Hiring Advice for Life Science Employers in 2021

2020 is over, but its impact on how employers recruit and hire talent will reverberate for years to come. 

While the pandemic forced many industries to contract and shed jobs, the biotech industry boomed, forcing companies to pivot and adjust to social distancing and COVID-19 safety protocols while attempting to hire enough talent under the most difficult of circumstances.

Biotech employers adapted quickly out of necessity, moving the recruiting and hiring processes into a near 100% virtual format. Virtual recruiting events replaced job roadshows and job fairs, and the entire interview process leaped onto Zoom, WebEx, or Google Hangouts. Even new hire orientation went virtual, creating new challenges for recently hired employees and those tasked with coaching them up.

No one is sure what the future holds for a return to in-person office life or face-to-face interviews. Will they return in some form? Probably. But the move to virtual recruiting and hiring has been, by most reports, successful and uncovered new ways for employers to reach and connect with talent, save time and reduce costs. 

The future of hiring and recruiting is digital, with some elements of in-person interaction likely. Just like many young students can say goodbye to the good old snow day now that schools have gone virtual, employers will say so long and farewell to in-office interviews and paying for recruiting travel expenses.

The recruiting and hiring world has irrevocably changed, but in the destruction of the old way, a new and better way forward has emerged. This will require biotech employers and hiring teams to continue to adapt and rethink what’s possible.

Those who do win the talent wars; those who do not will struggle to find the talent required to grow. To help employers thrive in this new hiring normal, we’ve compiled some tips that life science employers can use in 2021 and beyond.   

Tips for Life Science Employers

Virtual Recruiting and Hiring Trends and Tips For Life Science Companies

The pandemic turned the talent acquisition world on its head, forcing life science companies to adjust on the fly and move to a 100% virtual recruiting environment nearly overnight. While many industries saw layoffs, the life science industry saw a surge in hiring, making it even more important to get this new virtual shift right. While a significant challenge for HR and talent departments across the industry, the transition has led to innovation and creativity that is actively reshaping the way talent acquisition is done for the foreseeable future.

Chris Frew, the CEO of WorkForce Genetics, sat down with Tony Restell of Social-Hire.com for an interview about talent acquisition and recruiting trends that Frew and his team have seen over the last seven or eight months. 

Top Biopharma Talent Acquisition Experts Share Strategies for Hiring and Retaining Employees in 2020

A 2020 BHCR Forum virtual panel session, hosted by BioHealth Innovation’s (BHI) Managing Director of Economic Development Judy Costello, took a deep dive into the subject. The “Growing and Retaining Your Workforce” breakout session included panelists Diana Elias, Director of HR, ABL Inc.; Ellen MacMahon, VP Human Resources Global Operations/IT at AstraZeneca; and Ed Radwinsky, Head of People Operations at RoosterBio, Inc.   

Here some of the highlights from the lively and insightful panel discussion on hiring and retaining employees in 2020…

A Strong Employer Brand and Location are Keys to Recruiting Top Biotech Talent

Just as companies looking to open new locations need to be more aware of what the BHCR has to offer and why it’s a great place to grow a company, to work, and a wonderful area in which to live, life science professionals looking to relocate need to see that same message clearly. Telling this story and spreading the word to the workforce requires a collaborative regional branding effort from both companies and economic development organizations. 

To maximize national and international awareness of the BHCR, a regional branding strategy needs to be mirrored by individual companies. Companies that develop and market an employer brand that promotes their unique culture and the regional value proposition will see greater success when recruiting talent.

Hiring During a Biotech Boom: The Talent Challenges Facing Companies Across All Markets

Continued growth means that talent recruiting, acquisition, and retention will remain a major challenge among companies competing for the skilled workforce required to fuel and sustain growth in the next decade. Workforce and talent issues were a hot button topic throughout 2019 and will continue to be a flashpoint for companies in the region. The BHRC is globally renowned for its highly educated and highly skilled talent pool; however, as the region continues to grow rapidly, talent-related challenges will be exacerbated.

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Steven Surdez

Principal at StoryCore
Steve has over 20 years experience in copywriting, developing brand messaging and creating marketing strategies across a wide range of industries, including the biopharmaceutical, senior living, commercial real estate, IT and renewable energy sectors, among others. He is currently the Principal/Owner of StoryCore, a Frederick, Maryland-based content creation and execution consultancy focused on telling the unique stories of Maryland organizations.