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Attraction and Retention Guide for Competitive Life Sciences Organisations

27 July 2022

By The Marketing Team

Attraction and Retention Guide for Competitive Life Sciences Organisations


As the life sciences sector continues to grow and expand, new roles and skillsets will be essential to the growth of the industry.

Europe is one of the most important markets, specifically for biotech, accounting for over 20% of the total global pharma market, making it a key driver of economic growth.

Numerous areas are experiencing significant skills gaps – research and development, data science, clinical, manufacturing and regulation – and these gaps will grow as new technologies develop.

There is high competition for talent in life sciences, making attraction and retention more important than ever.

Research has indicated that 71% of life sciences companies plan to increase their workforce in the next year.

How can you begin to adjust your attraction and retention strategy and remain competitive?

Assess your employer value proposition

An employer value proposition (EVP) is an essential element of your attraction and retention strategy, as it covers what you offer to current and potential employees in return for the skills they bring to your business.

This includes elements such as:

  • Salary

  • Flexibility (e.g. hybrid working)

  • Culture

  • Benefits

  • Wellbeing support

  • Training and development opportunities

  • Work-life balance 

When thinking of your EVP, it often comes down to what will encourage candidates to apply for a role and what makes existing employees proud or motivated to work at your organisation.

78% of respondents to the 2021 Top Employers Survey declared they were not at all likely or not very likely to change jobs in the next year, citing organisational culture and feeling valued.

The best organisations in this survey were those that engrained their culture into everything that they do, including asking candidates how they will operate within their values.

How do you build your EVP?

You want to cultivate an EVP that aligns with your values and goals, but how do you get there?

  • Research and identify:What are the current employee perceptions of your organisation? What do they value most in their job and what would they like to change? Additionally, identify what it is you want to achieve with your EVP (e.g. to inspire existing and potential employees).

  • Implement your EVP: Once you know the areas you want to focus on, you can begin to identify the best channels for your EVP communications and messaging (e.g. marketing collateral, job descriptions, recruitment processes). 

  • Continually review:After establishing your EVP and communicating it across your organisation, consistently review your offering and adapt it where possible, given the changing demands of the workforce.

Check market rates

Whilst a range of employee benefits is very much essential in the current hiring climate, remuneration is still a significant factor for candidates.

The best way to check current salary ranges within the life sciences sector is to take a look at job boards to gain insights into the average salary for certain roles and experience levels.

Websites such as Labiotech.eu also provide salary guides for biotech specifically, based on average gross salaries according to title across several European countries (Ireland, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland).

For more in-depth insights, speaking to a specialist life sciences recruiter is the best course of action to understand candidate expectations (particularly in a specific geographical location) and to guide salary ranges at all experience levels. 

It is equally important to ensure that the current salaries of existing employees are kept in line with advertised roles to avoid employees feeling undervalued or under-compensated.

Break down job expectations

You don’t want to narrow the talent pool if you’re looking to attract the best talent.

One area that can be a common pitfall for life sciences organisations is job role expectations. 

To avoid this mistake, the best action to take is to split expectations into non-negotiable and desirable skills.

For example, six years of experience could be desirable, but would four years’ experience be acceptable if the non-negotiables (e.g. specific skillsets) were met?

Whilst in an ideal world a candidate would meet every single requirement on a job description, the chances are you could be missing out on a highly skilled candidate simply because your expectations aren’t flexible enough.

Be fast and transparent

Put simply, a candidate-driven market demands speed over time-consuming recruitment processes.

According to Conrad Connect, though research by Workable indicates that the most qualified candidates are usually off the market in 10 days, and an executive candidate – who’s more likely to be sourced or receive multiple offers – may be on the market for fewer than 10 days, consultants came up with much lower averages between one day and five days.

The bottom line is that candidates cannot be left waiting in a market where there is high demand and low supply – they’ll simply find an organisation with faster processes.

Candidates should be informed at every step of the recruitment process, from hearing whether they’ve progressed to how long the process will be to who will contact them once an outcome is determined.

Another area that can be overlooked for transparency is the onboarding process, as candidates would often like to know how long the process will last and whether they’ll have all of the tools and technology they need to get started.

The bottom line is that where things can be made more efficient, they should be, and candidates should always remain informed.

Find the right talent partner

The best specialist recruiters will have access to the most coveted candidates due to their close ongoing relationship with top talent.

The best talent is usually passive, which means that they will usually be secured through proactive headhunting and a recruitment partner’s network of talent.

To assess whether a recruitment partner is the best fit for your organisation, it is advisable to look at testimonials, enquire about what kind of guarantees are offered in their fees, and learn more about their selection process and ways of working. Most organisations’ internal talent teams will collaborate with specialists for the best results, and this can be much more efficient and effective.

Get in touch

To read more in-depth advice to win the battle for life sciences talent, read our full guide here.

Get in touch with the Panda team today for expert advice on securing top talent for your life sciences company.

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