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5 Recruiting Trends in the Life Sciences Industry

The biopharmaceutical and life sciences industries have always served an important role in our society and day-to-day lives. Their research, development, and manufacturing have provided people around the globe with innovative medications and treatments to improve health outcomes, protect against dangerous diseases, and extend life expectancies like never before.

Over the last two years, our attention to and awareness of these industries became even greater as we all confronted the pandemic. Today, biopharmaceutical and life sciences companies–and their products–continue to dominate headlines, policy debates, workplace discussions, and even conversions on social media.

While many industries like food services, travel, hospitality, and retail were hit hard by COVID-19 and are still working to bounce back, it should come as no surprise that the biopharma and life sciences industries experienced the exact opposite. According to the 2021 Life Sciences Workforce Trends Report, the life sciences industry grew its employment base by 1.4% in 2020 while the private sector overall experienced a 5.1% decline.

Now, even as some sense of normalcy returns to our communities, the business of healthcare innovation will remain a driving force – not just in the news cycle but in our economy and workforce, as well. Here are five industry hiring trends we’re tracking in 2022.

1. Biopharma and life science employers are hiring – but with high turnover, finding good talent continues to be a challenge.     

A survey of industry employers conducted by BioSpace found that 78% of biopharma employers expect their number of open roles to increase in 2022. This is a jump from 68% in 2020 and 65% in 2021. However, with the number of available candidates decreasing and significant turnover rates industrywide, finding quality talent continues to be a challenge for many companies.

2. Diversity, equity, and inclusion remain top of mind for employees and employers alike.

The pandemic has shone a bright light on racial disparities in healthcare, and the biopharma and life sciences industries are working to respond accordingly. Many have announced initiatives to expand diversity in clinical trials and improve outreach to minority communities. But employers are also looking inward to improve representation within their own organizations – and for good reason.

In a 2021 survey of life sciences professionals, 63% of respondents said they think women are underrepresented at the most senior levels of their organizations. An even higher number (73%) felt that cultural/ethnic minorities were underrepresented. Just under a third of respondents said that their organizations have specific programs in place to encourage a more culturally/ethnically diverse workforce, and 41% claimed to have experienced workplace bias due to their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other factors.

3. Remote work is still an option.

Even with many offices reopened and welcoming people back at full capacity, employers are not abandoning remote work. 70% of employers who participated in the BioSpace survey said they plan to continue hiring remote workers as a long-term strategy. With many Americans still working from home – and happy with that arrangement – employers are smart to continue offering more flexible options when possible.

4. While the life sciences industry employs a greater percentage of high-skilled workers than other industries, companies are filling positions that encompass a wide range of skills and education levels.

In 2020, nearly half (47%) of life science industry jobs were considered high-skilled occupations – significantly more compared to the 27% average across all other industries. However, roughly one-third of life sciences occupations were middle-skilled, meaning they likely required education or training beyond a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. According to one industry executive cited in the 2021 Life Sciences Workforce Trends Report, “we need technicians as well as people with PhDs.”

5. Industry professionals are on the move.

Reflected in the high turnover rates the industry saw in the past year, an overwhelming majority of the biopharma and life sciences workforce is looking to make a move. A whopping 81% of industry professionals are seeking a new position. That includes 60% who are actively looking and another 21% at least casually looking.

As employers in these industries continue to experience new growth, create new positions, and work to backfill others, the job market will remain competitive for candidates with in-demand skills.

In today’s candidate-driven market, Broadleaf Results can help you find and secure the qualified talent you need. Please contact us today.