The 2021 California Life Sciences Workforce Trends Report, points to a nationwide staffing crunch in the life sciences industry. Between pandemic-related changes to the workplace and underdeveloped talent pipelines, the life sciences industry is in a fierce competition for skilled employees, both for STEM positions and for secondary roles like IT that are necessary to support scientists.
Technology is playing a significant role in helping companies meet the challenges of recruiting, onboarding and retaining talent in this new era of remote work.
1. Supporting the new flexible workplace
In California, 66% of life science companies interviewed for the 2021 California Life Sciences report are currently implementing remote work, 96% of them citing pandemic safety concerns. Moreover, according to the recent Accenture Future of Work Study, 83% of workers prefer a hybrid work model. Responding to this workplace disruption, Xantrion is helping life science companies adopt platforms for remote work that enable employees’ reliable, secure access to critical systems. It is also providing high-performance tools that meet the life sciences industry’s specific needs for security and regulatory compliance. Finally, to minimize disruption in implementing these tools, Xantrion provides 24/7 remote support, ensuring that team members have remote access to all necessary applications and data regardless of location or hour.
“Most [CA life science companies interviewed] envision futures with more distributed workforce models, where some of their employees work exclusively on-site, some are fully remote and still others have flexible work schedules (i.e., customized, non-standard hours or hybrid in-office and remote work schedules)…. [T]his predicts a future of work that looks quite different for many employees of California’s life science companies.”
“Forced remote work during the pandemic has led to growing confidence in and adoption of rapidly advancing technologies for communication and distributed, collaborative work.”
*Excerpts from 2021 CA Workforce Trends Report
2. Expanding recruitment horizons
Many of the same tools that Xantrion has developed to support a remote or hybrid workplace also allow life science companies to broaden their pool of prospective hires. By giving employees the tools needed to help them work productively and efficiently without having to be in the office, companies can look beyond applicants within easy commuting distance and focus on the best candidates wherever they are, in some cases allowing companies to avoid expensive relocation costs.
At a bare minimum, IT outsourcing solutions can help companies in their strategic approach to recruiting talent by helping to onboard and adapt employees, many of whom have never met their hiring company executives or teams face-to-face by providing top-notch support from day one. A virtual, streamlined onboarding process could include anything from preconfiguring computers, to supporting “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policies, to links to online training courses, to web forms and checklists that help managers with new hires.
“The ongoing shift toward more distributed workforce models is allowing companies to widen their recruitment nets to now include distant geographies. This will be particularly relevant for some hard-to-fill skill sets, and likely will result in companies hiring more distant workers who will not relocate for work and therefore remain fully remote.”
“Whether it is the
- continued robustness of the [life sciences] industry as it has responded and adjusted to COVID,
- the recognition that far more needs to be done to create access for those who have been largely excluded from the industry, or simply
- the growing awareness that collaborations with academic partners is essential for co-developing necessary talent, interviewees from companies of all sizes indicated a desire to bolster and develop new relationships with academic partners to inspire and develop a new generation of talent.”
*Excerpts from 2021 CA Workforce Trends Report
Highlighting another key trend from the upcoming report is expanding recruitment horizons by forming partnerships with colleges or workforce training programs that can help co-develop talent to the specific skill sets companies need. Xantrion has successfully partnered with the University of California at Santa Cruz and the City College of San Francisco, for example, for entry-level technicians, and later this fall, with the IT Futures internship program with the Jewish Vocational Services.
The world of recruiting, retention, and remote work has changed – likely forever – but also, potentially, for the better. Technology is strategically helping life sciences companies navigate these new challenges to support and grow a truly modern STEM workforce that is a step ahead of the trends. For life sciences companies who are looking for a new IT partner that is well-versed in the industry and its transition to remote work, visit www.xantrion.com/life-sciences.