The UK has a science skills shortage and to maintain its world leading position in medical research and development, something must be done. A study by STEM learning found that the current skills shortage is costing businesses £1.5 billion a year in temporary staffing, recruitment, training costs and inflated salaries.
Many projects require PhD level scientists, trained in a specific field, and these are hard to come by. The recruitment challenge leaves laboratory managers with long recruitment times, heavy training requirements and delays to projects.
With the UK’s imminent exit from the EU, there is a question mark over the future of access to EU skills, which could exacerbate the issue – we could even see research and development moving abroad.
One way of tackling recruitment challenges is to tap into the gig economy. There is a wealth of highly qualified PhD scientists out there, the challenge is accessing their talent.
Laboratory managers can opt for hiring freelance scientists to help with experiment design, statistical analysis, report writing and more. The benefits include flexibility, predictable cost and easy access to high-level skills. Freelancers remove the need to hire as many full-time members of staff and for some purposes, laboratory managers can access the skills of people all over the globe. For the scientist, it gives them the opportunity to be in control of when, where and what they work on.