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By Karla Talanian, Director of Talent and Workforce Development, MassBioEd

To reduce the talent gap, companies must invest in developing these abilities.

Everyone talks about the importance of soft skills, yet, when pressed, few hiring managers can clearly articulate what they mean. MassBioEd wanted to delve more deeply into this topic for the benefit of the life sciences workforce. Partnering with Cambridge Corporate Training, we embarked on a journey of qualitative research to better understand how these skills affect individuals in this field, and also how they can impact the success or failure of projects and companies.

The research is the first of its kind and comprises in-depth interviews with dozens of scientists and human resources executives at Massachusetts life sciences companies. Multi-national pharmaceutical companies, rapidly maturing enterprises, and very small start-ups were represented. Qualitative analysis of the interview data revealed a distinctive mapping of these skills and behaviors, which the study extends to implications for the health of the life sciences industry overall. We are particularly intrigued by how essential these soft skills are in turning the efforts of scientific research into a successful company.

We invite you to read the report for yourself and contemplate how the findings are applicable to your team. MassBioEd will be developing courses to address the development of particular soft skills in the life sciences. Stay tuned for future news!

Read the full report in Scientific American.

“We hope this essay is received as a call to action for companies to invest in developing the S.O.F.T. skills of their employees and for the industry at large to adopt a common language for describing them—along with uniform guidelines to help employees and companies achieve their fullest potential and, ultimately, to help shrink the talent gap that threatens the industry’s success.”

Karla Talanian, Jennifer Lawrence, Luke Haubenstock