are you still hiring medical writers who only write?

  • workforce insights
  • September 19, 2017

It’s a good bet that if you’re not recruiting new medical writers now, you will be within the next several months. As the Life Sciences industry continues its rapid growth, our research finds that the demand for medical writers mirrors that growth. As a trusted staffing partner and advocate for thousands of life sciences candidates, we recommend you look for candidates with a range of skills beyond writing proficiency and strive to accommodate candidates' expectations for more flexibility in their work schedules and locations.

The era of specialization is over. Just because someone has the title "Medical Writer" on his or her business card, they may be able to fill multiple roles. The American Medical Writers Association has the word “Writers” in its title, but it refers to its professional members as “medical communicators” because they do more than just write.

Medical communicators may also serve as editors, proofreaders, health care journalists, supervisors, project managers, media relations specialists, educators and government affairs liaisons. Focus your recruiting efforts on finding medical communicators who know how to gather, organize, interpret, evaluate and present information in a manner appropriate for a variety of audiences, such as internal stakeholders, regulators, investors, the media, patients and business partners.

For example, your organization may need medical writers to produce the documents required to move a new drug or device through clinical trials and FDA approval, including review by institutional review boards (IRBs). You may also require them to take the lead in those submission processes.

When you think of a medical writer, you may picture someone working alone hunched over a keyboard. But today, medical writers must have the excellent communication skills and leadership abilities necessary to work with multiple internal and external stakeholders. They may be responsible for overseeing all aspects of a project to ensure deadlines are met and materials move through complex review and approval processes.

medical writers have new expectations of employers.

Medical writers embrace a wide range of responsibilities, and in return, they increasingly expect the freedom to work when and where they want to maintain a work-life balance. That means working remotely part- or full-time, which is why we included Medical Writers on our recent “top five pharma work-from-home jobs” list.

In this regard, medical writers are representative of a growing trend across all industries. According to a recent survey by Softchoice, nearly three-quarters of North American office workers are willing to quit their jobs and move to an organization that lets them work remotely more frequently, even without a pay increase.

Permitting medical writers to work remotely may also require an investment in the technologies and equipment they will need to get their work done. Softchoice reports that 85 percent of employees expect their employers to provide some sort of technology that allows them to work and collaborate from anywhere. Writers don’t need cutting-edge, high-powered technologies, but they do require a laptop loaded with the document management, collaboration (e.g., Slack), project management (e.g., JIRA) and communications software (e.g., Skype) your organization uses, a high-speed internet connection, a VoIP-enabled phone system, etc.

The medical writing field is extremely competitive, so finding and hiring the most qualified candidates requires you to strike a balance between thoroughly vetting applicants and expediting the hiring process. We have helped hundreds of life sciences organizations make that process more efficient and effective.

Contact us today to learn more about how Randstad Life Sciences can assist in all of your staffing and business needs.