The digital outlook in life sciences
60% of life science CEOs report being very concerned about a digital talent shortage, with 57% finding it hard to attract the right calibre of people.
The demand for data scientists has increased at a time when life sciences businesses are having to compete against tech giants – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google – as emerging areas such as bioinformatics and medtech rise in popularity.
FAANG companies are also increasingly hiring for roles relating to keywords such as ‘big data’, with listings containing this term and ‘cloud’ increasing by 57% in 2021.
For the industry to innovate and grow, high-demand tech talent is necessary, yet life sciences organisations are struggling to attract and retain such sought-after talent.
Additionally, the industry is experiencing some growing pains with its digital transformation.
According to Deloitte, only around 20% of biopharma companies are digitally maturing, due to struggles with applying digital, scale learnings, collaboration, and facilitating change.
Many organisations as a result are changing their leadership and culture to adapt and succeed in such a rapidly changing and competitive environment… but how can they compete against FAANG companies?
For life sciences organisations to compete with the likes of FAANG companies, they need to have a strong benefits offering to match the candidate-driven market.
There is understandably a lot of apprehension for life sciences organisations trying to compete against the extensive benefits that FAANG companies offer.
Impressive salaries (the average salary at Google was £109k in 2019, with an average bonus of £99k)
Though life sciences organisations may wonder how they can contend with FAANG companies due to such impressive benefits, there are a number of ways that an organisation’s benefits offering can be created and adapted to be more competitive.
There are areas that are rising in demand for life sciences candidates, many of which relate to work/life balance.
Marsh & McLennan Agency’s life science survey of employee benefits found:
9 out of 10 employers surveyed offer a retirement plan
39% have an onsite gym, with 19% offering gym reimbursement
70% offer flexible work schedules
29% offer commuter benefits
These are just a few of the areas that can enhance your benefits offering, with a particular emphasis on flexibility.
Assess your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)
Your EVP is a key element of your attraction and retention strategy, which can also encompass the benefits mentioned above.
An EVP is the way that you reward employees in return for the skills they bring to your business – given that data scientists are in such high demand, it’s essential for life sciences organisations to have a strong EVP to compete with the likes of Google.
We discussed EVP in our previous blog, but to recap, common areas that an EVP will cover include:
Training and development opportunities
The most important question to work from when crafting your EVP to appeal to data scientists is – what will encourage data scientists to apply for a role with our organisation rather than a FAANG company?
What will truly motivate a candidate?
You want to ensure that your organisation is perceived in a way that aligns with the type of culture that attracts data scientists, such as a culture of innovation and continual development (e.g., offers benefits relating to training and development opportunities to match this culture).
Your EVP should be communicated across your organisation and marketing collateral to be able to best convey it to current and potential employees.
A strong EVP can also help massively with retention and keeping your organisation agile, with can decrease annual employee turnover by 69%.
For tech/data science candidates in particular, the opportunity to contribute towards cutting-edge, meaningful, or ethical work can be a huge driver when considering a job role.
Interestingly, the average retention rate of FAANG companies is no more than two years, meaning that though their attraction strategy is undoubtedly effective, their retention is still rather poor.
This is something that can be tied to their branding, too – will candidates view your organisation as a sustainable career for them, or merely stop along the way?
In a survey by Comparably of over 15,000 employees across the tech industry, respondents were asked which companies they admired most out of the ‘Big Five’ tech companies – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft – to assess company reputation.
Google ranked top of the list as most admired by 40% of respondents.
However, the most insightful part of this research is that 60% of Google employees chose their own company as the most admired firm, showing a strong sense of company pride, with 20% of Google employees identifying Amazon as the most admired tech company due to the company’s generous compensation and benefits.
This indicates a key trend in employer branding – the best organisations have a brand that current employees are proud to advocate for and that candidates will be attracted to.
With so much of recruitment also relying on passive candidates, the above research indicates that the best brands will attract talent even when they are already in a role that is highly coveted or beneficial.
Combining your EVP and employee benefits offering together with a strong brand focusing on your organisation’s values and mission can provide a key competitive advantage.
Get in touch
For expert advice on securing top talent for your life sciences company, get in touch with the Panda team today.