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5 Talent Acquisition Trends That Will Define 2023

The life sciences industry has suffered from significant attrition issues over the last few years. Getting back onto a level footing with recruitment is essential in order to remain profitable in a competitive industry and to continue to drive advances in medical innovation.

To this end, we briefly explore the five talent acquisition trends that we believe will have a significant impact on the talent acquisition success of early stage European biotech companies this year.

1. Internal mobilisation of workforce

Retaining talented individuals who are already in the workforce is going to be crucial for success this year. Not only does losing talent create a gap in the workforce, but valuable insights and knowledge are lost and the morale of the remaining team members can be adversely affected, with a negative correlation in productivity.

Supporting existing personnel in achieving their career aspirations and providing them with the training and development that they need to maintain an upward trajectory within the organisation is essential in resolving this issue.

Biotech firms would be wise to consider the individual aspirations of their staff, as for some, a sideways move into a different department wherein they can assimilate new skills and experiences may prove far more effective in achieving their longer-term career aspirations than restricting their path to the pursuit of promotion opportunities within their existing skill set. This can also prove beneficial for these businesses as existing staff develop a deeper, richer knowledge base which can be called upon within the business.

It may cost money to retain your people, but it is almost invariably far more cost-efficient to invest in existing, loyal staff than it is to continually recruit and upskill new starters.

2. Long term mutual commitment

In too many cases, when a member of staff resigns, they are almost immediately forgotten about as the process for recruiting their replacement captures attention. However, the departee’s breadth of experience will take time to replace. Ensuring that their departure is as smooth, professional and compassionate as possible keeps the door open for them should they choose to return in the future.

In fact, so-called boomerang employees are likely to become an increasingly common theme this year as the cost of living crisis continues unabated. Firms that are open to welcoming back recently departed employees will benefit from their talent, network and experience should they return, finding themselves in need of employment.

Developing a long-term, mutual commitment to existing employees makes it possible to not only improve retention rates but to re-attract departed talent.

3. Use of contractors

Where funding is tight, hiring contractors at a higher day rate can seem counterintuitive. However, when you take the time to consider the alternative, they often represent the best value for money.

Contractors are employed to perform a specific role or activity for a defined period of time with no ongoing commitment. They do not receive any employee benefits and their onboarding process is measurably faster. They offer proven, relevant industry experience and can hit the ground running, delivering results in a very short timescale.

Whilst their day rate may seem high, when you consider the benefits that they can deliver, in particular to a startup which may have yet to assimilate the full breadth of talent that it requires, they are an invaluable addition to the business.

Venture capital investors are familiar with the use of contractors and will recognise the value that they can deliver, in particular when they are appointed to deliver a particular task that requires their unique skill set rather than merely to fill a gap in the permanent headcount.

4. Employee wellbeing

Nurturing your staff is essential. Burnout is a known issue within the biotech industry, with a significant proportion of staff resignations attributed to mental health concerns and an unwillingness to remain in a toxic work environment [1].

With many employees still working remotely, the sense of disconnection remains strong, yet for many, the desire to return to full-time office-based working is no more appealing. Striking a balance is essential for success and efforts must be made to implement working practices that allow staff to feel that connection that they desire, to be rewarded for their efforts and to support them in achieving their career aspirations.

The way in which employee engagement is managed is different for every organisation, but identifying activities, processes and policies that create the greatest stress in employees is essential in tackling them. Automating work that staff find unproductive or demoralising can demonstrate that senior management is listening to them, whilst implementing wellness policies recognises acceptance of the challenges that staff are facing and can deliver mitigation.

5. Automation of recruitment activities

Much of the recruitment process lends itself well to automation, which not only reduces time to hire, but gives much-needed time back to HR professionals to focus on elements of the process that cannot be automated.

Managers need to be more specific about the skills and experience that are needed to achieve their scaleup plans in order that recruiters can tailor application processes to eliminate unsuitable candidates earlier and provide appropriate feedback where required. Analytics can be used to identify opportunities to move existing staff within the business to achieve a given business objective and simultaneously provide a development opportunity to a talented employee.

Collaborating across functions can deliver significant value and by assessing demographic information combined with candidate feedback from recruitment campaigns, it is possible to determine the effectiveness of any given recruitment campaign, and to implement any necessary adjustments.

Through automating much of the recruitment process, it is possible to also improve the candidate experience, increasing the likelihood that unsuccessful candidates will apply for future, more suitable roles with the business.

Many hiring challenges are likely to persist through 2023 in the life sciences industry. However, by concentrating on retaining existing talent and implementing strategies for effective hiring, there should be little need to rein in ambitious expansion plans.

Not sure where to start on attracting excellent candidates for your organisation? We have more than 15 years’ expertise in life science recruitment. Book a consultation with us today for expert advice on getting the talent you need.

If you found this insight interesting, we recommend reading Why high salaries are no longer enough for attracting top talent

ScaleX Consulting offer trusted business consulting and recruitment services to life sciences and biotech companies, ready to take the next step in their journey, particularly with life science recruitment, sales and marketing.