Staffing for EU Expansion

Our client is a consumer healthcare company headquartered in Stockholm with varying portfolios of OTC pharmaceutical products as well as cosmetics, primarily in skin and foot care.

Originally only active in the Nordics, it had expanded rapidly with a 10x growth in staff numbers between 2018 and 2023, entering new European markets including the UK, Benelux, and Germany. This was achieved partially through acquisitions.

We were initially headhunting from this company when a regulatory manager we were talking to mentioned they needed staff too and connected our recruiter with the TA manager.

The Challenge
Given the rapid expansion, they required staff on both specialist and managerial levels. They specifically needed people with knowledge of quality and regulatory requirements in those new countries who were able to train the employees they gained through the acquisitions.

In addition, candidates needed to have a great cultural fit and be able to work in a fast-changing company that was expanding in multiple markets at once, acting as partners to the global organisation.

While the need to recruit in various new countries was a challenge for our client, we had teams with candidate networks and local market knowledge already covering those countries. We did, however, face a challenge with the tight budgets and comparatively higher salary expectations of relevant candidates.

For example, the medical advisor role in the UK. This was a critical role for the client to break into the new market but we knew it was quite a candidate-short market already.

We needed to find an MSL from a company within the Consumer Healthcare or Generics space who also had added responsibilities such as overseeing internal governance as well as marketing, training, and compliance on top of what is standard for the regular MSL role.

Our Process
Utilising our database and networks, we identified 15 relevant candidates, eight of whom were interested in the role. After initial screening interviews, we presented a shortlist of five, from which the client picked their two favourites.

After the final round of interviews, the preferred candidate had two other offers from larger pharmaceutical companies that were offering 10-15% higher salaries than our client had budgeted for. However, because we had stayed in touch with the candidate throughout the entire process and discussed this scenario, we were able to notify the client and find a compromise.

We knew the candidate preferred our client from a job perspective, but we managed to help the hiring manager negotiate a few extra benefits internally which made the offer more attractive based on what the candidate really valued. Ultimately, even with 5% lower salary, she did accept our offer in the end and is very happy in her current position.

The Outcome
We successfully filled all six of the roles given to us in this time: QA Manager/RP, RA Team Lead, PV Specialist, Marketing Manager, QA/RA Consultant, and Medical Advisor. We continue to work with this client.

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