The Evolving World of Recruiting in The Life Sciences Industry

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A look at how recruiting in the life sciences industry is changing, and tips to source the best talent.

Life sciences is a growing employment sector, especially since the recent rise in remote work. Telehealth and research-based jobs are everywhere and there are not enough skilled candidates to fill them. Skilled life sciences candidates are thin on the ground at the moment and recruiters are fighting over them to be able to fill valuable job roles for their companies.

Because there are almost unlimited opportunities out there right now, recruiting in the life sciences sector can be tough. The lay of the land has changed greatly since 2020, and being a recruiter in the life sciences field has never been more challenging. 

If you have been working on a new game plan for recruiting in the life sciences industry in 2021, here are some trends that you should be aware of that may be hurting your chances to get that perfect candidate hired.

There are Far More Jobs Than Candidates

This is going to be the case for a while in the life sciences industry due to the rise in remote work opportunities and the change of many basic healthcare platforms to telehealth jobs. So having a solid strategy to recruit quality candidates is a must. 

There are simply more jobs than there are people to fill them, so skilled candidates will basically have the pick of any job that they want. Negotiations with many of them will be more intense than usual because of this as well.

There are also many people who see this time as the perfect chance to move from one part of the life sciences industry to another. Competition for new hires that are switching from one kind of work to another within this industry will still be fierce, and there will automatically be no penalty for lack of job experience in that direct field. 

You simply won’t be able to be picky about the same things right now and may have to take someone with less direct job time if they have other strong credentials. 

This may actually be beneficial to your org as you will be able to bring in new viewpoints and people with diverse backgrounds that might not have made it through the HR process in previous times.

Compensation Standards are Changing

Remote work offers the chance to hire people who are not within your local area and dispenses with the need to sort out moving costs as part of your hire package, but it also opens up new questions that were not part of the hiring process before 2020. 

Now you will have to prove that your compensation package offers remote-work-based benefits, or you will never be able to keep up with your competitors.

Remember when bring-your-dog-to-work-day was enough to lure people in? No longer. The life sciences industry is being forced to change its compensation and benefits packaging to make sense for remote workers. 

Longer maternity and paternity leave is becoming common, flexible daily work hours are the norm, PTO and sick time have increased and retirement packages have been beefed up.

Be prepared to negotiate intensely for these benefits and be asked to justify why your company does not offer benefits that other companies may have made public. Companies that will not negotiate with new hires are going to lose them.

If you can’t offer top-of-the-line benefits, you will lose every good hire you seek until you can offer the same benefits they are able to get access to elsewhere.

Efficient Hiring Processes are a Must

With things being so competitive, no candidates are going to stick around if they feel they are wasting their time trying to get hired. If you can’t onboard someone quickly and effectively, they may back out and take a job where the onboarding process is smooth and easy.

This is another place where transparency is key. Many candidates will not be interested in any kind of let’s wait and see approach right now. They want to know for sure what the process for getting hired will be and they will not tolerate any surprises. 

Companies are losing good hires left and right to antiquated hiring procedures right now, so this is the first place that recruiters and companies need to improve to keep up in the 2021 hiring market.

Students are Totally Eligible

Because of the lack of eligible candidates in the field right now, students are leaving school and finding that they can apply for jobs they would not have been considered for a few years ago. 

This is great news for recruiters in some ways because fresh talent can be a great fit for an organization and it was likely frustrating to have to let some people go without making an offer to them, only because they did not have a deep resume.

Students might be young and a little inexperienced, but many of them are fresh from working on the education end of their specialization and they will be easy to get in contact with and to start a conversation with. 

If the company that you are hiring for does not have an open mind about these potential candidates, they are going to be losing valuable employees to other companies.

Personalization is a Must

Nobody is okay with a form letter anymore. Nobody wants to receive email spam either. If you want to make successful recruitment take place, you need to put in the work to do personal outreach to your potential new hires.

This is a great place to link your social media presence with your outreach presence. Your personality will shine through a well-constructed social media presence and you can use a genuine online presence to attract in and make connections with potential hires. Everyone you hire will be much more willing to engage with you if you are accessible and seem genuine.

Personalized outreach through emails or phone calls is essential and you will need to remember details about each candidate so that you seem connected to their personal goals and needs. There is nothing worse than feeling forgettable, and with the market being so competitive, you will find that a lack of care in this area will send good hires scrambling to find jobs elsewhere.

Recruiting in the Life Sciences Industry Has Never Been More Exciting

While the changes that this industry is experiencing are likely a bit daunting, they are also exciting. It is rewarding to be able to offer really great benefits and job opportunities to candidates and even more exciting to be able to invite students into this competitive field. 

The life sciences industry researches important developments that will improve the lives of people everywhere. Being able to find talented people and connect them with the right jobs can help make everyone’s lives better all over the world. This alone makes the changing time in the life sciences industry an exciting part of recruiting in 2021.

Need to source the best life science talent on a freelance basis? Connect with Kolabtree’s global pool of experts. Work with biotech freelancers, medical writers, and more. 


Kolabtree helps businesses worldwide hire experts on demand. Our freelancers have helped companies publish research papers, develop products, analyze data, and more. It only takes a minute to tell us what you need done and get quotes from experts for free.


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Gabe Nelson is associated with Life Science Search Partners.

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