Hudson RPO Helps UCB Expand China Operations
With € 3.4 billion in revenues, operations in approximately 40 countries, and nearly 9,000 employees, Belgium-based UCB is the world's fifth-largest bio-pharma company with a portfolio of drugs focusing on immunology and the central nervous system.
In 2013, UCB was planning a large expansion of its China operations over the next three years. Following the success of the two-year partnership with Hudson RPO in Europe and the United States, UCB asked Hudson RPO China to recruit 250 sales and 60 non-sales positions by June 2014.
Given that the UCB HR team in China had previously been doing all of its recruiting through agencies, a recruitment solution provided by a single provider made sense from a cost and efficiency perspective. And, knowing Hudson’s work from Europe and the United States, the HR team was confident that Hudson RPO China could do the job.
UCB doesn’t have the brand recognition of other large pharmaceutical companies in China, so recruiting was expected to be challenging. The Hudson team knew that they would need to deeply understand the brand and culture in order to sell it to potential candidates. This deep understanding of the business contributed to Hudson’s success at convincing such a large number of candidates to interview and consider a career move to UCB.
THE RECRUITMENT SOLUTION:
The project began with a team of four recruiters, two researchers and two support staff members. The work started small with15 positions in the first month, and then 25 in each of the following five months. The team then up-scaled to five recruiters, three researchers and three team coordinators.
Initially, UCB wanted the 250 sales positions they requested to be filled by June 2014. Then, in late November 2013, the company moved that deadline up to March and eventually to the end of February 2014. UCB also needed to fill 25 Medical Science Liaison (MSL) positions by the end of February. MSL professionals are difficult to find and even more difficult to convince to change employers. Their work is dependent on in-depth knowledge of their employers’ products, and that takes time to develop.
Hudson worked with the UCB HR team in planning the expansion project, providing advice on timing, locations and processes for recruiting for such a large volume of positions. Sourcing strategies, which included major China job boards and LinkedIn, were put in place by Hudson, and an employee referral campaign was refreshed, all of which resulted in a strong candidate flow.
Given the approaching deadline, the Hudson RPO China team increased its productivity and output, filling 110 positions in December 2013, 88 in January 2014, with additional hires being finalised over the next two months.
For the MSL initiative, Hudson RPO talent mapped more than 850 professionals across China, pre-screened the applicants down to a qualified group and managed them through the interview and selection process.
Hudson exceeded UCB’s requirements for the 25 MSL positions by finishing slightly ahead of the deadline. All candidates were of the highest quality with all of them holding at least a master’s degree and 68 percent having previous corporate experience.
Hudson is gearing up again for the next phase of UCB’s expansion plan beginning in Q4 2014, with an approximately 90 new headcounts required
Based on the success of the work in China, Hudson RPO rolled out the solution into India as well starting in September 2013. A team of three is in place and is consulting with the senior management team in UCB India.
Having recruited more than 90 positions since the go-live, the Hudson RPO team in India is facing many of the same challenges the China team experienced, and in a very broad geographical area.
- Having already filled 130 sales positions in the preceding five months, the Hudson RPO team filled 110 sales positions in December, 88 in January, and 53 others in February, meeting the ambitious deadline the client had set.
- The team exceeded UCB’s requirements for the 25 MSL positions by finishing slightly ahead of the deadline.
- Hudson RPO also filled the 60 non-sales positions, which included the MSLs and compliance, regulatory and HR roles, in the same timeframe.