Background

With the life sciences landscape continually evolving, the task for biotech recruiters is becoming more and more challenging. With a record low unemployment rate, it is certainly the case that the pool of attractive candidates simply cannot keep up with the exponential growth in industry start-ups and expansions. That leaves a lot of biotech firms having to operate at less than full capacity, giving their competitors an all-important edge in a very competitive marketplace.

The most significant obstacle facing biotech recruiters is illustrative of a nationwide problem affecting all sectors – a talent shortage across the board. The 2019 Conference Board Annual Survey confirms it – U.S. CEOs rank attracting and retaining top talent as their primary domestic concern.

It can also be argued that biotech recruiters in today’s marketplace are impacted by fears of an economic slowdown. Prospects of a recession, which would slow the pace of capital investment, is an impediment in the way of many candidates who might otherwise be convinced to shift career paths and/or join small start-ups.

Another issue affecting biotech recruiters, as is the case with life sciences recruiters in general, is the industry’s limited geographical footprint. As the New York Times has written, the major clusters where biotech continues to thrive are also some of the most expensive places to live in the country, leaving few opportunities for candidates who would rather, for one reason or another, live in a smaller city despite lower pay. Even larger cities like Boston, which is experiencing a biotech boom, are beginning to experience growing pains. MassBio reports on concerns about the decaying transportation system and the continued rise in housing prices in Massachusetts. Candidates pay very close attention to these lifestyle issues, and are often willing to forego a great opportunity in a city that doesn’t meet their family’s needs.

What can be done to ensure biotech recruiters succeed? In a recent article in the California Business Journal, Slone Partners CEO Leslie Loveless wrote that industry leaders can only enhance their recruiting efforts through smart hiring and promotion of diverse candidates, saying that “companies will become more economically viable when their leadership reflects the markets in which they operate and the people whose lives they hope to improve.”

In a commentary published by CNBC, Charles Mitchell argued that money alone will only go so far in attracting the best candidates – a sentiment shared by many biotech recruiters.

“In this economic environment, executives need to remember that short-term financial metrics are just one part of the equation. They need to place even more emphasis on building and maintaining a strong company culture. And to make their organizations attractive, enticing places to work, companies need to constantly measure and improve their ‘people metrics’ – benchmarks like attrition, diversity and engagement,” Mitchell wrote.

Slone Partners is among the nation’s top biotech recruiters, placing paramount importance on assessing workplace culture and the need to build strong, diverse teams to move companies forward. Our client partners have testified to the value provided by our work together in recruiting the right people to the right positions at the right time.