mexec memo November 2021

Welcome to our latest quarterly newsletter, which will also be the last one for 2021. We hope that you’ve found them useful in keeping you up-to-date with what’s happening around the industry and the latest tips when it comes to recruitment and job hunting. 

In this edition you might want to check out:

  • The latest Marilyn’s Musing on The Great Resignation
  • An interview with Michelle Gallaher on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
  • The Global Talent Visa Program – fast-tracking highly-skilled talent
  • AusBiotech’s Decadel Biotech Blueprint open for consultation
  • Upcoming events including the ARCS Australia Workforce and Capacity Summit

Early days, we know, but we’d also like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their support in what was once again a tumultuous year and wish you all health and happiness over the coming festive season.

Latest Marilyn’s Musing

The Great Resignation – I don’t want to talk about it!

Great Resignation

It’s in the news and in my inbox every day. News about the Great Resignation, the Big Resignation or what some people are calling the Big Quit. But while many people in the US or elsewhere might be changing jobs leading to this so-called phenomenon, we’re not actually seeing it here. Australians are in fact changing jobs LESS than before.

The brains trust at the Australian Bureau of Statistics will even back me up on this one. Their data on job mobility shows that only 7.5% of employed people changed jobs, the lowest annual job mobility rate on record. In the professional, scientific and technical industry the ABS reported a reduction in the number of people changing jobs from 9.2% to 8.3%.

Of course, this could change, but there are a few things worth considering about the ‘Great Resignation’ and then…I don’t want to talk about it anymore!

To read the full article including questions to ask yourself, click here.


Other articles that might be of interest to you:
Canva CV templates – a recruiter’s perspective

Industry News

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The Global Talent Visa Program – Building Australia’s
Health and Life Sciences Capabilities

mexec and The Migration Agency recently brought together the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs and key industry bodies to discuss the Global Talent Visa – a Government initiative to bring highly skilled talent into Australia.

The group heard from Peter Verwer AO, the Prime Minister’s special envoy for Global Business and Talent Attraction, about the Global Talent Visa and how Health and Life Sciences has been identified as a priority sector within the program.

The Global Talent Visa is unlike a standard work visa; highly skilled individuals with an international record of outstanding achievement are fast-tracked through a streamlined pathway to permanent residency. The program makes it easier and faster for exceptionally talented individuals and their families to relocate and work in Australia.

If you think your business could benefit from accessing the international talent pool, click here to read our fact sheet and learn more.

biotechnology blueprint

Have your say on Australia’s Biotechnology Future

As the national voice of the Australian biotech industry, AusBiotech, is leading the development of the Biotechnology Blueprint: A Decadal Strategy for the Australian Biotechnology Industry.

The Biotech Blueprint is an opportunity for the industry to speak with one voice to governments, identifying key policy priorities that can deliver benefits both for the industry and for the nation as a whole over the coming decade.

mexec’s Managing Director, Marilyn Jones, is a member of the Blueprint’s Expert Leadership Forum which recently presented the draft Blueprint at AusBiotech 2021.

The overarching ambition of the Blueprint is a shared vision for the Australian biotechnology industry to become:

  1. a more mature, vibrant ecosystem; 
  2. with a more established global and domestic standing, and 
  3. a stronger, more positive contributor to the Australian economy and its population. 
Sector-wide feedback is now being sought by 7 February 2022, with the draft Blueprint and consultation paper found here.

ARCS Australia have invited senior medtech and pharma managers, sector industry bodies and state-based government entities to participate in their upcoming Workforce and Capacity Summit.

The purpose of the 4-day summit is to generate ideas to address the skilled workforce shortfall in the sector, an issue recently confirmed in the MTP Connect Workforce Skill Report

A key output of the summit is to produce a white paper which will incorporate an action plan.

22-25 November (virtual)

1.5 hours per day
To learn more and to register click here 

Company Profile



mexec speaks with Michelle Gallaher, digital health entrepreneur and CEO of Opyl, on the role of artificial intelligence in healthcare.

Michelle Gallaher

Tell us a bit about what you do.
Opyl provides access to AI-assisted decision support and clinical trial recruitment technologies for the life sciences and health industries. Our proprietary digital platforms aim to improve decision-making particularly around improving efficiencies in clinical trial recruitment and protocol design as well as provide insight into patients and healthcare providers through social media. 
We currently have 3 main platforms:
  • Opin – a clinical trial recruitment platform which matches patients to clinical trials anywhere in the world
  • Trial Key – uses big data and predictive analytics to model trial protocols, assigning a probability of success and providing insight into how to adapt trial protocols to improve outcomes
  • Social Media Insights – a listening tool that gathers data and provides evidence-based insights from healthcare professionals, patients and carers who share their experience and opinions publicly to social media
How is AI-assisted technology changing the health and life sciences industry?

The role of AI is really to free up people from those mundane “middle-office” tasks, enabling them to focus on human-centred, high value activities. AI is about speed, accuracy, and accessibility as it can identify patterns in data that humans can’t, or at least at speed. Good quality AI requires good quality data, plus quality decisions and training from humans to ensure reliable results. You can’t have one without the other.

AI is changing the industry in terms of early diagnosis, drug discovery, treatment planning and care efficiencies, decision support and augmentation, rehabilitation and therapeutic optimisation and personalisation. Some therapeutic and discovery areas are more aligned with emerging AI technologies than others, but every area of the healthcare and life sciences sector is now coming into contact with AI technologies.

I’ve seen AI used in various ways across the industry. If you take drug development for example, the consequence of a delayed a clinical trial because of a poorly designed protocol or slow recruitment could mean significant erosion of the value of the product through lost revenue, reduced patent life, competitor advantage and most importantly the inability of a patient to access therapies or diagnostics. 

With 86% of clinical trials failing to recruit on time or on budget, AI has a valuable role to play in improving access for patients, as well as trial efficiencies and cost and risk reduction.

Can you share another example of where your technology has been used?

One that immediately comes to mind is a company that was developing a product for a neurodegenerative disorder. They wanted to identify key opinion leaders in the digital space and understand what these KOLs were talking about publicly in terms of treatment options, use of a competitor product, and to understand their influence relationships with each other. 

Through our social insights offering, we were able to gather business intelligence to identify digital KOLs (DOLs), map influence across their global networks, identify the specific language and terms they were using (which was unusual) and at the same time uncover unmet clinical needs and market messaging and adoption opportunities. 

How do you then filter these digital conversations to ensure the quality of the data being captured? 

We use natural language processing and machine learning, types of AI, to look at patterns, clusters and groups within text, filtering the noise from the value. We can also stack and analyse data from other sources with social data, to validate and expand information.

The life sciences industry is notorious for using jargon but the solution that we have is industry-specific and able to put these words into context. For example, the term “cell death” is generally a positive in life sciences, but if you were to just pick up the word “death” with an ordinary monitoring platform it would appear as a negative sentiment. 

How can companies use your technology to enhance their capabilities?
Opyl is all about digital transformation – using technologies to improve operational efficiencies, mainly through matching, capturing, analysing, using predictive analytics and modelling that can support our clients to make good, evidence-based business decisions and improve clinical trial efficiencies. 
Looking ahead, what impact do you think AI-assisted technology will have on the industry? 
AI and machine learning technologies are only escalating in scope and impact, so it’s really going to be about all of us becoming more comfortable working with data capture mechanisms and understanding how to effectively apply AI to deliver value. 

There’s always conversation about whether this technology will replace jobs, but the reality is that AI technology is an augmenter that relies on human input. Humans to ensure the right data is captured, humans to train the model, humans to interpret the outcomes and how their applied. 

AI can learn the ‘how’ to do something, but it will never learn the ‘why.’

For more information or to contact Michelle, please click here.

Current Opportunities

We’ve filled a lot of roles recently with roles filling quickly. To make sure you don’t miss out on your ideal role create a job alert via our new website.

Recent Events and Training

AusBiotech Conference 2021

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Panel discussion: Biotech Blueprint
– A decadal vision for Australian biotechnology

Over 130 people joined this engaging panel of industry leaders at the AusBiotech Conference recently to discuss what success could look like for our thriving sector in ten years’ time.  

The panel members which included mexec’s Marilyn Jones, called for the sector to have their say on Biotechnology Blueprint: A Decadal Strategy for the Australian Biotechnology Industry to help shape our sector’s vision for the future.

The panelists discussed the current and emerging issues for the sector, the unifying industry vision, the Blueprints’ ambitious plans for the sector and the recommendations it makes to improve the sector’s workforce development gaps.

Sector-wide feedback is now being sought by 7 February 2022, with the draft Blueprint and consultation paper found here.

Monash University PhD students,
Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (MNHS)

Monash 2

Marilyn Jones and Sue Forrest delivered a practical workshop to Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences PhD students including tips on how to write relevant and informative CVs to improve your chance of getting to interview.

A key aspect of the session was understanding how to articulate your technical and transferable skills not just the research projects you have undertaken. The group also learnt about the types of interview questions that might be asked, how to prepare your answers and have your personal pitch ready.

Some key take-aways from the workshop:

  • A well written CV helps open the door to that interview you are seeking
  • Clearly articulate your key achievements 
  • Cover letters must be no more than 1 page and emphasise at the start what skills and capabilities you bring that are relevant to the role
  • Interviews :  prepare, prepare, prepare!
  • Social media is valuable to enhance your profile and so you can be found by potential employers

Medtech Actuator Accelerator Program

Actuator MJ 2

This was Marilyns 4th year talking with the Medtech Actuator Accelerator Program cohort in a workshop covering corporate governance, growth and teams.

11 early-stage Medtech/Biotech teams from across Australia and Singapore joined her in an interactive session over an hour that covered:

  • An overview of HR processes, including hiring, on-boarding, performance and departures
  • Insight into current employment laws particularly when hiring your first employee –  what to expect and what not to do!
  • The differences between start-ups and larger companies hiring, and nuances around best practices.

A start-up company has different needs to an SME or multinational and mexec has experience recruiting for start-ups at all levels including Boards.

Upcoming events

Praxis – a range of online and face-to-face courses for research and clinical trials


16 BioForum – Translating Innovation: From Lab Bench to Marketplace 
17 Life as a Public Company Director
17-19 MedTech21
17-20 Mind Medicine Australia Global Summit
18 BioCurate – BioConnections Australia 2021
22-25 ARCS Workforce and Capacity Summit
30 BioMelbourne Network AGM


6-8 Australasian Pharmaceutical Science Association 2021 Annual Conference
7 REDI BioIntelect Venturer Program
8-9 Future of Health 2021

Links of Interest

Let’s Talk SciComm – Dr Jen Martin’s podcast on science communication
Employers Can Access Global Talent – article from The Migration Agency

A quick tip!

Turn off your email notifications to improve productivity.

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Select File > Options > Mail
Under Message Arrivals choose your preference

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Scroll down to Mail and choose your preference

Also a friendly reminder to check your junk mail daily!

Please don’t hesitate contact us if we can be of assistance with your job search or executive recruitment. 

Our mexec mascot Harry and the team would also like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy and healthy festive season.

Harry Xmas 2

With best wishes,

MJ signature

Marilyn Jones
Executive Director

1300 0 MEXEC

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