A Guide To Attraction & Retention For Life Sciences Organisations


February 14, 2024

In an ever-evolving healthcare landscape, life sciences companies stand at a crossroads of unprecedented growth opportunities. Yet, the key to unlocking this potential isn’t just cutting-edge research or groundbreaking products, but also the right talent. Talent isn’t just a means to an end, it is a source of sustained competitive advantage, allowing companies to efficiently progress their science in an environment with finite resources. Dive into our strategies for attraction and retention in the life sciences industry.

Securing talent in a competitive market

Undeniably, offering competitive salaries is a key factor in attracting candidates within the life sciences sector. However, for those in-demand professionals, salary isn’t everything. If matching top industry pay isn’t feasible, emphasise your organisation’s non-monetary benefits instead. Could you provide faster career progression, improved work-life balance, or ownership opportunities in your start-up?

The current candidate-centric market requires innovative strategies, such as leveraging your existing recruitment network or employing eye-catching marketing techniques to capture the attention of potential employees. Here are some effective tactics for navigating today’s job market:

Employee referral programs: Encourage your staff to act as talent scouts by rewarding them for referring acquaintances and colleagues for open positions.

Employer branding in recruitment: Generate excitement about your company by showcasing your mission, core values, workplace culture, and growth opportunities. Make your company appealing to prospective employees with transparent hiring practices, genuine employee stories, and captivating insights into your organisation.

Fair and attractive remuneration and perks: Regularly check industry salary benchmarks to ensure your compensation is competitive, and consider offering a variety of benefits, like health insurance, retirement plans, and flexible work arrangements, that meet the preferences of job seekers today.

Target Premium Talent Effectively

In today’s rapidly-evolving healthcare environment, the demand for life science experts remains higher than ever. Even before the pandemic reshaped the job market, sourcing the finest minds in the life sciences sector was a challenging endeavour.

Companies aiming to onboard innovative scientists, groundbreaking epidemiologists, or visionary medical directors should prioritise quality over quantity. A common misstep among recruiters is the scattering approach – reaching out to numerous candidates sporadically. Instead, a more direct, personalised method proves effective.

Draft a concise list of prospective candidates whose experience and expertise match the role perfectly. Engage with these potential hires through tailored communications and persistent follow-ups. Our experience indicates that consistent contact, sometimes up to 10 times over a few weeks, can yield positive results through ensuring a continuous feedback loop between company and candidate. Such determination not only signifies genuine interest but also stands out from generic keyword-based outreach.

Promoting Your Company’s Advantages

The life sciences industry is a dynamic and visionary field that merges science, technology, and innovation. Engaging in this sector offers the opportunity to address both national and international healthcare issues, contribute to creating more equitable societies, and develop innovations that enhance people’s well-being and happiness.

The ability to significantly improve our quality of life stands as a compelling incentive for working in this sector and should be a cornerstone of your employer branding strategy. Beyond the unique selling points (USPs) of the industry, pinpoint what distinguishes your company as an appealing employer—whether that’s a commitment to flexibility and innovation or employee-centric policies. Highlight these strengths across all touchpoints with potential candidates, including job advertisements, social media, and recruitment events.

Effective strategies for life sciences companies to amplify their employer brand include:

Emphasising your mission and core values: Establish a strong value system that makes candidates feel connected to your purpose from the outset. Articulate your mission in a way that is ambitious and welcoming, helping both prospective and current employees see how they contribute to its achievement.

Demonstrating your societal impact: Few organisations can claim they are making a significant difference in the world. By highlighting your contributions to healthcare, environmental sustainability, or social equity during the recruitment process, you can appeal to candidates motivated by the chance to enact positive change.

Investing in your employer brand: Position your company as a supportive and engaging workplace where employees can thrive and make significant contributions. Use targeted recruitment marketing, employee referral schemes, and strategies for retaining talent to transform top candidates into dedicated team members.

Bridging the Expertise Divide

A prominent challenge in sourcing talent for life sciences is the expanding skills gap. To counteract this, companies can:

Empower Current Employees: Enhance your team’s skills by providing training and continuous learning opportunities. Supporting their academic pursuits can bolster engagement, likely costing less than hiring a new team member. By ensuring that employees feel they have a clear, realistic and ambitious career trajectory, this will inculcate a feeling of loyalty and serve as further motivation

Forge Academic Alliances: Collaborate with educational institutions to cultivate innovative and research partnerships, ensuring that you have access to the most cutting-edge science and setting the stage for potential future hires. By establishing your company alongside thought leaders in the space, this can only have a positive reputational impact.

Prioritise Talent Retention: While the intricacies of talent retention warrant a deeper dive, starting with competitive compensation, benefits and a loyalty reward system are all vital. Additionally, exit interviews should be considered to establish whether employee flight could have been prevented, if this is the case you should be proactive in response to feedback to make current employees feel valued.

Excelling in the Digital Recruitment Age

With the rise of remote work and the current health considerations, digital interviews and onboarding are the new norm. But shifting online shouldn’t mean a compromise in quality.

Redefining Interviews: Although virtual, ensure your interview process remains structured, prioritising candidates’ potential contributions. Maintaining professionalism, understanding their background, and posing pertinent questions are key.

Enhanced Onboarding: Pre-plan a comprehensive onboarding schedule. Assigning a mentor or a “guide” for regular check-ins can be immensely beneficial. Additionally, integrating them into virtual social gatherings like coffee chats can foster team spirit.

Talent Insight

One of the fastest growing skills among Life Science professionals is analytical skills, growing 56% since last year. The demand for life science professionals with these skills is causing an upskill surge in this particular area. Given salaries for Lab Managers in the USA alone can reach up to $120,000, it’s clear that skilled candidates will be won by the highest bidder.

The Potential for Life Sciences Enterprises

These are demanding times for all industries. However, life sciences companies are positioned uniquely. Any product or solution related to COVID-19 provides an unprecedented growth opportunity. Moreover, as healthcare norms evolve post-pandemic, life sciences companies stand at the precipice of breakthrough growth opportunities.

Optimising talent acquisition and retention strategies will be paramount to harness this potential. If your company is seeking guidance on attracting top-tier life sciences talent, our team of industry experts is here to assist.

Published on 14-02-2024