How to create a market-leading salary and benefits package

The recruitment landscape has evolved exponentially over the last 12-months, particularly in Q3 as the majority of the world enters “post-pandemic” working. The Life Sciences industry has continued to thrive despite adversity, which has made it even more challenging for organisations to attract talent so they can enter Q1 of 2022 with a strong team. 

At Apsida, a substantial component of our role as an agency, as well as individual consultants, is to advise our clients on how to navigate the demands of the current landscape. Whether it’s conducting research analysis or salary surveys, or simply assisting with the negotiation process so they can secure the best candidate, we have an up-to-date, accurate view of what talent pools want. 

Whether this is a financial package such as a basic salary, sign-on bonus or annual bonus, or it’s a benefits package that enables for better flexible working or additional perks, we digest all of this information and ensure that each client we partner with is equipped with the tools they need to have a competitive edge in the market. 

Here is what each specialist has to say about the current state of the market, relating to their vertical. 

Project Management | William Penticost, Senior Consultant

“Salaries are increasing in the ‘great resignation’. To keep and retain the best talent in the Project Management space, clients need to stay up to date with the current remuneration demands. 

The best way to do this is to learn about current market trends, or, work with a recruitment partner who has the capacity to conduct research on your behalf, whether this is general market research or looking at what your competitors are doing. Additionally, having a modern approach to work/life balances and giving recognition for your employees work is crucial. A “pat on the back” goes a long way.”  

 

Commercial CDMO | Joseph Johnson, Business Manager

“The CDMO market has been buoyant and ever-growing over the recent years, especially with the demand in biologics/vaccine development and manufacturing increasing. As a result, the supply of salespeople with the technical expertise needed is scarce. Many companies are now creating contingency plans to beat the competition financially, including increased salaries, uncapped bonuses and sign-on bonuses, especially for niche skillsets. Companies must adhere to these market trends if they want to avoid missing out on key staff responsible for revenue generation and overall business growth.”

 

Regulatory & CMC | Ethan Cortese, Business Manager

“The Regulatory Affairs and CMC industry is currently a tough market to navigate and attract talent. Salaries are ever-increasing due to the growing need for these professionals in the life science industry. The surge in demand has resulted in salaries and packages offered to candidates being much more than the typical ‘industry average’. I recommend that all companies put time and budget aside to look into what the industry averages are and how you can be competitive. More importantly, using a head-hunter that provides live market feedback will always keep you in tune with market trends.”

 

Clinical and Medical | Alex Coppen, Business Manager

“As the pandemic becomes more under control, the Clinical Development industry has been steadily picking up momentum, where we are now seeing more investment and general optimism in the market. This means that there is a higher demand once more for specialist talent both in the clinical operations and clinical development/medical space, leaving companies battling it out for the top candidates. 

We recommend seriously investing in your Talent Acquisition strategy, not just with money, but also time. If you and your hiring team don’t commit to an efficient recruitment process, you will lose candidates to your competitors, as we are seeing some companies moving swiftly to secure these top candidates.”

 

Commercial eClinical | Tom Jacobson, Senior Consultant

“The global pandemic has been a catalyst for the progression of vaccines, treatments, and medical devices. As a result, the competition between business for the best talent has hit an all-time high. The best companies out there are now taking new measures to ensure they reward their employees. Within the eClinical space, we are seeing companies offering shares and unlimited holidays as a standard. 

Our research suggests that the average base salary in Europe for an eClinical Business Development Director has increased by 17% in the last 18 months. The best way to retain your employees is to continuously incentivise and reward them, whilst also making sure that everyone has the best work-life balance and give plenty of opportunities to grow internally. Offering an additional €10k on someone’s base when they hand in their notice won’t keep people invested in the long-term.”

 

So, how can you create a market-leading salary and benefits package?

Although there are some specific demands relating to the verticals that we service at Apsida, there are key themes such as bonuses, flexibility, and salary increases that are now a uniform expectation from candidates in the UK, Europe, and USA. 

Here are some ways to create a market-leading salary and benefits package, both to attract and retain talent. 

 

Financial | Review all current salaries within your organisation or team

Although candidate attraction is a core focus across the whole Life Sciences market, don’t let your retention strategy take a back seat. A great way to mitigate leavers is to spend time conducting market research either internally or via a recruitment partner to look after those already within your organisation. 

Your findings may show that you are already remunerating employees well, or it may uncover areas for improvement. Setting aside a budget for salary increases not only demonstrates your proactivity to current employees, but will also allow you to stay ahead of the curve if talent is approached by a competitor. Making employees aware of these salary reviews and why you’re conducting them is also crucial.

 

Financial | Review bonuses and commission structures

Particularly in the commercial space, bonuses and commission structures are key deciding factors for candidates when they are searching for a new opportunity. Conducting internal conversations and research on how employees currently feel about their bonus and commission structure and comparing this with external market intel will enable you to update and refresh what you currently offer. 

In other vertical markets, where commission isn’t offered, look at other ways in which you can reward employees, whether this is through new bonus schemes or performance-based incentives. 

 

Remote working and flexibility | Redefine a strategy that will work for you

Remote working in previous years used to be a key differentiator for a lot of organisations. However, in a post-pandemic world, many candidates have an expectation that remote working will simply be part of what each organisation offers. Thus, this is no longer a USP when attracting talent. 

The key is to redefine a remote working strategy which works for those already in your organisation as well as allowing for it to be tailored to some degree. For example, Asynchronous Working has been adopted across many industries, as well as some organisations extending their flexible working policy to allow employees to work from a different country for 60-90 days a year. This has largely been seen in the Tech and FinTech space, with Revolut being an excellent example of how this can be effective. 

 

Remote working and flexibility | Invest in technology that will contribute to cultural connectivity

Although Zoom and other free features are now integrated into most organisations, remote working can pose the risk of a culture change or lack of face time from a training perspective. Partnering with tech companies that enable for better cultural connectivity can ensure that your values and company mission are prioritised without sacrificing the benefits that remote working can bring to employees. 

 

Benefits | Conduct surveys to find out what employees want

From a retention and attraction perspective, you have to understand what employees within your organisation currently want. Simple surveys which are free and quick to conduct will give you a better idea of benefits that you should implement. Similarly, competitor research via a recruitment partner will give you this information.

In summary, the consensus is that the demands of the Life Sciences landscape continues to grow, and organisations must work in partnership with their employees as well as external partners or recruitment firms to enable them to create a competitive, attractive salary and benefits package to attract and retain talent.

At Apsida we work closely with all of our partners to ensure that they are receiving up-to-date, market-specific information that ties in to their wider talent acquisition strategy. Should you wish to have an informal conversation with any of our consultants, please contact us directly.

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