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What could 2020 have in store for employees in the life sciences?

2 Jan 2020

Life sciences recruitment expert Leslie Loveless outlines her predictions for jobs in biotech and other fields in the coming year.

The year ahead holds plenty of potential for many industries, and the life sciences won’t be left behind.

As CEO of life sciences leadership recruitment company Slone Partners, Leslie Loveless is in a great position to give insights into what 2020 could have in store for those in biotech and other scientific fields. Here, she gives Siliconrepublic.com her predictions for the coming year.

‘It is no longer a question but a fact that diversity of thought leads to creativity, innovation, comprehensive strategies and, ultimately, greater success’

How will biotech management and leadership change in 2020?

The emphasis on building diverse and inclusive leadership teams is stronger than ever. Companies both feel the pressure and have the desire to create teams that more accurately reflect the markets they serve. Specifically, I believe 2020 will bring more opportunities for women in leadership roles that have historically been dominated by men in the C-suite.

It is no longer a question but a fact that diversity of thought leads to creativity, innovation, comprehensive strategies and, ultimately, greater success. We will likely see more young, female, and other diverse ‘up and comer’ types leading teams as the need for high-energy cultures and new and disruptive technologies becomes even more pervasive in the life sciences.

Will there be new challenges for leaders in the area?

Most life science surveys indicate that one of the greatest challenges in the coming years will be identifying and retaining the necessary talent to deliver – in practical ways – on the innovations that would have seemed like science fiction merely 20 years ago.

Leaders who have a very traditional approach or style may find it difficult to attract and motivate the best and brightest minds of a younger workforce. It will be imperative for company leaders to make a sincere effort to understand and connect to the teams that will help lead their companies to the next level of success.

Hiring authorities should see beyond a traditional approach to interviewing and strive to create an exceptional experience for candidates who are in high demand.

Do you have any tips for leaders and managers in biotech and similar fields in 2020?

Creating an extraordinary company culture needs to be a strategic business initiative for companies, much like other business goals. Companies must have a clearly articulated culture that attracts the most talented people who share the same values and goals. This leads to a deeper commitment from employees to the company, their peers and the mission. Cultures need to be defined, measured, and alive in organisations in order to serve as true differentiators.

Culture is not about a few words on a website or a poster on a wall. Companies must make culture an active part of the inner workings of the company and a visible part of its public identity.

It is a fact that there are many amazing innovations and products, but it’s the deep connection that employees develop with and for a company and its mission that makes the true difference. In addition to culture contributing to a company’s ability to hire and retain the best talent, it also supports an environment of improved performance.

A professional woman has her arms crossed and is smiling into the camera in an office setting.

Leslie Loveless, Slone Partners CEO

Will many biotech companies be hiring this year?

In short – yes. We are already in talks with many companies about their hiring plans for 2020. All clients express concern about the ability to find and recruit the talent they need in the new year.

The demand for expertise in regulatory, quality, clinical development and informatics roles will continue to grow. All of the companies we have been talking to are looking for the right skills and know-how to allow for smooth FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] interactions, identification of exciting new drug targets, and methods for faster and more cost-effective trials.

Is there anything a person looking to break into a career in biotech this year should keep in mind?

Candidates need to understand and identify with the mission of a company. Fit is critically important, particularly in the world of biotech. If you are a candidate, you must be prepared. Do your research on the company and the people and expect the same from the people you meet with during the interview.

Make sure interview conversations include an understanding of key deliverables, work environment and the people, so that career decisions are made based on a comprehensive understanding of fit with an organisation.

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