Biotech Hiring in 2018 – 5 Ways to Make it Easier!

Biotech Hiring in 2018 – 5 Ways to Make it Easier!

Why is it so difficult to hire in the biotech industry in 2018? Let’s start with looking at the access to capital in the industry right now. These are just a small sample of capital related headlines that I’ve pulled since January 2018.

Big Pharma roared back to life in the first half of this year with $100 billion spent on mergers and acquisitions so far. (Source BioSpace)

  • The M&A landscape in Big Pharma this year has increased dramatically since 2017.
  • In 2017 there were 101 deals, only 14 of which were worth more than $1 billion, BioSpace reported.
  • The industry is well on its way to surpassing last year’s M&A total already.
  • Changes in the U.S. tax code as the primary impetus for all the deals.
  • New code brings the corporate tax rate below 20%, making it easier for Big Pharma to repatriate cash hordes they’ve been holding overseas.
  • Likely the M&A boom will continue through 2018.
  • J&J CEO Alex Gorsky said changes in the U.S. tax code would allow the company to invest more than $30 billion in deals.
  • Large Deals
    • Celgene’s $7 billion acquisition of Impact Biomedicines
    • Celgene’s $9 billion purchase of Juno Therapeutics
    • Sanofi’s $11.6 billion purchase of Biogen spin-out Bioverativ
    • Johnson & Johnson $2.8 billion sell off for its Advanced Sterilization from industrial equipment maker Fortive.

VC activity is booming in healthcare with Q2 drawing in $5.1 billion in capital

  • That’s 22% of the total $23 billion raised by all VC-backed companies in the US.
  • VC-backed US companies raising 45 mega-rounds in Q2 – that’s up from 35 last quarter.
  • 2018’s mega-rounds are currently on pace to beat what was an unprecedented 2017 — which posted 111 mega-rounds.
  • 12 mega-rounds totaling more than $100 million in Q1/2 2018

There is an abundance of capital, promising science, but not enough people to drive it. With all of this new growth, there are a finite number of professionals in the industry and everyone is pulling from the same small pool of experienced talent.

In the search industry, it’s now the norm or almost expected that an active job seeker is going to receive multiple job offers when they decide to make a move. Once the word is on the street that someone is looking to make a move, they are shown a number of options. Case in point, we had a candidate in the offer stage recently and when his reference found out he was considering a move, the reference created a role at his new company immediately. They hired the candidate within 24 hours and without an interview. That is the environment we are in.

But how do you cut through the noise to reach the talent that you want on your team? What can you do to compete against other companies also looking to hire the same exact candidate profile?

5 Steps to Standing Above the Crowd in Biotech Recruiting

1. Know what is really unique about your company. 

Long gone are the days when you can simply say that you have a novel asset and a great culture. It’s lost in the noise of “We are unique, just like everybody else.” Look at your company from the outside. Are you targeting a high unmet medical need? Is it a pediatric indication?

2. Don’t paint a perfect picture.

Keep in mind that that top reasons people make a career move are for professional challenge, management, and quality of life. If you want the top 20% of candidates in their respective profession, you have to show them how they will be professionally challenged. What problems can they solve by using their past experiences? They do not want to know that everything is a walk in the park.  Each company and role has its own challenges; they are usually just looking to swap for better, high quality challenges

3. Share the vision. 

Ultimately, everyone compares the future of where they are to the future of where they could be going. Make sure your team is clear on the future vision of the company, the future vision of the department, and the future growth of the role

4. Be streamlined and accessible. 

In a highly competitive market, those who are winning are accessible and respond quickly. Do you have a process in place for fast responses with incoming CVs? How many “hoops” do you make a potential candidate go through before they can speak with someone in detail about the role

5. Change your interview process.  

The speed at which your company interview people in 2012 will not help you in 2018. I know a 70 person company who gets their lunch eaten by a large global pharma company on interview timelines because they refuse to innovate and shorten their interview process. Timing is not always the reason but I see candidates that have to choose between one offer in hand and two interviews a week away. There is a large percentage that goes with the sure thing.