Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Deirdre O'Donovan


In 2017, Ireland was named the best country in the world for attracting high-value foreign direct investment for the sixth year in a row and is home to the top ten global Life Science organisations. The Life Science industry in Ireland depends on a consistent pipeline of talent to realise the growth incentivised by this investment and as the war for talent rages, there is unrelenting pressure on these organisations to attract, manage, develop, engage and retain highly skilled STEM talent. The talent focus, consequently, has to become more strategic.

This thesis focuses on the extent to which Strategic Talent Management is understood, and properly utilised, in the Life Science Sector in Ireland. This sector is chosen as the focus of the study due to the significant presence of, and investment in, this sector in Ireland. In depth semi structured interviews are conducted with five Senior HR Professionals from multinational organisations within the sector to support the study.

Ultimately, the study established the lack of understanding of the concept of Strategic Talent Management in the Life Science sector in Ireland. It becomes clear that there is a perceived confusion between Strategic Talent Management and Talent Development.

A second salient finding illustrated that elements of a Talent Management strategy are utilised in industry, but not in a strategic way. The study concluded that elements of a Talent Management strategy are applied as organisational tools, however these tools are not perceived, or used, in a tactical manner.

Additionally, a further prominent finding demonstrated the lack of confidence HR has in the ability of Line Managers to deploy a Talent Management strategy. Linked to this, the study also determined that there are a lack of robust processes in place to support the effective deployment of a Talent Management strategy.

Finally, a fifth key finding delineated a sense of overconfidence in the reputation of the Life Science sector, particularly the confidence of the longer established players in the sector is noted. This overconfidence is predicted to have a negative impact as the war for talent strengthens

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