2023 has brought many changes to the life sciences industry.

Perhaps the most significant trend that we’re seeing relates to the flexible work environment. Whereas few companies offered hybrid work options pre-pandemic, most do today and that gets back to employee expectations. Many of them learned during the pandemic that they could be just as productive working from home as from the office, and they save time and money not having to commute. Those companies that don’t offer flexible work options are at risk of losing or not attracting some very talented people who don’t necessarily want to travel to an office every day.

That said, in recent months we have seen more and more companies telling their workers to return to the office, at least one or two days a week, sometimes more. These companies are seeing the pandemic in the rearview mirror and want to leverage the innovation and synergy wrought by having people back in person in the workplace. This may be a difficult transition for some workers who have become accustomed to working from home, but it is becoming apparent that while hybrid work arrangements will be with us for a while, fully remote options will dissipate over time.

Another trend that we are seeing is candidates making decisions about the companies they join based on DEI. More and more executives we speak with are very cognizant of the value of diversity and equity in the workplace and of the positive impact of inclusive cultures. They ask a lot of questions about a company’s commitment to DEI – going far beyond lip service. They want to know the specific initiatives and programs that a company has in place to help hire, promote, and support women and people of color, and they want to join a leadership team that is fully vested in those outcomes.

The other trend worth noting relates to professional development. We are seeing companies spending more time strategizing about the career paths for strong performers so that they can see their future with the company and not be looking around the corner for opportunities elsewhere. And, as the market for top performers continues to tighten, companies will be more and more incentivized to do whatever they can to keep the ones they have.

Read more about Slone Partners’ life sciences executive recruiting: www.slonepartners.com/life-sciences/