companies in the past have relied heavily on data compiled by epidemiologists to forecast which products will have a lasting impact on their consumers’ base. However, data driven decision making without in depth economic analyses leads to therapeutics missing the mark with the targeted patient population. Health economics and outcomes research collectively lays the foundation for decision making as the medical affairs space rapidly evolves. Economics and the data abstracted from outcomes research influences and informs the behaviors of key stakeholders.

Health economics and outcomes research highlights the perspectives of many entities’ clinicians, patients, hospitals, and patients. Cost effectiveness models and patient outcomes research gives indications on the value of products. Health economics and outcomes research professionals play a tremendous role in ensuring that observational studies are executed, and the findings of those studies are communicated efficiently.

The Rise of Real-World Evidence

The top trend in health economics and outcomes research this year was real world evidence. Real world evidence is the use of clinical evidence to highlight the benefits and potential risk of products. Real world data is used in many ways from product development to supporting coverage decisions. Real world evidence professionals provide value by standing in the gaps of commercial and medical affairs teams. Real world data is used to drive the value proposition of products. The responsibilities of these individuals are not turn-key, and the skill of being able to analyze large data sets and identifying limitations within data is very niche. These professionals must tell a story with the data that is understood across multiple teams and contributes to the value of the overall business.

Hiring Trends in HEOR

At the beginning of the year, pharmaceutical companies put an emphasis on talent at the Senior Manager level. These individuals were transitioning out of research fellowships within academia or finishing up graduate programs. The opportunity to join a top global biopharmaceutical company and apply what was learned, while receiving mentorship from senior leaders, was a common goal for most in this talent pool.

However, as the COVID-19 pandemic ensued there was a shift in hiring, prioritizing experienced directors. These directors were brought on board to help impact strategy and contribute to the thought leadership of the overall business. The importance of communication increased as most teams were working from home and desired direction to withstand the impacts of the pandemic.

The biggest skill in demand within the health economics and outcomes research space has been statistics. Candidates with experience working in a data driven environment, or those who can collect and analyze large data sets were highly sought after by hiring managers. The reason for this is because there are skill gaps within some health economics and outcomes research teams when it comes to data specialization. Data analytics along with artificial intelligence will be a key driver in business decisions in the pharmaceutical industry going forward.

Securing Talent In 2021

As we shift to 2021, clients will evaluate talent on three distinct areas communication, collaboration, and innovation. With most people working from home for most of the year, being able to overcommunicate is important. Hiring managers will want to know how potential employees navigate the current communication landscape and solutions on how teams can better communicate. Clients will want to understand how well a candidate collaborates, and the days of being a specialist are over. Being able to articulate to hiring teams how you can work cross-functionally, and influence strategy can translate to the value you bring to the business. Can you think outside of the box? COVID-19 has forced us to be creative and solve problems non-conventionally. Those individuals that can articulate certain issues that were roadblocks for their team and how they solved them gives hiring managers understanding of the ability to lead and prepare for future management positions.

Due to clients hiring more Directors this year, in 2021 there will be a need for talent at the senior manager and associate director level in health economics and outcomes research along with real world evidence. Companies do not want their teams to become top heavy with experience without the opportunity to nurture inexperienced talent. Clients must also ensure they have the bandwidth to develop talent from a management perspective. The clients that will be able to balance their talent development with also exceeding the expectations of the business will succeed in 2021.

If you want to discuss these hiring trends, or are looking to grow you team, get in touch with the EPM Scientific team today.

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