Prior to the pandemic, very few people would have been able to predict how the world would change. The life sciences sector is one that had to adapt quickly to a changing world as research into the COVID-19 virus, treatments, and vaccines were all needed quicker than people were used to working. On top of this need to work at speed to create solutions, several factors made it more difficult. If people had known a pandemic was on the way, they would have done things a bit differently. Here are some examples:
Remote Working Being Essential
The pandemic required life science workers to be effective in their roles while also requiring them to work apart from each other due to social distancing guidelines. Having the infrastructure and a workforce who could work remotely would have been seen as essential in hindsight. Many organizations were already working towards agility and remote working, with the pandemic accelerating the process. It is likely that from now on, remote work will become essential criteria when advertising for life science jobs.
Life Science Talent Shortages
Before the pandemic hit, the life science sector was struggling with talent shortages, and that has not changed. The demand placed on the sector to develop solutions to COVID-19 issues has meant increased pressure is felt throughout the industry. While some people thrive on this pressure, stress may be contributing to the growing number of vacancies. These vacancies range from entry-level all the way up to leadership roles, with large numbers of roles being unfilled long term. Exacerbating the talent shortage are unvaccinated workers. As a growing number of life sciences companies enact vaccine mandates, this has the effect of reducing the workforce by those that will not or cannot get vaccinated.
Organizational Culture is Key
With large numbers of vacancies, the life science industry is very much an employee’s market. Throughout the pandemic, organizations have needed to recruit quickly so that they can continue working at pace. Talented individuals have been able to have their pick of jobs, and this looks likely to continue for some time. Having an organizational culture that makes people want to stay means that recruitment is also likely to be more successful. With an increase in employees sharing their experiences on websites such as Glassdoor, it is important that companies promote a positive workplace culture if they are to recruit and retain.
Career Mapping to Keep Talent
A plus side of the pandemic is that it has made life sciences a more visible industry, and organizations can use this increased awareness to encourage people into life science careers. This approach will take time for people to get into their career, and so it is also important to focus on people who are already working in the industry, who may not feel there is any career progression for them. Many people leave their jobs each year because they are dissatisfied and feel there is a lack of professional growth available to them.