There’s a Crisis Brewing in the Life Sciences Industry
How the talent shortage may impact your business – and how to combat it.
By Robert Hennessy
Like many industries, the life sciences sector is confronted with global economic pressures, regulatory constraints, and rising labor costs. Along with those challenges, companies are facing bitter competition for talented employees who have the necessary knowledge, skills, and temperament.
When companies fail to adapt to the changing economy and talent landscape, the consequences are dire. Finding and retaining talent becomes more difficult – and losing access to high quality talent can mean the difference between success and failure. According to the 2013 Confidence Board Survey, nearly 75% of human capital professionals believe the talent shortage is negatively affecting their business now, and will continue to do so in the future.
What’s behind the talent shortage?
Beyond the shortage of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) graduates, the Pinstripe & Ochre House Think Tank Initiative – which included participants from major global players like Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, and Novartis – identified several talent challenges that they need to overcome, including:
- Crossing company culture barriers
- Understanding and complying with increasingly complex, local employment processes and regulations
- Managing the growing tendency of managers to hoard talent (shielding employees from professional growth for personal gain)
An Uncertain Future
PWC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey revealed that CEOs have major concerns about the future of their workforces:
- 63% of CEOs say that availability of skills was a serious concern, an increase of 5% from 2013
- 52% of CEOs say that regulation is hampering their ability to attract and retain the best people
- 93% say that they recognize the need to change their strategy for attracting and retaining talent…but an enormous 61% haven’t taken the first step
Yet despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of CEOs recognize the need for fundamental changes to their talent sourcing strategy, according to the PWC survey, only 34% of CEOs felt that their HR departments were well prepared to capitalize on transformational trends like technological advances and demographic shifts.
Changing to Survive
More companies are realizing that their old methods of recruiting talent are not working as effectively as they could. According to the Deloitte University Press Global Human Capital Trends 2014 report, 60% of survey respondents are currently updating or revamping their talent sourcing strategy, and another 27% are considering changes.
At the Hennessy Group, we believe that improving recruiting processes begins with the candidate. By creating a positive candidate care experience, you can enhance and optimize the experience of every person who interviews at your company. Whether they get the job with your company or not, they can still speak favorably about the company when given the opportunity – effectively becoming your company’s “brand ambassadors.”
When evaluating your company’s recruitment process, consider these key best practices:
Connect senior human resources executives with the leadership team.
Finding talent that is aligned with current and future business needs requires intimate knowledge of the business strategy.
Speak with one voice.
Ensure your human resources team, marketing department, and other staff members are all telling your company’s story in a consistent and engaging way. Internal alignment can help create a holistic, talent-centric experience.
Identify and empower internal ambassadors.
Involve them in the recruiting and hiring process to help assess talent and represent your company favorably.
Build your company’s brand.
By developing a compelling mission and vision, you can demonstrate to candidates that your company is strong, relevant and empowers employees to make a difference. Through a multi-channel communication strategy that emphasizes transparency, you can connect and engage with a broad spectrum of talented candidates.
Anticipate future talent requirements.
Be proactive about seeding high potential talent into your organization – and then develop their skills and provide opportunities for career growth.
The life sciences talent crisis doesn’t have to impact your organization. With the right strategy, you can continue to identify and recruit the top talent your company needs to not just survive – but to thrive.