Clinical Professionals Industry Analytics Report: BI/Big Data

The latest CPIA report features analysis and UK and EU vacancy data in the “BI and Big Data” sector.

Clinical Professionals Group CEO, Yvette Cleland comments:

Data is the new science. Big Data holds the answers.

Compared with other industries, healthcare adoption of “Big Data” has been slow but its use will increase dramatically in 2019 across a number of core functions. With the explosion of health-related data in recent years, pharmaceutical companies are looking to Big Data to reduce costs in research and development and manufacturing. Previous reports have noted that the market for artificial intelligence (AI) in drug development in 2018 was valued at $700 million (versus $200 million in 2015). According to a recent report by Big Data Analytics the value is predicted to surpass $5 billion by 2024.

Our most recent Industry report analyses the European jobs market within AI/Big Data and sees a 25% increase in live vacancies from 2018 versus 2017, the first quarter of this year shows an accelerated growth in open roles again already looking to outstrip the 2018 increase, if early signs are accurate. There is a diverse range or roles and skills required, but a developing trend sees an increased requirement (119% growth in live roles 2017 versus 2018) in Data Managers. Contract Research Organisations (CRO) were showing the highest level of growth in vacancies, however the Biotech sector is now expanding rapidly.

Improved capabilities can be seen as a core reason for this quick growth in generating and harnessing data. A McKinsey report described how a top-five specialty chemicals manufacturer used Big Data to significantly increase vaccine production yield. Gathering data from its production process in groups of related activities, the team then applied statistical analysis to determine interdependencies and sensitivities that had gone unnoticed. As a result, the manufacturer made targeted process changes and was able to increase its vaccine yield by more than 50% — saving between $5 million and $10 million per year on production of a single substance.

As costs continue to escalate in drug development/trials, AI and Big Data have the potential to lower both cost and time of drug trials. So, not surprisingly the focus on Big Data and AI is a marked shift from the past two years where Cybersecurity was the dominant interest. During 2018, most pharma companies were still in the early stages of implementing their AI strategy, but 2019 is already seeing rapid change.

So once again we enter again a period of time when the market need for skills in a core area will be outstripped by a lack of those available skills. As we look to reduce the cost of bringing a great new drug to market more rapidly we will be held back by a lack of talent, which then drives up the “cost per hire”. So as new technologies lower costs, speed up production, and improve research and development we will struggle to meet the needs via talent shortages.

The UK interestingly holds the majority of vacancies within AI and Big Data at 27% of all of Europe’s open vacancies and a 32% increase in hiring (2017 versus 2018). Another trend that seems out of kilter in the face of the ongoing Brexit disaster.

So building Big Data and AI capability in-house is going to be challenging and expensive for pharma companies. I predict those that do go in that direction, will not look formally at their hiring processes where they struggle to be agile in getting the best people on board instead applying the same convoluted and outdated processes losing the most talented people before getting near an offer of employment. So due to the scarcity of talent with the necessary skill sets in the crosstab of AI and biology perhaps what we will see as a more effective strategy will be to build partnerships with leading AI companies. I have in fact already seen this happen with several AI/pharma company partnerships with great outcomes.

Roche went in a different direction in acquiring Flatiron Health in 2018, a market leader in oncology-specific electronic health record (EHR) software and the development of real-world evidence for cancer research and now leads the recruiting of staff in AI/Big Data in Europe for large pharma.

So, what will be the greatest challenge within AI/Big Data? It’s simple, if you are not going to be looking at partnering or acquiring a business you will need to adapt as rapidly as the market, with a more engaging and swifter hiring practices. Great talent generally wants to be hired in an effective and positive manner. Eight week recruiting timelines with no care
for the candidate experience will result in not acquiring the best talent, but only the available talent. It never ceases to amaze me that the most thought through business strategies fail at the point of hire.

The Clinical Professionals group aim to be aware of the latest industry events and news whilst also aspiring to be at the forefront of the latest analytics and reporting. This enables our consultants to provide a concise and quality service for both clients and candidates, whilst helping the industry to evolve as a whole.

Consequently, the Clinical Professionals group has collaborated with Vacancysoft to create monthly reports that provide an in-depth analysis of vacancies across various sectors, countries and companies.

If you would like to view the full report and other industry analytics reports we have available please click here

If you are looking for a position in BI or Big Data, or candidates who work in that sector, feel free to get in touch by emailing or call us on 0118 959 4990