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Industry Insights | 6 minute read

How to combat talent challenges in the biotech sector

June 21, 2022

The rapid pace of innovation in the biotech sector has contributed to massive growth within the industry over the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic played a substantial role in propelling the industry onto the world stage and in front of investors. The biotech sector is now estimated to be worth around $3.4 trillion by 2030, according to Vision Research Reports.  

But the biotech sector is struggling with skills shortages.  

A robust employment brand can help biotech companies attract, hire and retain top talent, which in turn, will allow them to meet their growth objectives. 

In this post, we’re going to share some tips on how to finesse and operationalize your employment brand. 

#1: Evolve your employment brand 

Employment branding is more critical than ever because we’re currently experiencing the most competitive talent market in history. With chronic skills shortages in the biotech sector, the labor market will continue to be challenging for many years to come. Biotech companies, therefore, need to revamp and modernize their employment brands to ensure that brands are up to date with the ever-changing candidate and employee expectations.  

As a talent leader in biotech, you’ll no doubt understand the merits of a strong employment brand already. It’s worth noting that the fundamentals of employment branding haven’t changed, but the psychology and behavior of jobseekers have. Their priorities have shifted. 

Today’s jobseekers (in all sectors and not just biotech) demand flexibility and they want a healthy work-life balance. The pandemic gave people the chance to reflect and think about what’s important to them. Your employee value proposition (EVP) must evolve to incorporate employee needs (such as increased focus on mental health and well-being, a hybrid work environment and flexible hours), and your employment brand should reflect that. Be sure to share how your company promotes a healthy work-life balance and your stance on flexibility to candidates. 

Blog post: How to elevate the employee experience 

#2: Draw attention to your company’s purpose with recruitment marketing 

The biotech industry has attracted more attention than ever over the past few years because of the pandemic, which is good news for companies in the industry that are looking to expand their workforces. The COVID-19 vaccines, for example, made headlines across the globe because of the speed to market and their effectiveness in reducing hospitalization. Most biotech companies fit the criteria for a strong purpose by default simply because of what they do – developing new drugs to combat cancer, working on effective vaccines or creating artificial meat because it’s ethical and sustainable. Biotech companies must showcase their purpose within their recruitment marketing. And authenticity in all communications and content is key. Candidates in the biotech sector don’t want to be bombarded with corporate content. They want authenticity. Let your employees tell their career stories in their own words, in real-time to showcase your organization to prospective applicants. 

88% of employees say working for a company with a strong purpose is more important to them now than ever before, according to a report by Porter Novelli. 

#3: Update your career site 

Once you’ve revamped your employment brand to ensure it aligns with your EVP, you’ll need to update your career site. It sounds obvious, but you’ll be surprised at the number of organizations that fail to optimize their career sites regularly.  

Best-in-class career sites are designed with candidates in mind and focus on moving them to the next stage of the hiring process. Your career site must give candidates the information they need to convert on the spot. Strategically placed prompts throughout can help to persuade biotech candidates to apply to roles or join talent communities. Talent shortages in the biotech sector are going to continue to be challenging, so talent leaders should focus on building talent pipelines to ensure access to a steady stream of qualified candidates. 

And don’t forget to make sure your career site is accessible. You could be missing out on a large pool of talent if it’s not. (Not to mention, career sites that don't implement accessibility risk breaching the Americans with Disabilities Act and, in turn, puts your organization at risk.) 

A highly skilled sector, the biotech industry has obstacles to overcome in terms of talent acquisition. With growing skills shortages and a tight labor market, a long-term approach to talent acquisition is necessary to secure your organization’s future. Looking inward at your EVP and employment brand will help retain your employees and inspire referrals that can help you grow your workforce.  

View our latest whitepaper below for more information about how to combat talent challenges in the biotech sector. 

Navigate testing times in biotech
Learn how to attract and retain talent in the biotech industry.
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Wilson HCG - Bottom Shape

About Stewart Cato

Stewart is the vice president of talent operations at WilsonHCG. He has years of expertise managing and delivering complex, multi-region technical talent solution programmes for international clients across EMEA, NAM and APAC. Stewart is passionate about delivering talent programmes that make a marked difference to the talent agenda and developing teams to reach their full potential.