5 Strategies You Can Implement to Retain Exceptional Life Sciences Talent

5 min Minutes

In today's fast-paced Life Sciences sector, attracting and retaining exceptional talent ...

By Emily Davies

Senior Content Writer

In today's fast-paced Life Sciences sector, attracting and retaining exceptional talent is paramount for success. With factors such as the rapid advancement of technology, the growing demand for outstanding candidates, and a scarcity of talent shaping Life Sciences recruitment, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to keep hold of the best and brightest talent. 

The dynamic nature of Life Sciences demands innovation, expertise, and dedication from its workforce, and that’s why retaining outstanding professionals plays a pivotal role in achieving long-term prosperity. With the right talent retention strategies in place, your business will be well-equipped to overcome the unwelcome prospect of staff turnover and maintain an engaged, highly skilled team of Life Sciences experts. 

In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at why talent retention is key for Life Sciences companies and explore five key strategies you should implement to keep stand-out professionals working within your organization.  

Why is Talent Retention Critical for Life Sciences Companies?

The Life Sciences sector is going through a period of unprecedented growth, with factors such as increased government investment and rapid technological advancements driving its success. 

According to Deloitte’s 2023 Global Life Sciences Outlook report, the combined worth of the pharmaceutical, biotech, and med tech industries stands at a staggering $2.83 trillion!

But with the need for top Life Sciences talent far outpacing the supply, businesses might find it difficult to minimize staff turnover amid a candidate-led job market. With figures showing that 133,000 additional Life Sciences jobs need to be filled by 2030 for the sector to overcome its skill shortages, there is an immediate need for businesses to come up with more creative and refined strategies to avoid losing their most outstanding staff. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom… Despite various challenges impacting the sector, including the rising demand for more effective treatments and an increasingly complex regulatory landscape, it’s highly likely that the Life Sciences sector will continue to prosper for the foreseeable future. 

While the future looks bright for the world of Life Sciences, companies still need to address one fundamental question: how can my organization retain outstanding staff with growing competition from competitors?

Well, this is a key question we’re going to answer in detail in the next section…

5 Strategies That Will Help You Retaining Exceptional Life Sciences Talent

Attracting exceptional talent to your organization is an impressive accomplishment, particularly considering the ongoing skills shortages that are being felt across the industry. 

However, convincing highly skilled individuals to remain at your company can be a difficult task, not least due to the unprecedented demand for top Life Sciences professionals all over the world.

If we’re being completely honest here, many companies within Life Sciences are affected by above-average staff turnover levels. In fact, according to research conducted by Finances Online, the turnover rate for Life Sciences stands at 20%, with 45% of departures occurring within the first year. 

These statistics highlight the extent of the sector’s talent retainment problem, and companies that fail to address this may risk increased hiring costs, decreased productivity, and reputational damage. 

So, how can you avoid losing your talented team? 

1. Refine Your Compensation and Benefits Packages 

As we’ve already established, incredible Life Sciences talent is in high demand, and a key strategy for retaining outstanding professionals is to offer competitive pay and benefits packages. 

Even if you’ve attracted an impressive number of high-quality candidates with your above-average pay and incentive offerings, it’s important to regularly review and refine your compensation plans to limit the risk of staff turnover. 

One way of ensuring that your compensation packages are as attractive as possible is by conducting market research and comparing your offerings with industry benchmarks. By regularly weighing up your salaries against pay packages offered by your competitors, you can retain your competitive edge and boost your staff retention rates. 

Of course, we understand that inflating salaries can be a concern in the current market. However, you should bear in mind that the average cost of each employee’s turnover varies from 70% to 300% of their yearly income. So, by offering above-average pay, not only will you improve retention, but you’ll also stand to save money in the long term. Other financial incentives include merit-based pay rises and offering well-defined pay progression plans. 

In addition to competitive compensation, your packages should also feature a variety of non-financial incentives that encourage your employees to stay at your organization. On top of traditional offerings like healthcare insurance, retirement saving plans, and paid time off, many Life Sciences companies provide flexible working policies designed to improve their staff’s work-life balance. In fact, one study shows that 70% of Life Sciences companies offer flexible work schedules. 

By incorporating these offerings into your compensation and benefits packages, you’ll have a great chance of fostering a motivated and engaged workforce that continues to contribute to your company’s long-term success. 

2. Create a Diverse and Inclusive Environment

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, Life Sciences has made significantly more progress than other STEM sectors, but with that said, there’s still room for improvement.

This is particularly apparent when it comes to leadership positions, with women making up just 31% of executive-level roles. Representation for ethnic minorities is a pressing issue for the industry as well, as figures show that Black and Hispanic professionals make up only 6% and 8% of the Life Sciences workforce, respectively. 

Given this state of play, it’s unsurprising that creating more diverse work environments has become a top priority for the industry. Boosting diversity in the workforce is not only essential for ensuring that companies represent wider society, but it can also benefit your business by sparking innovation and producing better quality work.

Did you know that higher diversity and inclusion rates also correlate with improved talent retention? 

In fact, a key takeaway from JLL’s The Future of Work Survey, which looks into the employee trends that are affecting the Life Sciences sector, is the rising demand for more diversity and inclusion in the workplace. According to the study, 71% of organizations stated that their employees increasingly expect their workplaces to positively impact society by investing in diversity. 

With this in mind, going above and beyond to improve diversity and inclusion in your workplace is essential for retaining staff, enhancing innovation, and increasing productivity. Here are key actions you can take to ensure that your company is at the forefront of diversity in Life Sciences: 

  • Set clear and measurable diversity goals 
  • Provide diversity and inclusion training for staff 
  • Make sure that hiring panels are diverse
  • Conduct pay equity audits to identify and resolve any gender or racial pay gaps 
  • Actively seek diverse talent by advertising on job boards geared toward underrepresented groups

3.  Invest in Training and Development Opportunities 

Exceptional talent is always looking to develop their skills and enrich their knowledge, especially in the dynamic, ever-evolving world of Life Sciences. 

With cutting-edge technologies like AI and machine learning set to reshape the sector in the coming years, it’s crucial for Life Sciences professionals to embrace this transformation and ensure that their skills are up-to-date. By investing in training opportunities, you’ll demonstrate that you care about your staff’s development and, as a result, are more likely to maintain a loyal, motivated workforce. 

And yet, despite the fact that upskilling and reskilling staff boost retention rates, many Life Sciences companies fail to provide adequate training programs. According to an employee survey carried out by McKinsey, only 25% of respondents believed that the training offered by their Life Sciences employer had measurably improved their productivity and performance. Although this concerning statistic highlights that this is an industry-wide issue, it also presents a golden opportunity for organizations looking to set themselves apart. 

So, what strategies can you adopt to ensure that your training and development programs are a cut above the rest?

  • Create personalized progression plans for each employee
  • Facilitate robust training programs designed to enhance and enrich your team’s industry knowledge and skill sets 
  • Encourage your team to attend industry workshops, conferences, and seminars to broaden their Life Sciences expertise 
  • Provide state-of-the-art equipment and tools for practical training
  • Encourage cross-departmental training 

Another surefire way of nurturing your team is by overseeing an effective onboarding program. Top-notch onboarding and training strategies will not only help your business improve talent retention, but they’ll also boost productivity and work quality. To find out more, head over to 5 Effective Onboarding and Training Strategies for Life Sciences Companies

4. Adopt a Proactive Recruitment Model

Adopting a proactive recruitment model is fundamental to any long-term hiring and retention strategy. 

Instead of waiting for talent gaps to materialize and reactively hiring new staff, Life Sciences companies can identify the perfect candidates even before they have vacancies to fill. This proactive approach ensures that the professionals you bring in are suited to your organization and, importantly, are more likely to stay on a long-term basis. 

A range of industry-wide issues affects the ability of Life Sciences businesses to make effective hires quickly, including skills gaps, increased competition, and inflationary pressures. 

By headhunting your ideal candidates before an immediate need for new talent, your organization can get ahead of your hiring needs and facilitate a better candidate experience. You’ll also be able to dramatically reduce time spent recruiting while saving all-important financial resources in the process. 

Here are our top tips you should follow to ensure a successful proactive recruitment campaign: 

  • Establish strong relationships with Life Sciences professionals by attending industry events and connecting with potential candidates on LinkedIn
  • Target your outreach efforts to the individuals most likely to be keen on applying for your Life Sciences jobs
  • Develop a talent pipeline that identifies specific candidates for key roles 
  • Send personalized messages to enhance the candidate’s experience
  • Leverage data analytics to pinpoint the most effective recruitment channels

5. Promote a Culture of Collaboration 

Last up on our list of strategies for retaining exceptional talent is promoting a culture of collaboration and recognition. 

Collaboration is a particularly important aspect of Life Sciences teams, as it allows employees to share knowledge and innovative ideas that may result in groundbreaking discoveries. One major example is the COVID-19 pandemic, which showcased the power of scientific collaboration, with scientists worldwide working together to develop vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tools. 

The significance of collaboration in Life Sciences cannot be understated. It provides an array of advantages, such as higher quality work, a better chance of stumbling across new discoveries and igniting innovation by sharing expertise. 

There are numerous ways Life Science companies can facilitate more collaboration within their teams, from providing access to state-of-the-art coworking spaces and introducing mentorship initiatives. 

Another key method for nurturing teamwork is adopting a hyper-collaboration approach - a concept that involves a high level of cooperation and information sharing between professionals from a variety of departments and disciplines. 

For many organizations, hyper-collaboration is paramount for success, with benefits such as shared risk and rewards, reduced costs, and higher levels of innovation. What’s more, collaboration is extremely important to Life Sciences professionals, and by pursuing this model, you’ll be able to boost your talent retention rates. 


It’s clear that Life Sciences’ unprecedented growth and the demand for exceptional talent require a strong focus on talent retention. With the industry facing challenges like high staff turnover rates and ongoing skills shortages, it’s vital for companies to implement strategies for retaining their top professionals.

By implementing the five strategies mentioned above, you’ll find your team becomes more motivated and engaged, meaning they’ll be less likely to look for career opportunities elsewhere.

And don’t forget, as your business and the industry continue to evolve, you should continuously strive to improve your talent retention. Doing so will not only reduce turnover and hiring costs but also enhance innovation, productivity, and continued success. 

If you’re in the midst of expanding your team and are hoping to attract more bright Life Sciences professionals to your business, reach out to us to find out how our expert team can help in achieving your recruitment goals. 

Book in a call with one of the team about your hiring needs.

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