Building skills, finding talent in biomanufacturing

Everyone needs to find their place in the future economy, which will be led by knowledge-intensive sectors like biotech and biomanufacturing. For job-seekers, our programs will help you upskill into a great career.

Imagine building solutions

What if you could help create sustainable solutions to the world’s most complicated problems, and build a rewarding career at the same time? That’s the exciting promise of biotech and biomanufacturing in Canada. New strategies and policy frameworks have helped usher in a surge of opportunities, which means that now is the time to quickly upskill for a new career in biotech. 

In this article, we will take a look at just some of the opportunities available for Canadian workers in biomanufacturing. Just as important, we will look at some of the talent strategies that are available for innovative Canadian companies who are looking to fill critical positions to ensure growth and sustainability. At Upskill Canada, powered by Palette Skills, we bring great talent together with dynamic companies ready to hire. 

Spoiler alert: the secret to success for both workers and employers in Canada’s biotech sector can be found in a suite of industry-led rapid upskilling programs designed to build this country’s manufacturing sector

What is biomanufacturing? 

Before we begin, let’s take a step back and try to make sense of this new field of opportunity and innovation. According to the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), biomanufacturing is a manufacturing process that uses living cells to produce commercial products. 

As we’ve said before, these biomaterials might be sourced from different natural sources, including animal and plant cells, or they might be recovered from alternative resources such as agricultural waste streams. Biotech firms then use biomanufacturing processes to create materials and compounds like medicines, critical enzymes, textiles, and even alternatives to plastic. And here’s the thing: because biomanufacturing and biotech mimics natural systems and processes, it can help us make the things we need more sustainably and responsibly.

Canada’s biotech sector is bubbling

At Palette Skills, we’ve been excited about the opportunities for Canadians in biomanufacturing for some time. It’s one of the reasons why we are working with our many partners in the Upskill Canada network to deliver upskilling opportunities that will be relevant for workers and for employers who are eager to hire new talent. It’s also the reason why we are thrilled to share a pioneering macroeconomic report created in partnership with Deloitte that focuses on prospects for six high-growth sectors, including biomanufacturing.

According to the report, the biomanufacturing industry is a big player in the Canadian economy, as well as a key source of research and innovation. In 2021, for example, the industry employed more than 104,000 Canadians and it contributed more than  $16 billion in GDP in 2022. Opportunities in biomanufacturing are also being driven by funding and policy innovation from all levels of government. In 2021, Canada’s federal government launched “Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy” designed to boost capacity in the sector. With an investment commitment from the federal government to the tune of $1.2 billion, the strategy is not only designed to build research capacity, it’s also focused on addressing critical talent shortages across the country.

Biomanufacturing in Canada


Finding a career in biomanufacturing

All of this means that if you’ve been thinking about building a new career in a part of the economy that is dynamic and growing, then now is the time to get involved in biotech and biomanufacturing. As the Palette-Deloitte report makes clear, the biomanufacturing sector faces challenges when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. In fact, according to a 2021 study by BioTalent Canada, the biomanufacturing sector in this country will require over 16,000 workers by 2029, and an additional 5,000 in the biohealth sector. As things stand, it’s estimated that only 25 per cent of these roles will be filled.

If you’re not sure exactly where you fit, the list of occupations that need to be filled right now will surprise you. As the Palette-Deloitte report shows, employers need to fill a diverse array of positions, including HR specialists, IT support specialists, logistics managers, and software and web developers. These are in addition to positions you might expect, including career options that begin with working as a laboratory technician, a pathologists’ assistant technician, a quality control analyst, or as a scientific trial coordinator. 

Critical skills for biotech

If you have skills and education in STEM-related areas then there is a little doubt that you are already well positioned to take advantage of career opportunities in biomanufacturing. But the need for skilled workers extends beyond scientific expertise. Many positions in the field require post-secondary education and specialized knowledge in areas such as management, finance, as well as in complex areas such as legal and regulatory affairs.

So what are some of the key skills that all of these positions require, and that employers are looking for? Again, the report from Palette-Deloitte makes for some surprising reading, and reveals exactly where there are opportunities for you in biomanufacturing. Some of the top skills identified by industry players in the report include things like critical thinking, digital literacy, numeracy, and decision making. 

Helping employers find biotech talent

If your organization is involved in biomanufacturing, you already know that to enhance competitiveness and leadership, the sector must address key challenges. 

A significant concern for many employers is the shortage of skilled workers in areas as diverse as manufacturing and production, distribution and logistics, as well as in management, finance, and administration. To meet these and other obstacles, industry leaders are working to overcome misconceptions about educational requirements, ensuring that potential candidates are aware of the diverse opportunities available in the field.

The authors of the Palette-Deloitte study write that stakeholders in biomanufacturing have emphasized that Canada needs to be more creative in its response to the demands of the sector. Innovation and talent will go a long way toward attracting investment, which is why it’s critical to build new and non-traditional pipelines of domestic talent equipped with theoretical knowledge and hands-on, essential skills. At least one key solution lies in connecting with innovative, rapid upskilling programs like the ones pioneered by Upskill Canada, and powered by Palette Skills.

Future careers start now with upskilling 

Everyone needs to find their place in the future economy, which will be led by knowledge-intensive sectors like biotech and biomanufacturing. For job-seekers, our programs will help you upskill into a great career. From working as a laboratory technician, a manufacturing technician, or as a production technician, there’s no limit to your career pathway in biotech and biomanufacturing. 

And as an employer? There’s no limit to the kind of talent you’ll find when you connect with Upskill Canada, powered by Palette Skills. Find out more about our rapid upskilling programs in biomanufacturing here, and get involved with Upskill Canada today

Future occupationsKey skills
Medical laboratory technologists
  • Equipment and Tool Selection
  • Operation and Control
  • Operation Monitoring of Machinery and Equipment
Medical laboratory technicians
  • Equipment and Tool Selection
  • Operation and Control
  • Operation Monitoring of Machinery and Equipment
Pathologists’ assistants
  • Oral Communication: Oral Comprehension
  • Coordinating
  • Critical Thinking
Software engineers and designers
  • Digital Literacy
  • Digital Production
  • Evaluation

Key future skills for biomanufacturing

Analytical Skills

  • Problem solving
  • Information Handling
  • Data modeling and visualization


  • Regulatory knowledge

Technical Skills

  • Equipment and Tool Selection
  • Operation Monitoring of Machinery and Equipment
  • Researching and Investigating

Interpersonal Skills

  • Collaboration



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