What Talent Wants Life Sciences

What Talent Wants Life Sciences

Every year, we conduct a large, global survey of workers to find out about their attitudes and feelings towards their work, the employment market and their employers. In this paper we discuss the overall trends in the 2013 survey responses, with a spotlight on those findings related to workers in the life sciences sector.

But first, a brief look at what’s changed over the past year.

When comparing the results of our Kelly Workforce Index results over the past two years (2012 and 2013), it seems that workers feel a declining sense of happiness with, and meaning in, the work they are doing. They also showed an increased focus on financial reward and there has been a small increase (two percentage points) in the proportion of people working in contract and temporary roles.

The trends are clear and our research into worker behaviours and attitudes shows a significant gap between what the executers really seek and what most of leadership is providing.

However, the gap isn’t always a result of the factors HR teams and leadership teams assume it is. Instead of offering new benefits or higher pay, or even flexible working options as if this will bridge the divide, the issues at stake for people’s genuine commitment to and satisfaction with their work is far deeper than this. And, not least of all because most workers already expect flexibility to be a given.

In fact, most employees expect that issues such as whether they can use the work laptop for a personal email, or whether they can work from home are no longer relevant.

They’ve already made the connection between these issues and the productivity outcomes. Yet, it appears many employers are some way from agreeing.

As a result, top-talent consistently reveal that they have a deep disconnection from what their roles really contribute to customers, communities and the progress of their organisation more generally. Life Science professionals want to make a difference, and they are willing to work hard to achieve it. They don’t want to focus on ‘small’ issues or be an easily replaceable cog in a well-oiled but meaningless wheel.

Addressing these challenges requires leadership (and not only in HR)to think differently about how they market themselves to the talent they already have, and the talent they are seeking. But above all, it requires them to think differently about the kind of work they ask their people to do, and how much genuine responsibility they give them to do it. 

That’s what talent really wants.

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