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Life Sciences, Pharma & Implications from the Great Resignation (Or, is it The Great Regret?)

Pharma manufacturing

Beginning in 2021, large numbers of employees began resigning from their jobs, leading to what’s known as The Great Resignation. Since then, it’s thrown a wrench in talent retention” in nearly every industry. Over a year later, I’ve noticed the many implications it’s had on the workforce and what they mean for the Life Sciences clients I work with every day.

If you’re wondering what’s happening with this “Great Resignation” and how it’s affecting hiring and talent retention in the Life Sciences industry, you’re in the right spot!

IN GENERAL, WHAT IS THE GREAT RESIGNATION?

Every industry experienced a talent loss or shortage in some way, shape, or form over the past two years. COVID-19 forever altered the way we work. In many ways, it pushed those in the workforce to the edge causing The Great Resignation. People began making the decision to prioritize their professional growth, mental health, financial goals, and loved ones by leaving jobs that no longer suit their needs.

In tandem, companies across industries have struggled to keep up and out-compete one another in a war for today’s best technical talent. According to Microsoft, 40% of the global workforce considered leaving their employer  in 2021. There were also shifts in how people searched for jobs and used recruiters in their career search.


Learn More of the Latest Insights from The Great Resignation in our Back to Work Podcast Here!


 With all of that said, what are the best steps forward for companies struggling to keep up? The best approach for those hiring in the Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical space is to learn the trends. By knowing the state of hiring today, you can stay ahead of competitors to secure the best talent.

3 IMPLICATIONS LIFE SCIENCES & PHARMA

1. MANUFACTURING & PRODUCTION JOBS TOOK THE HARDEST HIT

Tech and healthcare experienced some of the highest resignation rates due to The Great Resignation over the past year. With tie-ins to both, Life Sciences got hit just as hard. In particular, pharmaceutical manufacturing and production roles saw the most talent loss, especially when it came down to positions such as -

  • Manufacturing Leads, Associates & Technicians
  • Quality Assurance & Quality Control Managers, Specialists & Technicians
  • Process Engineers & Validation Engineers
  • Data Science & Analytics
  • Production Managers, Specialists, Technicians

Along with this loss of great talent, tons of new Life Sciences roles sprung up to meet the growing demands of the pandemic. An influx of opportunities and loss of manufacturing and production talent across pharma companies led to a talent gap, making talent retention and hiring in Life Sciences seem nearly impossible.

2. LIFE SCIENCES’ SHIFT TO A CANDIDATE-FIRST JOB MARKET

Today, there are still many more openings than there are qualified candidates to fill them, causing a global talent war. As a result, the Life Sciences job market shifted to become more candidate-driven over the past year.

To combat the talent war, Life Sciences companies need to do more to compete for good talent - from offering highly competitive salaries and benefits to providing flexible work options when possible. While not all pharma companies are in the position to offer the highest salaries or the biggest bonuses, it’s important to keep in mind that there are several other key ways that organizations within this space can retain their talent. For example, partnering with an organization and outsourcing Life Sciences talent can help you keep up with talent retention strategies and trends.

3. MOVING TOWARD THE GREAT REGRET

Today, some are re-coining the phrase “The Great Resignation” and using “The Great Regret” instead. That’s because many who left their jobs have struggled to overcome some of the negative repercussions or outcomes. 72% of young workers say they've regretted a new job they took on during The Great Resignation. 

The feeling behind The Great Regret is so prevalent that The Muse put a name to it - “Shift Shock.” The term refers to the feeling you get when the new position you took on or the company as a whole is different from what you initially believed.

We're seeing that, on the one hand, those who left jobs during The Great Resignation's height are beginning to re-enter the workforce. On the other hand, those who left a specific employer for another job are actually returning to their original employer to reclaim their role. It boils down to that people are realizing they miss the experiences and opportunities a former employer provided them and that they may have gotten swept up in The Great Resignation.

COMBATTING THE GREAT RESIGNATION’S IMPACTS

There are more Life Sciences jobs on the market than ever, and, in most cases, candidates are entertaining multiple offers at a time. As a Hiring Manager in this field, it’s best to work with your internal teams and partners to ensure your offerings are competitive in the market and relevant to the candidate's job decision.

It’s up to you as the employer to be an advocate for employees and evaluate new ways to combat The Great Resignation. It may be time to consider what will make them want to stick around - compensation, medical and leave benefits, diversity and inclusion initiatives, snacks and lunches on the company, etc.

You may not always win on getting a candidate to accept an offer. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from those who decline - you can even ask them for referrals in case they know someone else who’s interested in the role!

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