Latest Figures Indicate Skill Shortages and Access to Capital Challenge Growth of the Canadian Bio-economy

Landmark National Labour Market Information (LMI) Study identifies biotech industry workforce trends.

OTTAWA, Canada – September 19, 2013 – BioTalent Canada, along with Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), released a new Labour Market Information (LMI) report today indicating that skills shortages and access to capital remain barriers to product development and business goals in Canada’s biotech industry. The report “Sequencing the data, People – Driving Canada’s Bio-economy” identifies key human resources (HR) challenges and trends for Canada’s biotech industry across all subsectors including life sciences and pharmaceuticals. With its partners, BioTalent Canada surveyed over 240 biotech companies to identify HR needs. This statistically significant report shows companies continue to pursue paths to commercialization and indicates that having access to talent with the right skills is a critical factor in achieving success.

2013 Key labour market findings:

Capital: The single greatest challenge to product and service development is limited access to capital, which has increased from 65.9% to 73.8% between 2008 and 2013.
Skills Shortages: Skills shortages still remain an issue; 33.2% of companies report skills shortages among staff, which is in line with the 34.4% reported in 2008. Of those reporting skills shortages, 40% indicate it had a negative impact on their company.
Looking Ahead: Companies expect limited access to financial capital (19.83%) and a lack of practical/non-academic skills (16.53%) to be the biggest challenges in the next three to five years.
“These challenges are opportunities for industry, government, and academia to develop programs that will have a positive effect on the industry’s success, much like our Career Focus wage subsidy program has had,” said Rob Henderson, President of BioTalent Canada. “The industry and partner support from Rx&D, Life Sciences Ontario, Life Sciences Association of Manitoba,PEI BioAlliance and Scotiabank StartRight for this study and report shows how important talent is to the industry’s success. We plan to work with our national and provincial partners to address these HR issues in the days ahead so the industry can focus on its real work – innovation, revenue and employment.”

“We are pleased to be working with BioTalent Canada to identify key HR issues so we can help create the right environment to foster innovation,” said Russell Williams, President of Rx&D. “New medicines and vaccines play an important role in improving health outcomes for Canadians and contributing to health-care sustainability. Creating an environment in which companies have access to skilled talent and capital to innovate will allow them to continue discovering new medicines and vaccinesimproving the lives of patients and their families, and investing in Canada and our communities.”

As an effort to understand the importance of meeting the current and evolving needs of the industry, this new LMI report shows how the industry continues to redefine itself and examines the human resources trends in Canada’s bio-economy, along with how they impact companies from all subsectors, sizes, and stages of growth, from all regions across Canada.

To view or download a copy of the full report, visit

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About BioTalent Canada

BioTalent Canada is the HR hub of Canada’s bio-economy. As a national non-profit partnership organization, BioTalent Canada connects employers with job seekers, delivers human resource information and skills development tools to the bio-economy to ensure the industry has access to job-ready people.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program.

About Rx&D

Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents the men and women working for more than 50 member companies which invest more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada’s knowledge-based economy, contributing over $3 billion to the Canadian economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.

For more information contact:

Siobhan Williams
Director, Marketing and Communications

BioTalent Canada
Telephone: 613-235-1402 ext. 229
E-mail: [email protected]

Isabelle Robillard

Director, Media Relations


Telephone: 613-236-0455 ext. 831
E-mail: [email protected]