Rapid Expansion During Pandemic

What: A 5+ billion Swiss Franc annual turnover pharmaceutical company
Where: Switzerland
The challenge: Rapid expansion during the covid pandemic

Key stats
84 Candidates placed in 12 months
80% of candidates relocated for the role
1.2m Swiss Franc project value

In 2020, one of our Swiss-based clients decided to massively expand its manufacturing facilities in a short period of time in order to aid the production of Covid vaccines and meet huge customer demand.

In particular, they were looking for people with experience in biologics manufacturing, which was a skillset in short supply and high demand. Adding to the challenge was this came at the height of covid-related lockdowns and uncertainty.

Initially, NonStop had a small number of MSAT positions that other agencies were struggling to fill. We assigned three recruiters, who were specialists in the organic manufacturing sector, to these vacancies and managed to fill four of the six positions within eight weeks of the briefing.

As a result of this early success, other roles were assigned to us and within three months we became the sole supplier for the MSAT and Bioprocessing roles. We also managed to place several candidates in OPEX, QA and analytical development.

Overcoming the remote site location

The client’s site was not close to a major city or airport and as such the local talent pool was limited. It was clear early on we would need candidates who could relocate. We worked closely with the client to really understand how to sell and best present the location and the site, and the relocation assistance. We ultimately screened candidates early on regarding the challenges of relocation to reduce the chances of candidates dropping out of the process at late stages.

Hiring couples

Given the number of people hired, we often found the challenge that candidates also needed help with their partners changing jobs. We worked closely with the client on this and actually managed to have eight couples hired by the client during the process.

The needs of the partner were another early screening point, so we could make the client aware in good time that potentially both people could be suited to them. In addition to this, we helped a number of couples with information about the local area and helped put their minds at ease in terms of the job opportunities that would be present for them.

Hiring people from across the world

It was clear that given the high volume of candidates needed, we would struggle to get this type of talent from just the local region. Early on in the project, we involved recruitment consultants working similar roles across Europe to target biotech hubs in areas such as Italy, Spain, Ireland and Iceland.

This gave the client a range of new candidates they didn’t have much access to prior to our campaign. When we struggled to keep momentum, we expanded further and even made hires from the US, Argentina, India and Korea.

As a company, we had to think outside the box, conduct extensive market and competitor research, and pool the internal knowledge we had in these areas.

Account management

We ensured one of our most experienced recruiters was in charge of this account, someone who had met with the client management already and knew the site well. Given the scale of this project, we developed a process with the client to ensure that they also had a second point of contact and an escalation point if required.

Part of this account management process was to develop a weekly quantitative report for the recruitment KPIs so the client could see our overall performance. In addition, a video call with the client’s TA partners to update them on progress was scheduled twice a week.


Our ability to locate the right talent in the region and bring it in from around the world enabled the client to rapidly expand its business in what seemed an impossible situation.

The client has achieved its production targets and we continue to support them in their recruitment needs in Switzerland and abroad when required.