Your Life Science Recruitment And The Challenges on the Horizon
February 22, 2017
In the skills-short job market, the competition for top life science candidates is becoming fierce. The stakes in making the right recruitment choices are high, extending far beyond the financial outlay of candidate placement fees and retraining.
On a macro scale, poor hires can imperil funding, derail research, hurt sales and ultimately impact health outcomes. On a team scale, a bad hire can cause turnover, destroy morale, and negatively affect performance.
Having an exceptional life science recruitment strategy is therefore of the utmost importance. Yet there are challenges on the horizon that are making it increasingly difficult to attract and retain high-calibre candidates, including a shortage of skilled candidates, frequent job-switching in Millennials, and the baby boomer generation retiring in vast numbers.
The implications of Brexit are still to be seen, but could spell problems for life science recruitment.
So how do you float above the challenges of today’s job market, attracting the top candidates to come to you?
1. Future-plan. Every single role in your organisation should be succession-planned, from the bottom up. Expand graduate programs, increase your presence at career fairs, build partnerships with universities, and consider hiring talented performers from other industries where practical. This future-proofing also applies to your existing team: When employees leave your team, you should never be caught at a loss: you should have always planned for this moment, even if the resignation comes as a surprise.
2. Build your relationship with your specialist life science recruitment partner. There’s never been a more important time to have a solid, honest relationship with a specialist life science recruiter. Be as upfront as you can be on all matters, from job specs to culture, giving the recruiter all the information they need to find someone that not only meets your requirements, but crucially, will be happy in your organisation and will stay.
3. Focus on engagement and retention. There’s a lot of movement in the life sciences sector as candidates react to their power in the job market, so hiring a candidate is not the same as retaining a candidate who will perform for you in the long-term. Interesting work, benefits packages, clear promotion paths, work-life balance and flexible working options are all weapons in your arsenal to build engagement and retain your top talent.
4. Build your brand. Perhaps your company is not as well-known as its competitors, and that lack of notoriety is draining the talent pool away from your organisation. Do a brand blitz, from career fairs to social media to charity programs. If it’s not in your power to do that, then concentrate on your personal brand as a manager within the company, and encourage your team members to do the same. Build your LinkedIn profiles, write blogs, participate in industry forums, and seek out speaking engagements to attract attention and brand recognition for your company.
5. Hire on skills and potential, not just experience. This is a calculated risk, but one that you will have almost certainly should certainly consider taking during the skills shortage. By hiring well-trained candidates with minimal experience on the job (and providing them with a large amount of training and support) you’ve gained an employee who will be loyal and motivated from the first day. By hiring them at a level just above their experience, you’re also leaving them with plenty of room to grow, thereby extending their time in the role. As such, hire a small portion of your team on potential more than experience.
6. Build a learning culture. A key way to attract, engage and retain employees is to emphasise a culture of learning and growth. Find out which skills your team would like to learn, and facilitate this. Your reputation as a learning culture will attract like-minded talent to your organisation.
7. Think remuneration packages that add value. Right now, good candidates have no incentive to accept poorly paying positions or roles without additional benefits i.e. health insurance, additional holidays etc.; unless the job title or promotion path promises big things, fast. If you don’t have the freedom to change the salary offer, be prepared to get creative and flexible with what you can Just remember to deliver on those promises or you’ll be running more interviews before long.
Despite the candidate shortage, there are still so many options available to life science employers in the hunt for great new talent. The stakes are high, but so is the potential. If you’re struggling to recruit talent in the current market, reach out to a specialist life science recruiter and take advantage of their wide network of skilled candidates and industry contacts.