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Progress in Singapore's life sciences sector to drive salaries up 3-5%: Randstad

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 12:19
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Salaries of professionals in the life sciences sector here are expected to rise by 3 to 5 per cent this year, as they become increasingly well-rounded, driven by progress in industry requirements.

SALARIES of professionals in the life sciences sector here are expected to rise by 3 to 5 per cent this year, as they become increasingly well-rounded, driven by progress in industry requirements.

Recruiter Randstad on Wednesday said bonuses across the industry are expected to average between one and two months.

Candidates in the biotechnology industry with the capability to transition into commercial roles will continue to see the highest demand, it noted. These professionals generally possess strong technical capabilities, understanding and ability to demonstrate clearly what their products can do, as well as a high capacity to empathise with the end user, Randstad explained.

Johari Masod, associate director for life sciences at Randstad Singapore, said: "Candidates with the technical capability to fully understand these sophisticated products will usually be equipped with an MSc or PhD level of education. In addition to having technical knowledge, companies are also seeking talent who possess strong interpersonal, communication and business development skills. These candidates are difficult to source and are highly sought-after by all employers in the biotech industry."

There is also a rising demand for scientists who are able to work across multiple disciplines such as chemistry, biology and semiconductors, especially those with biochemical and tech experience.

"Developing, for example, new diagnostics equipment, no longer just relies on making products that are accurate, reliable, easy to use and cheap to run. Scientists must have the ability to innovate and develop tools that also have additional functions, such as capabilities for Big Data collection and IoT (Internet of Things)," added Mr Masod.

With countries in the region stepping up their research and development (R&D) and manufacturing capabilities in the life sciences industry, Randstad said companies will slowly move some clinical development projects out of Singapore to these markets to reduce costs. This is particularly so in the areas of patient recruitment and healthcare. Thus, it anticipates the gradual phasing-out of "more and more entry-level and junior clinical research roles" in the next few years.

Having said that, candidates in sales, especially those with regional experience working in emerging countries, will continue to be in high demand, the recruiter pointed out, noting that new tech hubs are being set up around South-east Asia.

With this in mind, employers looking to increase productivity should look at increasing staff retention rates, added Randstad.

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