How biotech recruiting has changed in the post-COVID world

More than two years on from COVID, offices and the world of work remain forever changed. Many companies are offering hybrid work models, where employees work in an office a few days a week, while others have embraced remote work indefinitely. In addition, fears are rising of a possible recession.

To get a better sense of how companies in the biotechnology sector are recruiting in this unique market, Bio.News caught up with Travere Therapeutics’ Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, Amy Hernandez, to discuss how the BIO member company is attracting top talent.

Wellness is vital

“This is a high growth year for Travere Therapeutics and we’re not immune to the tight market dynamics employers are currently facing,” Hernandez told Bio.News.

The company introduced several new benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, including monthly wellness days, caregiver support benefits, as well as tutoring and back-up childcare benefits.

“We offer a quarterly wellness stipend so team members can ensure they can support their well-being and development goals,” Hernandez added, adding that the firm’s offices are closed during the last week of the calendar year.

According to a recent Deloitte Insights article, “68% of employees and 81% of the C-suite say that improving their well-being is more important than advancing their career.”

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging

Beyond benefits in the wellness space, Hernandez said the company “expanded our diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) engagement with partner organizations, such as the National Sales Network and BIO to recruit candidates with diverse backgrounds.”

Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion is of the utmost importance in recruiting and hiring new talent in the biotechnology sector, but more must be done. According to BIO’s third-annual “Measuring Diversity in the Biotech Industry” report published in partnership with Coqual, only 30% of companies surveyed require a diverse slate of applicants for all open positions. Furthermore, only 39% of large companies and 24% of small companies require a diverse slate of candidates for senior positions. It is clear that more must be done to attract diverse talent.

With many new college graduates having wrapped up their studies in May, firms have an opportunity to recruit talent. Travere, for one, is “looking to expand our relationships with both local universities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Hernandez. In addition, the company is raising awareness of Science, Technology, Education, and Math (STEM) careers by partnering with a local organization to mentor young students.

How states, companies can recruit biotech talent

At BIO’s recent International Convention in June, a panel discussion on “Building a Strong Biomanufacturing Workforce in the United States” featured state economic development experts highlighting the role that states play in indirectly recruiting talent by directly recruiting biotech companies to invest in their states and bring jobs with them.

A company’s mission and purpose is increasingly important to job seekers considering their options, according to a recent CBRE report titled, “Life Sciences Research Talent 2022.” In 2020, there was a record number – 163,000 – of graduates in the biomedical and biological sciences and many are driven by a desire to directly impact patients’ lives.

While the U.S. economy faces the possibility of stagflation – the combination of a recession and inflation – in the near future, the important work of the biotechnology sector, including that of companies such as Travere, offers many opportunities for new and experienced workers alike.

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