Canada's bio-economy growing but at risk, study finds

    OTTAWA, June 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's biotechnology sector is strong
and growing, but immediate skills shortages threaten its sustainability as an
important emerging platform of Canada's economy. A ground-breaking new study
released today by BioTalent Canada reveals enormous growth in the sector over
the past two decades, with small well-established employers as the backbone.
However, biotechnology companies are struggling with a void of required skills
within the current workforce, and new employees entering the sector who aren't
    With more than 77 percent growth since 1988, Canada's bio-economy has
become a well-established sector, operating in every region of the country,
and in a vast cross-section of industries-from agriculture, to health, to the
environment, to bio-energy. "The breadth and depth of this sector is now, for
the first time ever, truly apparent," said Colette Rivet, Executive Director
of BioTalent Canada. "Biotechnology is strong, it's growing and it's
    However, Splicing the data: The critical role of human resources in
Canada's bio-economy, brings to light the significant human resource
challenges that continue to be the biggest hurdle for employers-a reality that
is having a growing impact on the sector's ability to stay ahead of the curve.
The study of the biotechnology industry labour market reveals that 35 per cent
of employers surveyed face recruitment and retention challenges and
34 per cent are dealing with skills shortages.
    "This study triggers some alarms," said Rivet. "People and their skills
are the key, and we need to work together on these human resource issues to
strengthen the sector's viability."
    The study makes clear that stakeholders-governments, associations,
educational institutions and industry-must understand and prioritize human
resources. This not only involves direct investment in HR to attract job-ready
employees, but also investing money in companies themselves. Companies need
capital to deepen their HR capacity. However, investors are hesitant with
companies that don't have the talent already in place. As well, educational
institutions should be ready to update their curriculum to produce more
job-ready graduates.
    BioTalent Canada is leveraging its unique position as a facilitator
between industry, government, educational institutions and the biotechnology
workforce. It is working to connect job seekers and employers and help
companies improve their HR practices so they can better acquire and retain
skilled staff.

    About BioTalent Canada

    BioTalent Canada is Canada's leading source for human resource
information and biotechnology skills development. BioTalent Canada's research,
reports, courses, employment bank, and programs promote careers, assist
companies with human resource issues, and encourage continuing education
within the industry.

    This project is funded by the Government of Canada's Sector Council

For further information:

For further information: Kelly Goulet-Lewis, Blueprint Public Relations,
(613) 237-7400 ext. 22, Cell: (613) 769-3411,; Siobhan
Williams, BioTalent Canada, (613) 235-1402 ext. 229,

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BioTalent Canada

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