The “New Normal” in Recruiting for the Life Sciences

Bureau of Labor StatisticsRecruiting is getting even more difficult

That would seem really counter-intuitive, right?

There is greater than 7% unemployment and we have so many more tools now – LinkedIn, the many job boards (Monster, BioSpace,  etc.), postings that get picked up by many boards and contingency recruiters.

So why would it be difficult to find the right people?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has the statistics for last month.  They lump pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals with all “chemical manufacturing.”

And the unemployment rate for this sector was 5% in May 2013.

This included individual contributors through senior management in all of the chemical manufacturing sector including packaging and fill machine operators.  There have been 5 mass layoff events and only 385 initial claims for unemployment benefits.

Not really that many.

And employment in our industry is expected to increase by 8% by 2020.  Demand is strong and will remain strong.

The Bureau says,

“Job prospects. Prospects should be favorable, particularly for life scientists with a doctoral degree. Unlike many other manufacturing industries, the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry is not highly sensitive to changes in economic conditions. Even during periods of high unemployment, work is likely to be relatively stable in this industry, because consumption of medicine does not vary greatly with economic conditions. Additional openings will arise from the need to replace workers who transfer to other industries, retire, or leave the workforce for other reasons.”

On a more personal note, because of the economic turmoil, people are staying with their current companies.  Because of the housing market, many are very reluctant to try to sell their houses and move.

How is your method of finding the right people dealing with these realities?

Are your postings bringing in the right people or is the layer of “wrong” resumes getting deeper?

Is your employee referral program bringing in the people the hiring manager wants?

Can you bring yourself to call into your competitors to talk directly with the people who have the skills you need and hire them away?

Do you have time to sort through LinkedIn and then contact each promising looking person?

Do you have time to join the right LI groups or are you simply posting on their jobs board in hopes that the right person will see it?

What are you doing do deal with the “new normal”?


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