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HKLSS Announces Survey Results of “Nurturing Life Sciences Talent”

Respondents Show a Surge of Confidence in Life Sciences Prospects

HKLSS "Nurturing Life Sciences Talent" Survey Result 2022

The 2022-23 Hong Kong Budget reinforces a number of policies to promote life and health scientific research, fostering the development of innovation and technology. Hong Kong Life Sciences Society (HKLSS or the Society) is dedicated to building a dynamic life sciences ecosystem in Hong Kong. To cater industry booms, HKLSS has put in a lot of efforts in nurturing life sciences talent over the past few years, including the implementation of the summer internship program and mentorship scheme. HKLSS announces the survey results of “Nurturing Life Sciences Talent” today. 

The survey “Nurturing Life Sciences Talent” collected 201 responses between early-December 2021 and mid-February 2022. The results were compared with our relevant survey conducted between early-December 2018 and mid-February 2019, with 337 responses. Respondents of both surveys are undergraduate, postgraduate and recent graduate pursuing life sciences-related studies. Almost 60% of respondents are females. Nearly 60% of 2022 survey respondents come from local universities, including the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, etc.

The survey mainly investigates the opinions of life sciences students about internship opportunities in Hong Kong and mainland China, including their preference on the destination, type of company and scope of work when undertaking an internship, as well as their insights into future career prospects. This helps the Society better understand key needs of emerging talent in the field of life sciences, optimize talent cultivation activities and provide timely support to cope with the rapid industry growth.

More Life Sciences Talent Hold a Positive Outlook of the Industry

The two surveys explore students’ career aspirations in life sciences. A surge of optimism is showcased regarding the outlook of the industry. The number of students being “Extremely Optimistic” and “Very Optimistic” about the industry prospects has risen from 25% in 2019 to 54% in 2022. There is also a sharp increase for the number of students being “Extremely Determined” and “Very Determined” in staying in the industry after graduation, from 30% in 2019 to 69% in 2022.

Internship Opportunities in Great Anticipation to Advance Future Career Development 

The 2022 survey indicates that 84% of students consider life sciences internship opportunities in Hong Kong to be “Extremely Attractive” and “Very Attractive”, with an average rating of 4.26 (out of 5). For the internship opportunities taken place in mainland China, 46% of students consider it to be “Extremely Attractive” and “Very Attractive”, with an average rating of 3.45. 83% of students reflect that “To Advance Future Career Development” will be the biggest motivation to apply for a life sciences internship program.

Hong Kong Ranked as the Most Preferred City to Undertake Internship Pharmaceutical Companies and Biotech Start-ups Top the Priority

"Nurturing Life Sciences Talent" Survey Result 2022

The 2022 survey indicates Hong Kong to be the most preferred mainland China city to undertake internship, followed by Shanghai and Shenzhen. 41% of students opt for “Working at a Multinational Company”, with “Pharmaceutical Companies” (30%) and “Biotech Start-ups” (31%) as popular choices. 82% of respondents are most interested in “Research and Development”. Other selections are “Business Development” (54%), “Lab-based Research” (49%) and “Communications and Government Affairs” (42%).

Professors and Industry Mentors Offer Study and Career Guidance

48% of students find the on-campus career services only “Fairly Useful” in helping with post-graduation or career plans in life sciences. Majority of respondents choose to “Research on Their Own” (76%) or “Turn to Professors for Advice” (73%). The results also witness an increase in “Seeking Advice from Industry Mentors”, from 48% in 2019 to 71% in 2022.

HKLSS Continues Scaling Talent Cultivation Activities to Expand the Talent Pool

“Global Internship Program” is considered to be most helpful (84%) if organized by the Society. There is also a significant increase of students favoring the “Mentorship Scheme” (2022: 81%; 2019: 49%) and “Cross-disciplinary Activities” (2022: 76%; 2019: 59%), followed by “Networking with Researchers and Entrepreneurs” (67%) and “Scholarship for Students Majoring Life Sciences / Biomedical Science” (64%).

Prof Ken Wong, Executive Director of Hong Kong Life Sciences Society made the following conclusions and recommendations at the survey results announcement press conference:

1. There is a surge of confidence in life sciences prospects and stronger determination to stay in the industry

2. Students in both surveys are very career oriented

3. Professors and industry mentors help career development

4. HKLSS will work more closely with career centers and relevant academic departments of local universities in career preparation

5. Establish scholarship awards to support outstanding students to pursue a life sciences or biomedical science major, and build a sustainable talent pipeline in Hong Kong’s life sciences sector

6. Explore to expand internships in Hong Kong and mainland China into a global internship program, covering research centers in Europe and the US

7. Continue bridging the gap of relevant local subsidized internship programs, e.g. to complement the STEM Subsidized Internship Scheme by the Innovation and Technology Commission. The Society’s summer internship program attracts more Hong Kong students pursuing life sciences / biomedical science overseas to come back and work in Hong Kong / mainland China

8. Collaborate with the private sectors and universities to create more “wet-lab” R&D opportunities / job diversity (interdisciplinary: investment, public health, AI or machine learning)

9. Join forces with local pharma companies to create more short-term job / internship opportunities

10. HKLSS supports the HKSAR government to attract more multinational companies and biotech start-ups to have their regional headquarters in Hong Kong, and promote Hong Kong as a biotech R&D and investment hub

For detailed survey results, please refer to this link. (Only available in Traditional Chinese)