Employers have long cited the ability to access and move top world talent to where jobs demand as a core factor in driving economic growth and job creation. Governments with immigration policies that facilitate global talent mobility better position their businesses, workforces, and economies to compete in the global marketplace. Before the pandemic, countries were increasingly turning inward and enacting more restrictive immigration policies. Employers were reporting more difficulty in recruiting, relocating, and retaining the global talent they needed to drive growth and innovation. As COVID-19 rapidly spread worldwide in 2020, the cross-border flow of high-skilled workforce virtually ceased. This research illustrates the effect the pandemic has had on one sector’s ability to access high-skilled talent needed to keep the economy going and power recovery. To that end, the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries provided a highly relevant case study.
If ever a sector needed access to a workforce skilled for the task, it is the one charged with leading the development, manufacturing, and distribution of safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics. While much of the research and development in the industry is conducted in North America, pharmaceutical and life science companies rely on highly specialized manufacturing, logistics, and distribution facilities in Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. To operate, these facilities require not only scientists but experienced industry professionals in management, research and development, manufacturing, sales and distribution, and information technology. Without exception, these skills are crossing borders as talent moves where it is required.
IOE and Worldwide ERC® launched this research initiative to document the importance of cross-border relocations to fill local high-skilled workforce gaps, to identify specific skills that are difficult to source in different regions, and to highlight government policies that have made workforce mobility more challenging.
This study is based on the participation of 153 Chief Human Resources Officers, HR Directors, and other senior HR leaders in the pharmaceutical and life science industries who have a direct role in their organization’s global talent strategies. Key findings of the study include: Download File