Science is a continuously evolving industry
2020 will go down in history as the year the world was held hostage by COVID-19. The coronavirus uprooted our lives in the blink of an eye. From one day to the next, we were stripped of almost everything we knew. Unfortunately, most people know someone who has fallen victim to this invisible enemy – someone who became seriously ill or worse, died as a result of COVID-19.
Seemingly overnight, our lives were dictated by a statistical curve and by a desire to get that curve to trend downwards as quickly as possible. Doing so meant giving up a lot. Our friends and family were reduced to talking heads (with bad hair) on one of the many digital tools at our disposal. What a blessing this technology turned out to be. Handshakes and hugs were replaced by the impersonal elbow bump. Restaurants and cafés were forced to close their doors. Retailers and business owners saw their life’s work go up in smoke and companies that couldn't observe the safety measures found themselves hermetically sealed. Health care workers went above and beyond to keep themselves and their patients afloat.
In addition to the physical and emotional havoc brought by COVID-19, the pandemic has also had the most devastating economic impact since the Second World War. According to recent reports, the Belgian economy shrank 6.2% in 2020 – three times higher than during the 2009 financial crisis. At its lowest point, nearly 1.3 million people were temporarily unemployed, a staggering number that rocked the labour market. In Flanders, unemployment rose by 6.5% in December 2020 compared to the previous year, the biggest effect was felt in the hardest hit sectors. Fortunately, the future looks brighter with most macro economists predicting a fairly strong economic recovery in the second half of this year. It will, however, take some time to get back to pre-pandemic levels.
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Not only has the Belgian curve been stable (albeit still high) since December, pharmaceutical companies have managed to develop high-quality vaccines at an unprecedented rate, despite criticism from various corners. This is without a doubt a historic achievement. And Belgium played a crucial role in this. The pharmaceutical sector has contributed to our GDP for years now and is also one of our global showpieces thanks to our highly developed knowledge economy. And that's no different now. Despite the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the labour market, the pharmaceutical companies in our country have continued to invest and recruit. According to an Essenscia study in October 2020, more than 3,200 new hires took place up to that date and 1,000 vacancies were still unfilled (of which 1 in 3 required no experience at all!). While there are certainly differences per company, this is a promising sign, particularly for graduates with a strong scientific background.
Science Talents had an excellent year in 2020, and we even expect to move this trend into a higher gear in 2021. We enjoyed considerable growth in the pharmaceutical sector by continuing to support projects in crucial departments. We are grateful to be a trusted partner and we are proud of our consultants who, thanks to their experience, continue to be part of the solution to this global crisis. Day in, day out. Thanks to them, we will one day enjoy dinner at a restaurant and drinks on a terrace with total peace of mind. Thanks to them, we will one day attend festivals and other major events along with thousands of other visitors. Thanks to them, we will one day see our friends and family in real life, instead of digitally – and with great hair, no less. In short, these are the people who will take us back to the way things were.
In light of this, we recently launched our campaign “De Samenbrengers” (‘The Unifiers’). We are looking for people to help us make a difference. Feel free to have a look!
The future is bright. The message is to persevere. And of course to apply for a job with us.