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How is Recruitment in Life Sciences Evolving?

The opportunities in life sciences for recruiters can seem limitless, particularly at a time when life sciences talent is in high demand and the industry is still under a bright spotlight due to the pandemic.

With this high demand can come a fast-paced and challenging environment, as life sciences organisations are in a global race for talent that will meet the high market demands.

For life sciences organisations to meet their goals and remain competitive, talent is essential (as are those placing talent), but how is life sciences recruitment changing?

The market outlook

When it comes to life sciences hotspots, Europe is one of the most important markets, specifically for biotech, accounting for over 20% of the total global pharma market.

Particular companies of note are the likes of BioNTech, the well-known German biotech company that has worked with a range of technologies – antibody drugs, CAR T-cell immunotherapies, and messenger RNA therapeutics – and came to public attention alongside Pfizer for the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine.

Switzerland-based biotech CRISPR is another European powerhouse, developing treatments based on the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9, which is emblematic of the way in which life sciences companies are significantly evolving in terms of technology.

For life sciences recruiters, these are two examples of companies that are at the forefront of innovation potential in the industry.

The wave of new technology and therapeutics are driving change in the market demand for talent and the way in which talent is attracted (and therefore how candidate benefits are formed).

But how is life sciences recruitment evolving for candidates, businesses and recruiters?

Greater need for candidate benefits

What incentive do candidates have to join a life sciences company in such a competitive market, during the Great Resignation, when they are in such high demand?

This is a question that most life sciences businesses will be contending with in their search for talent, and it can be a difficult one to answer.

The solution? Better benefits and incentives.

There are more life sciences jobs than there are skilled candidates, which means that companies are having to contend with a higher level of competition and a greater selectiveness from candidates.

We’ve spoken before about our top 3 top tips for attracting candidates, but to summarise the types of benefits that candidates are seeking:

  • Career progression and leadership – candidates want a career that won’t stagnate, which makes highlighting career pathways and growth opportunities essential during the recruitment process
  • Flexibility – the demand for greater work/life balance has increased considerably, particularly as a result of mass remote working during the pandemic
  • Salary – monetary compensation is still a key motivator for candidates, making salary expectations a vital point of discussion during recruitment
  • Company reputation – as a result of the ‘greater good’ effect – wanting to work with companies making a positive impact – candidates are generally more attracted to companies that their values align with or that participate in meaningful projects

High demand, low supply

As mentioned above, there is a high demand for talent but a low supply.

Linking in with candidate benefits, there is a substantial move towards a candidate-centric form of recruitment in life sciences to account for the talent market.

The rise of remote roles has seemingly contributed to this issue, as many candidates opt for flexible roles at a time when global competition is at an all-time high (given that many remote roles can be fulfilled from any location).

This has caused a change in approach in life sciences recruitment.

As an industry that has traditionally valued academic experience and specific field experience during the hiring process, life sciences organisations are now opening up the field to candidates with a less conventional background.

As a result, there are candidates from more diverse backgrounds entering the life sciences industry – however, there is still much work to be done to address diversity and inclusion in life sciences.

Retention efforts are struggling

One area that can often be overlooked from a recruiter’s perspective is retention – emphasis is often put on the attraction stage, yet retention is the other side of the recruitment coin.

In the same way that candidates have a large selection of potential companies to choose from, existing employees also have the option to easily move to another company if they no longer feel as though their company aligns with their goals.

Retaining talent can often come down to a combination of employee benefits and having a strong working knowledge of current market dynamics – a life sciences recruitment partner can assist with a full attraction and retention strategy.

One way to begin addressing retention issues is to assess whether current employees are aware of the full scope of benefits and incentives available to them in the same way that a candidate would be during the hiring process (e.g., are current employees informed on the career progression paths available in their role?).

Working backwards from here will help to determine which areas can be improved as part of a wider retention strategy.

Recruitment EVP

It’s not just candidates that are seeing greater strides being taken to give them a wider variety of benefits – recruitment agencies are re-evaluating their employee value proposition, too.

From clearly defined and fast progression opportunities to generous commission structures and even wellbeing services subscriptions, life sciences recruiters are benefitting from the increased recruitment drive as well.

Here at Panda, we’ve adopted a 4-day work week for our employees alongside an industry-leading commission structure, equity options, and a range of learning and development options – we know how integral Panda employees are to what we do and how we do it, and what better way to grow alongside the industry than to benefit from your impact on it?

In such a competitive hiring market, skilled life sciences recruiters are vital in placing the best talent with the best companies, making recruiter EVP more essential than ever.

If you’d like to join the Panda team, take a look at our vacancies to find out more.

For life sciences companies looking to secure top talent, get in touch with the Panda team today.