Which Skills Are Currently Most In Demand In Life Sciences

The life sciences industry is a constantly evolving, fast paced sector that offers untapped opportunity for those looking to further their careers in the field. In order to stay ahead of the competition, candidates must understand the most in demand skills required by employers. Understanding these key areas will increase long term employability, regardless of if you are an experienced or entry-level candidate. In this piece we seek to uncover the skills that will give you a competitive edge with some of the most prestigious employers in the industry. 

Life scientist researching in laboratory. Focused life science professionals pipetting master mix solution into the PCR 96 well micro plate using multi channel pipette. Healthcare and biotechnology.

What defines the life sciences industry today?

Life sciences is a dynamic, innovative and collaborative sector, blending science, technology and innovation to bring huge advancements in healthcare. Global health challenges continue to increase, meaning the  industry has never been more important. By continuing to develop groundbreaking treatments, the sector constantly pushes the boundaries of innovation and discovery.

Research has been revolutionised by bleeding-edge technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data, making the drug discovery process more accurate and efficient. Leveraging patient-specific data to tailor treatments through precision medicine is transforming healthcare. 

Where are the opportunities?

The sector is experiencing a surge in the development of gene therapies and immunotherapies, offering promising results for previously untreatable diseases and creating a number of exciting roles. Advanced biological treatments are becoming more accessible by providing cost-effective alternatives to existing drugs, meaning increased demand for biotech talent. 

The core skills in demand

In the life sciences sector, it’s fundamental to have skills specific to your area of expertise, this could include understanding molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and gene editing in biotechnology. For medical devices, being skilled in biomedical engineering and software development is important. In pharmaceuticals, key skills include research and development (R&D), pharmacovigilance, biometrics, and quality assurance. 

How do you acquire and improve these skills?

There are several steps you can consider to enhance your skills in this area. Examples include continuous learning from attending workshops, webinars/conferences, seeking advice from those with professional insights and gaining hands-on experience through internships or research projects. It is important to stay up to date with the latest industry developments and to connect with others in the field.

The future of skills in life sciences

The life sciences sector is projected to create many new jobs over the coming years. This includes roles in biopharma and medtech due to growth and the replacement of retirees​.

According to the European Commission’s policy paper: “Biotechnology and life sciences help the EU to modernise its industry and agriculture, forestry, energy, food and feed sectors.” (European Commission).

  1. Job creation: The European Commission’s policy paper highlights that life sciences jobs are vital for healthcare innovation and environmental sustainability. Employment rates overall in the EU are projected to grow, with specific attention to sectors like life sciences. The anticipated rise in opportunities illustrates the pressing requirement for skilled workers that can drive future breakthroughs.
  2. A rise in the demand for skills: The life sciences industry needs employees with outstanding digital, computer science, and analytical skills. Leadership and the ability to work together across disciplines are also of extreme importance. Such skills are essential for the sector’s ongoing development and achievement. Digital health technologies are a growing segment of the medical technology market demonstrating the demand for IT skills in this area.
  3. A competitive workforce: The sector demonstrates a clear need for a highly skilled workforce to sustain a worldwide competitive edge. It is evident that this can be achieved more holistically through a growing initiative to attract talent at all levels. New talent is due to be sourced more willingly from the encouragement of apprenticeships, especially among SMEs. 
  4. Educational development: A proactive approach to talent sourcing ensures that both current and future skills gaps are addressed. This can maintain a workforce that is watertight and ready for new challenges and to stand the test of time. As such, any strategy to enhance life-long learning and academic development will help an organisation’s employees fill current and future skill gaps.
  5. Diversity and inclusion: There is a strong emphasis on promoting diversity within the workforce, making sure that careers in life sciences are appealing to a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds. This focus aims to create an inclusive environment where diverse employees can contribute their unique perspectives and talents.

In conclusion

The life sciences industry is growing, and the most in demand skills like molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, software development, research and development, and quality assurance are really valuable to employers. Learning and gaining experience are key to doing well in this field. With a considerable number of new jobs expected in the life sciences industry, these skills will be crucial for making true progress and new discoveries.


  1. European Commission. Biotechnology policy paper.
  2. LIFE Programme. European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency.

Our partners