Many job roles within the life science, diagnostics and analytical markets have been negatively impacted by Covid-19. Field sales and service engineers who would usually be out in the field have had to find new and innovative ways to engage with their customers remotely, whilst those working in areas such as oncology have instead found their industries taking a back seat. Some companies have felt confident enough to continue hiring, particularly in industries experiencing positive growth, but naturally others have felt apprehensive about their current plans or their employee’s ability to effectively conduct their roles, leading them to pause recruitment in the short term.

With lockdowns easing and a certain level of acceptance for the ‘new normal’, we have seen a positive increase in opportunities in the France and Benelux regions within the last month or so. Companies who had paused their roles are now rushing to hire having been without the talent they need for quite some time. But in which areas are we seeing the most opportunities, has lockdown changed employers’ perceptions of remote working and what can you expect from the interview process?

The current demand for talent

Recruitment activity has increased across the life science, diagnostic and analytical markets, and we are seeing some clear trends for specific roles. These include sales, marketing, and field service engineer opportunities.


Sales professionals have really struggled in recent months as lockdowns have restricted their ability to travel across territories and to sell face-to-face. Now lockdowns are being lifted, this is one of the key areas that companies are investing in, to increase their revenues.

Not only that, Covid-19 has also shown companies that they don’t need a sales force based purely in field, leading to an increase in both inside sales and home working opportunities. This change suits many candidates we are speaking to as plenty of time at home has led them to reconsider their work-life balance. Many are now looking for opportunities with 50% travel, despite having happily considered opportunities with 80% travel previously.


Marketing roles have massively increased amongst the companies I have been working with. Coronavirus has given businesses a unique opportunity to press the pause button and really re-evaluate their wider plans and what they need to do to get there. They are keen to invest in their marketing functions to leave their businesses in a stronger position.

Field Service Engineers

Except for sectors such as clinical and medical diagnostics; where maintaining and fixing key diagnostic instruments in hospitals and labs was deemed crucial, field service engineers have struggled to visit their clients over the last few months. They have adapted and used technology to support their customers as much as they realistically can, but to effectively support their customers and clear a backlog of support, companies are making up for lost time and increasing their field service teams.

How has Covid-19 changed what employers are looking for?

Companies are expanding the locations they are willing to recruit from

Businesses now have the infrastructure in place to facilitate remote working, and customers have adapted to digital engagement instead of the usual face-to-face meet. This has challenged managers’ beliefs over where roles need to be based, not just across those I have mentioned previously but also for roles such as field application scientists. In fact, one of my clients in genomics is a prime example; the business is looking for five field application scientist positions, and they are now interviewing candidates all over Europe. This will give them access to a wider talent pool, and as a job searcher, the opportunities open to you have massively increased.

There is a renewed emphasis on soft skills, such as communication skills

A lot of roles, particularly sales and service engineers, in the life science, diagnostic and analytical markets have always had a certain element of remote working from the office but being remote from customers has been a new challenge. Employers are putting a greater value on soft skills such as communication and adaptability. Covid-19 is not over, and companies need employees that can demonstrate these skills.

How has the interview process changed?

This is something job searchers are naturally concerned about, but interviews have not stopped – companies have just adapted their processes. They have been using video conferencing software for at least the first stage interviews, and with lockdowns easing, face-to-face interviews are increasing. One of my candidates based in the South of France was recently flown to Belgium for a final face-to-face after having conducted previous stages through video. Compared to the start of the pandemic, companies are now more willing to conduct large amounts of the interview process remotely, as they know Covid-19 will be a disruptor for some time to come.

This is just a brief overview of what is happening in the market across the job market in France and the Benelux region. If you are looking for more information about how the market is looking for any specific roles, please get in touch.