How Has The Life Sciences Hiring Market Been Impacted By COVID-19?

By Tony Restell

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Robb Hoyle InterviewI recently had the opportunity to interview Robb Hoyle of GTS Scientific. Robb was kind enough to share how the Life Sciences jobs market is doing, some of the trends that have been happening as a result of COVID-19 and some specific advice for job seekers during this time.

Watch the full interview

Here's the full video, a transcript of which follows underneath

Interview Transcript

Delighted to be joined today by Robb Hoyle. Robb is CEO at GTS Scientific.

And Robb's going to be helping us understand what's been happening in the Life Sciences space in particular over the last months and some of the trends that we're seeing there.

And advice for job seekers as well.

Robb, thanks very much for joining us today.

Great to have you on.

Thanks for having me, Tony.

Appreciate it.

Good to be here.

Absolutely my pleasure.

Do you want to just tell us quickly about your company?

Sure. GTS Scientific.

We are a Life Sciences Engineering and Executive Search firm.

Most of the work that we do is in the Pharma, Biotech, Medical Device space.

We've done work in 30 plus states in the United States here and also Canada, the UK, India and South America.

As I mentioned, Life Sciences are our strongest background.

Everything from pre-clinical research through scaling up and commercializing whether it be a life-saving drug or technology.


And you mentioned Life Sciences is particularly important.

How is that market doing at the moment?

It's an interesting market at the moment when everything first started with COVID-19, I wasn't sure what was going happen and what we found is that, due to the fact that, one, we're trying to cure COVID, we're looking to make a vaccine and various therapeutics and things like that.

The market really hasn't slowed down in Life Sciences.

There's a few areas like inside of Medical Devices that have slowed down a little bit because of the elective surgeries not happening.

But I expect that that will pick up fairly quickly here, and for us as a company, we've been seeing that it has been very busy because of the fact that some of our clients are making those well are attempting to make those vaccines and therapeutics.

And the other side of it is that at the end of the day, we're not going to stop trying to cure things like cancer and rare diseases.

So we still maintain being very busy in that space as well.

We're also seeing a lot of continued investment in the area and also continued M&A.

So that's a good thing.

And I'm also hearing talks throughout the country here, of us talking about bringing back some of that supply chain and generic drugs and APIs and all sorts of life-saving components to any drug that we may not have been able to get due to the supply chain shortages from areas like India or China.

So I think we learned a few lessons there.


And your clients, when you think about them and the kinds of trends you're seeing amongst them.

What kind of trends are you noticing? Positive trends?

Negative trends?

Anything stand out?

So there's a couple of really good things, we actually haven't seen one project stall here.

In fact, everything continued to move forward in a very efficient way.

That's been very positive.

One of the biggest positive trends I see through this is, streamlining of the hiring process.

I lived through the, the 08-09 crash and, kind of watched how the market turned there and hiring went from a very different thing.

It basically went from, we had this really great market and there weren't a lot of candidates, to hiring managers could take a lot of time to interview a lot of people and find that kind of a perfect fit for their company.

During that time, over the past 10 years, the market completely changed.

Where we were at in March of this year, unemployment was below 3.25% and in Life Sciences particularly, it was well below that.

But the hiring processes didn't seem like they changed with the times over that decade.

Clients were still taking a lot of time to interview people and candidates were just seeing multiple offers all over the place, and they still are in Life Sciences.

So the big positive that we've gotten out of this is that, everybody went directly to online interviewing right away.

So they're doing Zoom interviews, GoToMeetings, things like that.

So that's streamlining the process.

And on top of that, this is kind of an underlying positive that won't continue in the future.

But the lack of travelling for executives allowed them to interview candidates more quickly.

So at the end of the day, it let our clients be more competitive to offer jobs to candidates more quickly.

And I think that a lot of the, quote, unquote, smart companies were still moving forward to hire 'cos they saw how hard it was to hire those higher-end skill sets back in March.

So they just pushed forward.

Really interesting trends that we're seeing.

And as you say, will the travel come back or will that be a longer-term change as well?

We will have to wait and see. As for the job seekers at the moment.

If you were advising them on things that they would be well advised to focus on doing, any particular suggestions you'd highlight?

I think the positives on the end of the climb with them streamlining their hiring processes, it means there has to be an adjustment for the candidates as well.

So what I'm seeing is we have to kind of coach the candidates in a different way at this point and make sure that they're ready to do online interviewing and make sure that they're ready and advise to the fact that they're gonna have to accept the job, possibly without meeting their boss in person.

And that's a very different thing for a lot of people.

I know for me personally, we've just hired, two new employees here, and we never got the chance to meet them in person, but we had to take that shot.

So from a candidate standpoint, I think that they need to be prepared to interview online.

They need to be prepared for what that looks like.

And what I would tell candidates is to practice that interview with one of your colleagues or your contacts and just for this type of interaction.

To be ready to talk with people online and you had to adapt very quickly in this market.

And the other thing that I would say is, you still need to stand out.

And I'm sure some that in some of the more traditional manufacturing there's gonna be less jobs and some jobs were put on hold for right now.

But if and when you get the chance, be flexible, stand out from the crowd, know your story, know how you want to market yourself to that client and why you're a better fit for the role, than maybe some of your competition, and I think also, some of the traditional things that we always have told and coached candidates with have been along the lines of, make sure that you're answering your interview questions and, as it relates to the job that you're applying for.

So have specific examples of what you did in your past that relates to the job that you're going for and that the sharper and more practised they are with that, the better off they're going to be and the better chance they're going to get a job even if it's a virtual interview.

Or there's a lot of candidates.

Robb, really great advice, thank you ever so much for taking the time. to share your thoughts with everyone today.

If people would like to find out more about your company, whether they're candidates or potential clients, what's the best way to contact you or find out more?

So first of all, thanks for having me.

I really enjoyed the conversation and you can find me pretty easily on LinkedIn, our website is

My direct email is [email protected]


Thanks, everyone for watching today and Robb, thanks again for your time.

Have a great rest of the week everyone.

Bye for now.

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