APAC Life Science and Healthcare Market and Talent Trends to Look Out For in 2024

Overview of the 2023 market – what’s the year been like?

As we delve into the market dynamics of 2023, it’s evident that the life science and healthcare (LSHC) market in Asia has continued to exhibit resilience and growth. This year, the demand for LSHC talent has remained robust.

Notably, in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong government has taken proactive steps to bolster its healthcare workforce by intensifying recruitment efforts both locally and overseas through measures such as hiring doctors from the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and placing a heightened emphasis on clinical skills development. Hong Kong also recruited 130 doctors from Britain in mid-2023, and eventually extended their recruitment drive to Australia.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, where life science contributes a significant portion to the country’s manufacturing GDP – according to Labiotech – the market has maintained its vibrancy, further solidifying the city-state’s position as the LSHC hub in Asia.

In China, there has been a substantial increase in government funding dedicated to LSHC – particularly as part of the Healthy China 2030 campaign. Being a long-term plan to boost and prioritise healthcare facilities and accessibility, Healthy China 2030 holds a strong focus on creating more healthcare job opportunities within the sector. For instance, PubMed (the National Library of Medicine explains that China intends to hire an additional 400,000 general practitioners (GPs) by 2030.

On that note, what can we anticipate in 2024 for the life science and healthcare market? Let’s look below.

1. APAC Pharmaceutical industry expected to flourish

According to Research and Markets, between 2022 to 2027, the pharmaceutical industry in the APAC region is projected to see a robust expansion of 4.2%. Locations like China and Japan, which are already dominant players in this sector, are expected to experience the strongest impacts. China is making its mark as a biopharma innovation hub. Pharmaceutical companies within China have initiated innovative approaches to enhance patients’ access to essential medicines, driven by the nation’s status as the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical market. Despite grappling with internal challenges over the past few years, such as pricing pressures, uncertain drug approval timelines, and the implementation of regulatory reforms, China continues to maintain its position as the world’s largest producer of pharmaceutical ingredients.

Additionally, India’s pharmaceutical market is on a trajectory of remarkable growth, with estimates suggesting it could reach a staggering US$130 billion by 2030 – as highlighted in the Economic Survey 2022-2023.

As the APAC pharmaceutical landscape evolves and expands, these key players, along with others in the region, are poised to shape the industry’s future, driving innovation, and meeting the healthcare needs of an increasingly demanding market.

2. Telehealth to grow increasingly popular                        

The rapid adoption of telehealth services has emerged as a transformative trend in the healthcare industry, with its prevalence nearly doubling since 2019. As we look forward to 2024, experts and analysts are forecasting even more substantial growth in this sector. The global pandemic served as a catalyst for the widespread acceptance of telehealth, as it became a critical tool for delivering healthcare services while minimising in-person interactions.

Source: Bain and Company

A noteworthy report from Bain and Company, focusing on healthcare market trends across APAC revealed a striking statistic: 56% of physicians surveyed stated that more than a quarter of their primary consultations could be effectively delivered through virtual means in the coming years. This statistic underscores the significant shift in the healthcare landscape, where both patients and healthcare professionals are increasingly open to the idea of remote consultations and virtual care options.

As telehealth technologies continue to evolve and become more integrated into healthcare systems, 2024 is expected to witness a further surge in telehealth adoption, with telemedicine services becoming an integral part of routine healthcare delivery, providing patients with greater flexibility and access to medical expertise.

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3. Greater movement of life science and healthcare talent across Asia

The demand for talent in the LSHC market in Asia has been particularly pronounced, with Singapore retaining its spot as the region’s hub. The Garden City’s strategic positioning has made it a magnet for talent acquisition, leading to an increased need for healthcare professionals. Recognising this demand, Singapore has taken several proactive measures to bolster its healthcare manpower, such as a comprehensive plan to hire more administrative and support healthcare employees and preparing accommodation facilities capable of housing 1,800 healthcare employees.

In neighbouring Hong Kong, despite witnessing the departure of some skilled professionals in 2023, this exodus has paradoxically created an even greater demand for LSHC talent in the region. As highlighted earlier, the scarcity of experienced healthcare professionals has prompted Hong Kong to intensify its recruitment efforts and explore innovative strategies for talent acquisition. As the LSHC sector in Asia continues to evolve, these measures reflect the region’s commitment to meeting the ever-growing demand for skilled professionals and ensuring the delivery of high-quality healthcare services to its population.

Read also: Navigating Career Opportunities in Life Sciences – Employee Stories

4. Talent shortage in Singapore’s biotech industry

According to the New Straits Times, Singapore is grappling with a substantial shortage of biotech talent, and this gap is projected to widen by a staggering 29.2% over the next decade. To address this talent deficit, Singapore has undertaken a series of strategic measures. One significant initiative is the SGInnovate’s Helix Immersion Programme, a visionary one-year on-the-job training program designed to enable biomedical research and academic professionals to gain invaluable industry experience across diverse roles, both within and outside the laboratory.

Additionally, Singapore has demonstrated its commitment to nurturing the biotech ecosystem by tripling the number of companies engaged in biotech-related activities compared to a decade ago. It has also established A*Star’s Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading (T-UP) programme to meet the industry’s pressing need for scientific talent, seconding nearly 70 researchers and scientists to 45 biotech-related companies.

The life science and healthcare market in Asia is slated to be a promising sector in 2024 with numerous opportunities emerging across various parts of the region. For jobseekers within the market, this is a great time to sharpen those skills and stand out against other candidates.

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