The life science industry is one of the largest and most important in the world. Due to high performance pressure and a lack of resources, companies often find it difficult to retain employees in the long term. In this article, you will learn how to attract and retain qualified employees despite the war of talent.
According to the Swiss Biotech Report 2023, the life sciences sector is considered an innovation driver. The sector continues to grow despite times of crisis: sales of CHF 6.8 billion were recorded for 2022. Switzerland attracts companies as a location: 20% of European life science companies have their headquarters in Switzerland. With a 33% share of Swiss goods exports, chemical-pharmaceutical products are Switzerland's most important export commodity. This makes the life science sector one of the most important industries, also worldwide.
The Canadian research institute Precedence Research predicts growth of 8.25% for the sector until 2030. And according to Deloitte's Global Health Care Outlook 2023, 80 million health care workers will be needed worldwide by 2030 – 18 million of them in developing countries.
A steadily growing industry with challenges
The industry's strong growth is mainly related to the increased use of technologically advanced devices and artificial intelligence, as these can make work easier and faster in the long term.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a major challenge to the industry and drove issues such as digitalisation and sustainability. Another issue that does not stop at the health sector in particular is equality. Changing social, economic and environmental circumstances mean that healthcare needs to be rethought.
With all the challenges facing the life sciences sector, it needs a skilled workforce, especially in analytics, which is often lacking. In addition, high workloads, lack of resources and competitive pressures make for an exhausting working environment. A not too rare consequence of this is burnout. These factors and the prevailing shortage of skilled workers often make it difficult for companies to attract employees who will stay for the long term.
Tips for recruiting in the life science sector
We give you an outlook on how you can manage to retain employees:
1. Expand and use networks
Create a network of graduates, professors, lab technicians, etc. that you can draw on. Present yourself at trade fairs, on the web, at universities or research institutions and approach potential employees directly. With the help of referral programmes, you can also give your existing employees the opportunity to help shape the recruiting process and use their own networks.
2. Offer further training
In the health sector, especially in research, it is important to educate oneself further. Create a corporate culture in which it is made possible for employees to do internal and external trainings, promote mentoring programmes or cooperation with research institutes. Active participation in conferences can also be interesting for some of your employees. In the end, every employee training is also a benefit for the company.
In the USA and Australia, professionals such as nurses are hired from Ireland or Malaysia. Even if the prerequisites and qualifications should of course be the same as in Switzerland, it is worth considering hiring qualified professionals from abroad. In turn, they could be offered further education and training.
4. Rethink your corporate structures
Long official channels, little freedom and rigid hierarchies slow down creativity, innovation and the spirit of research. Self-determination also plays a major role. Create a workplace that your employees can help shape. This will make them more motivated and committed to driving scientific progress.
5. Digital strategy
As in most other industries, recruiters in the life sciences sector cannot avoid a digital strategy. Social media, especially business platforms like LinkedIn and paid advertising, will also help you attract more attention. Additionally, the experts at LHH can help you find professionals with the experience you need.
Life science companies should give their employees opportunities for further development and research. Always being up-to-date – that should be the goal of the company and the employees.
In order to recruit successfully, it is first worth taking a look inside the company and asking yourself what you can offer applicants. Highlight your greatest benefits and show future employees that they and their work are valued by giving them creative freedom.
At LHH, we know and understand the challenges of the life sciences industry and work closely with healthcare recruiters. With our expertise and years of experience, we can help you find qualified professionals. Contact one of our career experts now!