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How Does Lockdown Lifting Affect Your Search for Life Sciences Candidates?

28 June 2021

By Jay Freeman

How Does Lockdown Lifting Affect Your Search for Life Sciences Candidates?

There have been a number of changes in the life sciences sector throughout lockdown, including record-high investments, rapid digitalisation, a spotlight on diversity and inclusion and sustainability practices, and a shift of in-demand skills in the sector.

For those looking to hire top talent, this might seem like a lot to contend with at a time where supply isn’t quite meeting demand.

So, what are the changes that might affect your search for life sciences candidates?

Changing skillsets

The need for fast, efficient procedures and processes has been a key element in the life sciences sector during lockdown, and is a reason why the sector has still experienced growth at a time when the majority of other industries were struggling.

Complex technical challenges are part and parcel of the sector, and coming up with the technical solutions for lockdown has meant that there are many key soft skills that we can expect to be a key area of focus for hiring managers.

Adaptability, problem-solving, flexible communication, and resilience are all skills expected to be of high importance as life sciences continues to innovate.

There is also the necessity for skills to be adaptive in leadership roles, as companies move towards a more networked ecosystem model, meaning the entire system has to work coherently.

Leadership also plays into the development of diversity and inclusion efforts, as 40% of executives believe leadership development to be a key factor in deepening and broadening partnering activity and creating more value, which requires partnership-management skills.

In essence, not only are many soft skills in demand, particularly in relation to digital innovation, but leadership qualities are of equal importance to organisations looking to have more agility.

Shifting priorities for candidates

Sustainability, and diversity and inclusion, offer a competitive advantage for a life sciences organisation.

Lockdown brought time for a renewed focus on the ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) across industries, and life sciences is no different.

Given that millennials are set to dominate the global workforce by 2025, their attitudes towards key CSR issues ought to be paramount for hiring managers looking to fill skills gaps, alongside general employee attitudes.

Take a look at some of the research into employee attitudes around CSR below.

Here’s why sustainability matters:

  • 30% of employees have left a job in the past due to their employer’s lack of sustainability plan

  • 70% of survey respondents were likelier to work at an organisation with a strong environmental agenda 

  • 40% of respondents said they’ve chosen a job in the past due to a company performing better on sustainability than the alternative

Here’s why diversity matters:

  • When choosing a place to work, 67% of people consider diversity to be a significant factor

  • 69% of millennials with diverse leaders or management teams felt their workplace was more stimulating and motivating 

  • 47% of millennials prioritise diversity when considering organisations as a future employer3

Though diversity and inclusion strategies and sustainability efforts were on the agenda previously, lockdown has shone a spotlight on the necessity for both in order for an organisation to thrive and innovate.

Changes to the way work is done

Lockdown has changed the way that the industry works on a large scale.

As a result, many of the processes are likely to change and adapt to a ‘new normal’, including remote, analytics-enabled clinical trials, more localised supply chain-models to meet demand, and redesigning the hire-to-retire talent life cycle.

Many of these changes aim to drive better engagement and revenue growth, whilst also continuing the efficiency that was seen during lockdown.

Given that this new work needs to be sustained in order to meet the above results, the main emphasis is on upskilling and hiring, with an emphasis on skills that drive the digital change that has been accelerating in the industry for some time now.

With automation still being a considerable area of concern, hiring and retaining top talent is critical to the success of the changes in the sector.

This includes having a clear structure and strategy on diversity and inclusion throughout the hiring process – look at our blog post on creating a diversity and inclusion strategy to find out more.

The influence of investment

The supply of top talent in life sciences has rarely met the demand.

However, as investments continue to hit record-high levels in the sector, there is the appeal of growth for candidates, who may be interested in the opportunity to work in a sector that is innovative and highly invested in.

The role of life sciences during the pandemic has not only increased investment for it, but also positively influenced the public perception of the sector, as it is providing towards the ‘greater good’.

This gives a basis for value for candidates, as many are not only looking for a career, but also for a sense of fulfilment and value in their work.

The resilience of the industry also has an appeal to potential candidates, which is due to increased investment keeping the industry in a state of growth at a time when many others are still being negatively impacted.

Job security is a huge benefit to potential candidates, and as more large value deals continue to occur in life sciences, the greater the perception of security is.

When innovation and growth are such a publicised focus of a sector during uncertain times, it can certainly provide organisations that are looking to hire a strong basis for attracting candidates.


Conclusion

The way that life sciences organisations have pivoted during lockdown has meant that there has been a domino effect across all areas of the sector.

From record-high investment acting as a catalyst for innovation and talent attraction, to diversity and inclusion alongside sustainability becoming a key area of focus for the hiring process to meet candidate expectations.

Organisations need top talent in order to continue their period of growth, which is why knowing the changes and how they affect the hiring process is so essential.


If you need expert help to find top talent for your life sciences organisation, get in touch with the Panda team today.








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