By Josh Needle, Managing Director – Life Sciences

The persistently fluctuating hiring market has left life sciences companies looking for innovative approaches to finding and keeping talent. And one thing’s for sure – 2023 will bring its own share of surprises.

To prepare and excite talent acquisition leaders for what lies ahead, let’s explore six TA predictions for the new year. Plus, get tips to stay ahead of them:

    1. DEI remains a priority
      Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) will remain a business priority for life sciences companies. But the difference in 2023 will be on more clearly defining DEI goals – and charting how to achieve them. Talent acquisition can support your company’s overall diversity initiative, offering guidance on making DEI goals a reality and providing strategic avenues. Training recruiters, hiring managers, and other TA professionals to address sensitive topics and understand unconscious bias is also important for success. Outside of holding hiring managers and recruiters accountable for reaching DEI targets, which 34% of TA leaders say their company does, try linking leadership bonuses to achieving diversity goals.

    2. Skills-based recruitment ramps up
      Companies significantly adopting skills-based recruitment are seeing better business results than those with traditional qualifications and requirements. And a scarcity of talent has made this approach more common in life sciences. Skills-based hiring widens the talent pool, accelerates time-to-hire, and expands your opportunity for a diverse workforce. It’s especially helpful in filling niche technical roles, such as research and development. Here are some approaches to consider:
      • Ensure job descriptions target skills needed to perform a job.
      • Weigh removing the degree requirement – is it a benefit or a necessity?
      • Leverage tests to evaluate hard skills and innovative soft skills assessments rather than focusing on education and work experience.

    3. Rising investment in internal mobility
      Promotions or lateral changes boost employee retention, so think about the opportunities available to existing talent. This is the year to build processes that support internal mobility and better understand the needs of your talent. Invest in HR technology that’ll uncover data to create robust employee profiles and help individuals map career paths within the company. Partner with learning and development to build a robust, strategic employee development program that connects skill building to career pathing, internal mobility, and retention. Educate managers on how to spot and create internal mobility opportunities for their employees.

    4. More activation of EVPs
      Your employee value proposition (EVP) must shine to appeal to high-demand life sciences talent. Many companies have been refreshing their EVPs and 2023 is the year to activate yours – internally and externally – so you don’t miss out on critical talent. To do that, you need buy-in from committed leaders from across the business. Educate leaders on how to embrace the EVP and communicate it to their teams, encouraging them to lead by example. Update your career website, job descriptions, and other key points of engagement. And remember to regularly review your EVP, ensuring it speaks to candidate and employee demands.

    5. Openly talking about pay
      LinkedIn’s recent Global Talent Trends report shows compensation remains the top candidate priority. With the talent shortage pressuring life sciences companies to pay a premium for new hires and pay transparency becoming more common, leaders must address the growing compensation discrepancies. Employees may be curious about the pay scale and how their pay measures up to what’s advertised in a job posting. Some employees may earn more than double their salaries at a new company, so prepare your managers to have productive conversations with talent about pay, explaining why employees fall in certain ranges and addressing concerns.

    6. Prepping employees for more change
      Like other industries, life sciences has undergone immense change over the last couple of years – and that’ll carry over to 2023. Some offices and other work sites will continue to safely reopen, but many employees are eager to keep the flexibility they’ve gained since 2020. Think about what your company can do to help employees become more resilient in an ever-changing environment. Maintain flexible working options. Test out a four-day workweek. Whatever the change, openly communicate what’s happening and why. And be sure to listen to employee feedback, empowering your workforce to contribute to the decision-making process.

Now that you have some insight into what’s ahead for talent acquisition leaders in life sciences, it’s time to start planning. Working with an external strategic partner can help you get ahead of these trends, ensuring you have the right solutions to attract and retain the brightest talent in the industry.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn.