In brief

In brief

  • CGT is advancing rapidly to fight cancer, neurogenerative and other diseases, but talent shortages and capability gaps threaten progress.
  • The technical complexity, need for speed and differences between development, manufacturing, and commercialization require new, specialized skills.
  • Report findings explore how organizations can move away from traditional recruitment methods, rethink workforce options and reimagine workplaces.

Advancements in Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) have led to quantifiable progress in stem-cell research and the fight against cancer, neurogenerative and other diseases.

A shortage of specifically skilled workers is having a severe negative impact on CGT scientific developments. The correlation between not having the key workers in place, and a potential slowdown in CGT research and development growth, is detrimental to the life sciences industry. To understand current challenges felt by organizations, and explore potential resolutions, we undertook a survey of 200 US-based, cross-sector CGT leaders from companies of all sizes. Participants included business unit and supply chain heads, as well as heads of HR, commercial, R&D and training.

The questions in the survey addressed three key considerations:

  1. Where are the biggest capability gaps and what CGT domains are most affected?
  2. What are CGT companies doing to address talent and capability challenges?
  3. How can CGT address the talent dilemma and leapfrog competitors?


of biopharma respondents believe the talent shortage challenge won’t change anytime soon.


of biotech respondents see machine learning and automation as having the biggest impact on skills development.


of biopharma respondents believe competitors are constantly poaching their talent.

Developing the most effective methods to find, keep and grow new talent is an exciting challenge. One that must be faced head-on to keep CGT developments moving at pace. Workforces are demanding more from employers and their workspace.

Flexible work hours, fast-track development models, training, increased use in mentoring, more team-based working, and technology are just some of the ways to attract and retain talent.

It is important to start thinking beyond traditional approaches to connect with skilled workers in scientific development, bioprocessing, and skilled talent in bioinformatics, machine learning, and data analytics. Organizations need to heavily invest in new methods to source workers from the talent marketplace. Taking a digitally enabled approach to recruitment is a dynamic model, that goes across organizational and geographical boundaries.

A talent marketplace strategy could facilitate the redefinition of workplaces and provide additional workforce choices that are not available with a closed talent strategy.

Once the talent is onboard, companies must invest in the right tools, equipment, and technologies to enable greater innovation in CGT. Creating a culture where workers are encouraged, supported, and equipped to radically improve patient outcomes, is imperative to flourish in a highly competitive and fast-moving industry.

Sanjay Srivastava, PhD



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