A Talent Dynamics Model – Biopharma Industry

  • Jason Beckwith

    Student thesis: Professional Doctorate ThesisProfessional Doctorate in Business Administration


    Biomanufacturing refers to the production of biological products including pharmaceuticals, vaccines, enzymes, and other biomolecules, using living cells or organisms. Over the years, biomanufacturing has seen significant advancements and market developments due to its crucial role in producing a wide range of medical and industrial products, specifically vaccines. Biomanufacturing has become a cornerstone of the biopharmaceutical (biopharma) industry, accounting for a substantial portion of drug production. Biopharmaceuticals, including monoclonal antibodies, recombinant proteins, and vaccines, have gained prominence for their effectiveness in treating illnesses like cancer, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. Advancements in genetic engineering, cell culture techniques and process optimisation have revolutionised biomanufacturing. Single-use bioreactors, high-throughput screening and process automation have streamlined production processes, making them more efficient and cost-effective. Biomanufacturing has enabled the production of personalised therapies based on an individual's genetic makeup. This approach, known as precision medicine, tailors treatments to specific patients, improving their effectiveness and minimising side effects. The emergence of ‘Bio-Similars’, biologic drugs that are highly similar to already approved biopharmaceuticals, has contributed to increased competition, lower healthcare costs and improved patient access to essential therapies. In addition, biomanufacturing is integral to the development and commercialisation of advanced therapies, like gene and cell-based therapies; treatments that hold great promise for addressing genetic and chronic diseases by modifying a patients' own cells. The biomanufacturing market has seen significant growth worldwide, with emerging markets in Asia, especially China and India, becoming increasingly important players in production. Biomanufacturing is undergoing a significant transformation with the advent of Industry 4.0, in reference to the integration of digital technologies, data analytics, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) into manufacturing processes. This industrial revolution is reshaping biomanufacturing, leading to increased efficiency, flexibility, and quality in the production of biological products. Biopharma 4.0 is driving a revolution in biomanufacturing by leveraging digital technologies and automation to enhance efficiency, flexibility, and product quality. These advancements are enabling biomanufacturers to respond to market demands more effectively while advancing the development of innovative therapies and products.

    Biomanufacturing contributes significantly to the economy by creating high-value jobs, attracting investment, and driving innovation. A highly skilled workforce, crafted over many years, is the most important foundation of competitive advantage for biopharma companies. The competition for talented scientists is intensifying, with demand likely to exceed supply in the next few years (Beckwith et al.,2022; De Smet et al.,2022; Kumar et al.,2022). Talent demand in the Biopharma industry was intensifying before the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently moving at an even more rapid pace. The extraordinary increase in demand has been driven initially by the disarray caused by COVID-19 and the race to produce a vaccine specifically utilising biomanufacturing technologies; followed by the adoption of Biopharma 4.0, where an increasing level of complexity and disruptive innovation are changing the requirements for employees, with more varied technical expertise required. This transformation necessitates unique expertise, where employees are skilled not just in biopharma techniques, but in the innovative technology drivers, such as Artificial intelligence (AI), coding and mathematics. The increasing level of complexity, and the corresponding need for new talent, also results from new therapeutic solutions such as small and large molecule (drug substance/drug product), delivery systems, formulation, and process intensification. The industry has commonly been resistant to change, with the limited availability of a skilled workforce a key factor that may persist to impact biopharma manufacturing. The demand for biopharma talent has never been more critical, presenting a threat to the stability of global supply chains. Furthermore, there is a requirement for operations personnel to possess deeper technical skills, in addition to managers and leaders needing to be adept at working within the next-generation Biopharma 4.0 reality.

    This research comprehensively addresses the intricate facets of talent within the Biopharma industry, encompassing three pivotal dimensions: Biopharma Talent Dynamics, Identification of Skills Gaps, and the innovative Biopharma Talent IndexTM (BTI), complemented by a suite of unique ‘diagnostic’ equations, linking Talent Management to Business Success.

    The study delves into the dynamic nature of talent in the Biopharma sector and highlights the critical role talent plays in achieving business success within this rapidly evolving industry. By employing sophisticated data analysis, the research uncovers the multifaceted interactions between talent management practices and their impact on organisational performance. A focal point of the research is the identification of skills gaps inherent to the Biopharma workforce. This assessment considers the industry's evolving landscape, and its intricate skill demands. The findings offer insights into the gaps that require attention and reskilling efforts to meet the ever-changing requirements of the global pharmaceutical market. The research presents an innovative predictive benchmarking tool, the BTI, designed to gauge talent-related metrics and benchmark talent strategies against industry standards. Additionally, a suite of unique equations is introduced to quantitatively correlate talent management practices with business success. These equations are tailored to the distinctive characteristics of the Biopharma industry, offering a precise understanding of the connection between talent management and organisational performance.

    This research uniquely attempts to determine the measurement and prediction of biopharma talent dynamics, with the aim to provide valuable insights into the workforce composition, skills, and capabilities within the industry. Measuring biopharma talent dynamics is essential for optimising workforce planning, driving innovation, ensuring compliance, and maintaining global competitiveness within the biopharma industry. It enables companies to make informed decisions, adapt to industry trends and position themselves for long-term success in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive sector. It is proposed that the human factor is the most critical resource for bio-industry economic success in the current environment, stimulating the innovation and competitiveness. It is also purported that human capital is the most fundamental intangible intellectual asset, and should be treated with the same, if not more, due diligence as patents, trademarks, and balance sheet valuation. In addition to attempting to measure and predict biopharma talent dynamics, the research will endeavour to create a BTI, which will illustrate the efficiency of talent within an organisation, ranked by biopharma industry companies. There is an absence of any literature and studies evaluating biopharma talent, the most critical asset to the industry, which this research hopes to address.

    The research project endeavours to develop a unique method of biopharma ‘talent modelling’, with the aim to measure, model and predict the ‘supply versus demand’ of biomanufacturing talent across ‘business-critical’ roles that are required for the successful operation of the Biomanufacturing firm. The industry application comes from the provision of analytical, applied, and strategic intelligence to industry stakeholders, to allow future workforce planning that is aligned to support capital expansion project decisions and recognise the value of human assets to the economic success of an organisation. The outcome data aims to allow specific planning, where required, for creative talent acquisition that is specific to the segments of biomanufacturing workflows. Additionally, the research will measure and model critical skill gaps in biomanufacturing, with an aim to promote strategies targeted at preventing disruption to biomanufacturing workflow.
    To summarise, a talent dynamics model that features the major biopharma market drivers has been created, demonstrating current and future skills gaps, and creating a new understanding of the opportunities and priorities for training and upskilling the manufacturing workforce in data science, to bridge the gaps identified. As a comparative tool, which can be used intra and inter industry, the BTI was created as a predictive instrument for industry, with corresponding equations, to measure how efficiently companies utilise talent. Notably, this research has devised a unique measurement of biopharma talent dynamics, including the predictive modelling of talent ‘supply and demand’. The extrapolative tool has been mathematically challenged for robustness throughout, to a successful degree.

    The novel BTI is a comprehensive measure that integrates talent and financial metrics in the biopharma industry. The index will provide valuable insights for investors, stakeholders, and industry professionals by identifying companies that excel in talent management (TM) and financial performance. It will serve as a benchmarking tool for comparing the performance of biopharmaceutical companies within the industry and enables decision-makers to make informed investment and partnership decisions. Additionally, the index will offer companies the opportunity to assess their own Talent Management practices and identify areas for improvement. By analysing their index scores and the underlying talent and financial ratios, companies will be able to pinpoint specific areas where they can enhance their talent strategies to drive better financial performance and improve their efficiency in utilising talent resources. The BTI provides a quantitative measure of talent performance and efficiency in the Biopharma industry. The comparative benchmark allows organisations to assess their talent management practices objectively and identify areas for improvement. It enables them to develop data-driven talent management strategies to attract, retain, and develop top talent, leading to enhanced organizational performance.

    The fundamental application provides benchmarking and Industry comparison, together with continuous improvement strategies. By comparing Talent IndexTM scores with industry averages or best practices, companies can identify their relative strengths and weaknesses. This information helps in setting realistic goals, monitoring progress, and gaining insights from industry leaders to improve talent management practices. Continuous algorithm application allows companies to monitor talent performance over time. This enables them to track progress, evaluate the impact of talent management initiatives, and continuously refine their strategies. The algorithm acts as a feedback mechanism, providing insights into the effectiveness of talent management practices and highlighting areas that require further attention. With the Talent Index algorithm, Biopharma companies can prioritise their talent-related investments based on the areas of improvement highlighted by the index. The equation provides a quantitative basis for decision-making, enabling organizations to allocate resources strategically. This ensures that investments in talent management initiatives are aligned with the areas that have the greatest potential for impact.

    In summation, this research provides a holistic view of talent in the Biopharma industry. It identifies skills gaps, introduces the Biopharma Talent Index, and offers a set of equations that quantify the relationship between talent management and business success. These insights empower Biopharma stakeholders to fine-tune talent strategies, address skills gaps effectively, and enhance their competitiveness in this dynamic sector.
    Date of Award2024
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorStavros Kourtzidis (Supervisor) & William Nixon (Supervisor)


    • Biopharmaceutical
    • Talent
    • Mathematical model

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