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RSA survey shows life sciences industry lags behind with strategies for talent management

Talent management is a favoured strategy for the majority of life science executives but they will have to depend more on their HR departments to make it happen.

An RSA survey of nearly 400 life sciences executives found over 90% identify talent management as a key priority for 2010 but only 26% have an active strategy in place for retaining talent and 68% have no clear leadership succession plan.

Seven out of 10 executives surveyed also believe a strong partnership with HR will be critical to the industry's success as it undergoes a series of fundamental changes to its business model in the coming decade.  

Targeting senior executives and HR directors in the global life sciences industry, the survey found that while 37% of executives would prefer their HR team to focus primarily on leadership development this year, in reality only 17% of them would get this priority. Instead, 25% of HR colleagues say their focus will need to be on re-structuring in 2010.

Going forward, 76% of executives want a clear, shared idea of their organisation's future skills requirement with colleagues in HR, but 47% do not have a process in place to assess employees against the business's medium- and long-term goals.

Nick Stephens, CEO of RSA, said: "As the industry emerges from recession and confidence returns about the future, now is the time to revisit the business partnership between line and HR, setting a proactive agenda to maximise the value of one of a business's most valuable assets - its people.

"The challenge this year is to balance long-term growth strategies with the more immediate pressures on headcount and short-term costs" said Nick Stephens, CEO of RSA. "As the survey indicates, executives know that talent management and retention processes are critical to achieving this balance, but alarmingly these critical processes are not always in place."