Monday, May 27, 2024

Ireland may be unable to fill future biopharma jobs – report

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Ireland will struggle to produce and attract enough talent to meet the hiring requirements of the multinational-dominated biopharmaceutical sector, which could create as many as 21,000 jobs here over the next three years, a new study from the National Skills Council has highlighted.

The state agency, which published its Skills for Biopharma report on Friday, examining the sector’s hiring requirements. Based on surveys of the industry, the report highlights particular shortfalls in a number of job categories, including engineers involved in chemical and digital processes, digital and data scientists as well as chemists and pharmacists.

There is also a shortage of senior directors, the Council said, with “infrastructural issues, such as housing and schools, a deterrent to attraction of senior management to Ireland”.

In a medium growth scenario, biopharma companies are expected to create as many as 21,000 jobs here by 2027, according to the report. However, graduate in-flow into the talent pool could fall short of meeting these requirements by some 3,000 jobs each year, the Council said.

“The biopharma sector employs more than 50,000 people directly in Ireland and the report predicts that number to grow by more than 21,000 by 2027,” said Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Peter Burke.

“In order to facilitate this, the education and training sector will need to respond to the demand for the highly skilled workers needed by the sector. Upskilling of the existing workforce will also be necessary, as will attraction of the relevant talent from overseas.”

To rectify the issues, the report’s authors made recommendations including increasing capacity for training at third-level and strengthening science and technology education in schools. They also recommended the creation of a skills framework for the sector, including manufacturing and services in collaboration between state agencies and industry.

“Key to success is the implementation of the report’s recommendations. If we are to see the potential for growth in the sector realised, it will require the necessary skills, as outlined in this report,” Mr Burke said.

The report found the sector overall had added close to 19,000 jobs between 2016 and 2022, an increase of 61 per cent.

Growth in the services side of industry was faster at 84 per cent over the period a 55 per cent jump in total employment was observed in manufacturing.

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