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Beating your life science competitors in the war for talent

The Life Science industry is under transformation and the individuals that your company would want to hire are likely to be the very same people that all your competitors want to hire. Essentially, the war for talent is limited to very few people who everyone wants to poach and it is my experience that retaining those individuals has become a major challenge for the Life Science industry at large.

Even though the consolidation of the Life Science industry has resulted in a reduction in the overall headcount, the pool of available talent, particularly those with the necessary skills and experience – for instance in QA, RA, Market Access and Health Digitisation to name a few, is running extremely low. As a result Life Science companies are facing fierce competition to find staff for their projects.

So, being in the Life Science industry, the biggest challenge is retention.

The economic value to a company investing in formal retention programs can therefore be the true difference-maker in the war for talent.

Here are 5 simple strategies to improve your employee retention: 

1. Create an Employee Centred Environment

Send a clear message that your employees are important. This involves making employees feel valued and requires an open and flexible workplace that contributes to work-life balance. Today’s employees simply want time to enjoy life beyond work.

2. Empower Your Team 

Allow employees to take full ownership of his or her own responsibilities and make sure you truly use their talent and skills in the workplace. 

3.  Provide Effective Leadership & Supervision

People leave managers and supervisors more often than they leave companies or jobs. The supervisor has a critical role to play in retention, starting with setting a clear purpose, direction and expectations of the employee. 

The most frequent employee complaints that I hear are:

  • Lack of clarity about expectations

  • Lack of transparency

  • Lack of feedback about performance

  • Micro-management

  • Failure to hold scheduled meetings

  • Failure to provide a framework within which the employee perceives he or she can succeed

4. Provide Opportunities for Development

When asked what a boss could do more of, the general feedback from employees are: 1) make use my skills and abilities and 2) encourage my development.

5. Make Employees Feel Rewarded, Recognised and Appreciated. 

Employees in Life Sciences want to make a difference and be recognised for their contribution. Whether one likes it or not, increased competition for the best people also means that the scales have shifted in favour of the individual, with a move away from benefit packages that are based solely on pay, within prescribed bands, to reward systems that can be tailored to the needs of each individual within an organisation.


The life science industry is under transformation and the war for the same talent is fierce. But if you employ the 5 strategies to improve your employee retention, and are prepared to build an adaptable organisation responding to the future of work being more networked, mobile, project-based, and fluid, there is a high probability that you will be one of the winners in the war for talent.

Albright Life Sciences A/S is a AAA-rated organisational consulting company and one of the largest Life Science-focused organisational advisory firms in the Nordic region. We serve global- and local clients within the Life Science industry – delivering tailor-made executive search and leadership consulting solutions sensitive to their specialisation, their organisation and the specific challenges they are faced with.


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