Dare to share

Moving from "show stopper" to "game changer" in managing skills needs.

HR & Competence Working Group: Björn Henriksson (Nordic Interim), Hanna Sandvall (Randstad Sweden), Frida Lawenius (SwedenBIO), Ann Fredriksson (Vironova AB) & Petra Duprez (Biotage). Not pictured: Hani Aoun (MSD)

The overall availability of skills is limited and means that we are currently competing with each other for talent in the life sciences. A particular challenge for smaller companies is that they need to combine several competences in one person, while relying on excellence, which makes it difficult to match several competences in the same person.

Within the HR and Skills Working Group, we have therefore chosen to explore whether we can instead shift to smarter ways of using the skills resource. At the end of April, we sent out a mini-survey to SwedenBIO’s member companies to find out what their needs, wishes and experiences are. Many thanks to all of you who responded to the survey, it has provided valuable guidance for the working group’s further work on the issue.

The most prominent finding of the survey is that the need for part-time specialist skills exists, and appears to be independent of the phase or size of the company. 92% stated that they need specialist skills on a part-time basis.

Need for specialist expertise on a part-time basis

There is also interest in skills sharing, although not as clear-cut as the need for skills. 70% are interested in using consultancy services, which the vast majority already do. Two out of three stated that they are interested in sharing skills with each other by borrowing or lending skills resources or through joint employment. Interest in competence sharing is naturally highest among micro and small companies, but there is also interest among medium and large companies that responded to the survey.

Member companies that would consider sharing employees with another company

The phenomenon of sharing skills among themselves is also not as uncommon as we thought. Two out of five say they have previous experience with competence sharing. Most common is the experience of borrowing skills from, or lending skills to, another company. 29% have either borrowed and/or lent skills and 17% have experience of joint employment.

Experience in sharing skills with other activities

The most common is combined employment with academia, but 10 percent say they have had combined employment with another company, and employment with the health sector is also common.

Experience in sharing skills with other activities

We have received interesting answers, but it also raises many new questions. To learn more, the working group is now moving forward by setting up a couple of focus groups. Do you have experience or interest in competence sharing and are interested in participating in a focus group discussion? If so, please contact Frida Lawenius at frida.lawenius@swedenbio.se.

We hope to develop some concrete tools for sharing skills, such as checklists for borrowing and lending and agreements to manage pension rights in the case of joint employment.

The HR & Skills Working Group