The life sciences industry comes with unique challenges: direct patient impacts, strict regulatory guidelines, and ever-changing laws to adhere to. But in the last few years, the industry has started facing a new challenge—talent shortages.

Randstad Sourceright’s 2022 Talent Trends report found that a third of C-suite and human capital leaders in the life sciences and pharmaceuticals companies say talent scarcity is a major pain point for the sector. In particular, the industry is scrambling for people to fill marketing roles. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that demand for marketers is expected to grow 10% through 2023—faster than most other fields.

So what’s the secret sauce of getting more people to your website’s careers page? It’s employer branding. Here’s how you can use employer branding to stand out, accelerate talent recruitment, and address skills gaps.

Think like an employee

This talent shortage means your marketing is no longer just about products—you’re marketing your whole company. Prospective employees are now one of your audience segments. You’ll need to think out of the box to find new ways of recruiting and retaining employees.

Consider the economy from an employee’s perspective. How do your payscales, growth opportunities, and professional development opportunities compare to other companies in your industry? If you have unique benefits, now is the time to highlight them. You can also take a look at how competitors are reaching out to talent pools. TikTok and one-pagers are increasingly common ways for companies to reach out both to new graduates and experienced professionals.

While looking for talent, remember to look within your own organization. About 67% of life sciences and pharma leaders report that reskilling current employees for different roles has been effective in addressing talent shortages, according to Randstad Sourceright.

Look to experts for guidance

When talent is scarce, you need to focus your efforts on core business planning, but you also need to support branding and PR work to attract and retain talent. Both are business-essential—but while core business planning must be done in-house, you can get external support for branding and PR work.

If you’re in a talent crunch, look to experts for guidance. Outsource your work to agencies and contractors who specialize in creating robust comms plans, town halls, salesforce meetings, and executive communications. You can also outsource sub-campaigns, even if you are already working with a large agency.

Consider investing in a contractor or an agency that has experience in your specific field. While having an industry background is important for many companies, having marketers who are subject matter experts is even more important for life sciences companies. Marketers or agencies who already have experience in the life sciences know how to showcase your brand in a way that stands out from direct competitors. They’re also already familiar with the regulatory processes, claims, and clinical writing associated with pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Open your mind to new talent pools

At XCH, we’ve hired outside of marketing agencies and had great success. Project management skills are well-honed across many industries and these transferrable skills fit perfectly into the marketing wheelhouse. As we opened our mind to new talent pools, we realized we had a treasure trove of applicants who could add value to our company.

As companies hunt for the right people to fill their roles, they may need to look into new talent pools. For some companies, this may mean overlooking employment gaps, building a pipeline of potential employees through internships and contractors, or giving a chance to bright but underexperienced individuals. This is an aspect of diversity that organizations aren’t taking advantage of. A diversity of background experiences, especially for prospective employees who may have non-traditional resumes, is a great way to enrich your team’s skills.

However you choose to approach new talent pools, keep an eye out for a candidate’s soft skills. Forbes has an excellent piece describing how soft skills boost worker retention, especially as more companies shift to remote work and need communication tactics to stay connected. Teachers—and people from many other professions—have valuable transferrable skills, such as time management, problem solving, adaptability, teamwork, and organization. As people’s careers continue to develop and shift in the wake of the pandemic, companies have the perfect opportunity to find talent diamonds and enrich the diversity of their teams.

Employer branding is future-proofing

By using employer branding, life sciences companies can attract the right talent that will propel them forward. Improving your employer branding will help you stay competitive both now and in the future, which is essential, as 71% of life science companies announced in 2022 that they planned to increase their workforce. Remember, you’re not just marketing your products—you’re marketing your whole organization.

Sunny White
Sunny White is an editorial advisory board member for the Pharma Marketing Network with hands-on experience helping pharmaceutical marketers elevate their promotional material to meet the unique needs of patients and caregivers while remaining compliant. Sunny’s team of BOLDOLOGISTS at Xavier Creative House strives to infuse strategic healthcare solutions with meaningful technology to improve the accessibility of information that changes patient behavior.
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