The Career Transition Experts

EP 156: Life Science Compensation Survey - Flexibility, Freedom, and Fit - with Kim Laipple

May 09, 2024 Jonathan Flaks/Kim Laipple Season 4 Episode 18
EP 156: Life Science Compensation Survey - Flexibility, Freedom, and Fit - with Kim Laipple
The Career Transition Experts
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The Career Transition Experts
EP 156: Life Science Compensation Survey - Flexibility, Freedom, and Fit - with Kim Laipple
May 09, 2024 Season 4 Episode 18
Jonathan Flaks/Kim Laipple

In this episode, we dive headfirst into the Life Sciences Compensation Survey gathered, edited and authored by leading recruiting firm Scientific Search. In this lively dialog, we unpack the highlights and hottest trends, giving you the inside scoop on what’s driving the healthcare, health tech and biotech job market.  

We'll explore:

  • The rise of remote work: Is the office a thing of the past? Discover how flexibility is changing the game.
  • Beyond the paycheck: We'll unveil what personalized perks packages transcend, salary in driving job seekers to switch positions.
  • Is the recruiter your friend or foe? We'll discuss the value of recruiters in your job search journey.

Listen up and get all the insights you need to make your next move the right one!

Our guest, Kim Laipple, is the SVP and Managing Director of Scientific Search, authors of the Life Sciences Compensation Survey.  She has successfully placed people in clinical and commercial operations, manufacturing, engineering, R&D and analytics, and many other areas in pharmaceutical, life science medical device, healthcare, technology, and CPG companies. She was also nominated and joined the Pinnacle Society which is a consortium of the top 80 recruiters in the country. You may contact her at kim@scientificsearch.com

Here's the link to the Life Sciences Compensation Survey >> https://scientificsearch.com/life-sciences-compensation-survey-2023/


If you're interested in applying these insights into your career transition, let's schedule a FREE Vision and Strategy session - click here for more information.


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we dive headfirst into the Life Sciences Compensation Survey gathered, edited and authored by leading recruiting firm Scientific Search. In this lively dialog, we unpack the highlights and hottest trends, giving you the inside scoop on what’s driving the healthcare, health tech and biotech job market.  

We'll explore:

  • The rise of remote work: Is the office a thing of the past? Discover how flexibility is changing the game.
  • Beyond the paycheck: We'll unveil what personalized perks packages transcend, salary in driving job seekers to switch positions.
  • Is the recruiter your friend or foe? We'll discuss the value of recruiters in your job search journey.

Listen up and get all the insights you need to make your next move the right one!

Our guest, Kim Laipple, is the SVP and Managing Director of Scientific Search, authors of the Life Sciences Compensation Survey.  She has successfully placed people in clinical and commercial operations, manufacturing, engineering, R&D and analytics, and many other areas in pharmaceutical, life science medical device, healthcare, technology, and CPG companies. She was also nominated and joined the Pinnacle Society which is a consortium of the top 80 recruiters in the country. You may contact her at kim@scientificsearch.com

Here's the link to the Life Sciences Compensation Survey >> https://scientificsearch.com/life-sciences-compensation-survey-2023/


If you're interested in applying these insights into your career transition, let's schedule a FREE Vision and Strategy session - click here for more information.


Speaker 1:

individuals are indeed individual and there's not necessarily a one-size-fits-all. If you hire the right people, they can sit anywhere and get the job done.

Speaker 2:

Do you want to be the absolute best candidate for a job you'll love in a career with balance? Veteran Leadership Career Catalyst, jonathan Flax, is teaming up with leading executive search professionals to provide you with cutting-edge career transition strategies. Welcome to Career Transition Experts. And now here's your host, jonathan Flax.

Speaker 3:

Welcome and get ready for a very special edition of the Career Transition Experts. We're going to reflect with Kim Lepo, the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Scientific Search. And in addition to her operations functions, kim is actually also running a full recruiting desk, while also managing a team of 21 recruiters, and Scientific Search was kind enough to put together and I managed to get a copy of their salary survey and just really great insights we're going to explore regarding careers in sort of the scientific areas. Just a little bit more about Kim. She's had a couple of really strong years, not only as a director and manager but also as a recruiter herself.

Speaker 3:

A few years ago, kim was nominated to join, and did join, the Pinnacle Society, which many of our past guests know of. Many of you have heard of, but it's a consortium of the top 80 recruiters in the country. Kim has a consultative approach with clients and allows her really to increase her client base. She's been with Scientific Research for 15 years facing people in clinical and commercial operations, manufacturing, engineering, r&d, analytics and other areas of pharmaceutical, life sciences and medical devices. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kim Leipold. Kim, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it, my pleasure. Is there anything you want our readers to know, Our readers, our listeners to know about you tonight?

Speaker 1:

They left out. No, no, that was great. I appreciate the kudos. No, yeah, I've been doing this for over 20, some years, 15 years here, so I'm excited to help in any way I can. Awesome.

Speaker 3:

So let's start with a few questions I have about the salary survey Sure, where 101,000 individuals in life sciences were surveyed over 24 months. That's extremely comprehensive sample size, and out of 101,000, about 30% opened to email. 7% of those completed the survey, so that's a 723 people overall in the life sciences field still a very solid sample size. And people were surveyed randomly and kept anonymous. Correct People, about half of whom were in the Northeast and then the rest of the US rounded it out. So, and the significant majority were working in full-time roles yes. Now what was really interesting in the next page of this report was that 60% 59.1 percent of the surveyed respondents had not working full time in an office. They were either hybrid or remote. Well, 35 percent were remote. Yeah, something about that discovery Sure, what it means to businesses and what it means to candidates.

Speaker 1:

So I think you know one of the things is we've always had a portion of our industry work remote. So small companies that are starting just don't have the bandwidth for brick and mortar, rent utilities, all of those things. So they work remote and they use third party companies to deliver on a lot of their processes. But this is the first time with COVID happening that we've seen such a high number.

Speaker 1:

The main factor now is how do you get somebody to want to go back in an office and how do you not allow remote work to stunt their career growth, right? So, just like the kids with school, we talk about, you know, that loss in education or the loss in social development, and we're finding that to be true. So in consulting with our clients as well as candidates, we do recommend more of a hybrid approach. But we get very creative with some of our clients, where we have some that somebody can go on site for a week a month or go, you know, from a Tuesday to Thursday two weeks, and then not at all the other two day, two weeks, and then not at all the other two. So yeah, we're trying to make sure that people still get the face time, but emphasize that if you hire the right people, they can sit anywhere and get the job done, unless, of course, it's in a lab or manufacturing environment where they have to be on site, right that?

Speaker 3:

that makes perfect sense. So it really provides a significant shift towards flexibility and the survey speaks about how this combined hybrid and remote work really suggests that, if I would jump ahead. And, by the way, before I get too much further, if people want to access this report, can they get this from your website? Should they email you? How do they go about that? We can you say in the show notes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I have a link that they can click on that I'm happy to send you that we can include in the show notes and it's as simple as adding their name and email to be able to download it. We don't ask for a lot of information like phone number or anything, but we do do the name and email just so that we can track how many downloads we have.

Speaker 3:

Okay, perfect, so the listener might pause. Now. Grab that off the show notes so you can see the survey we're talking about. There's a page in the survey that talks about what would impact your decision and make a job change. It was very interesting to see like this is where people in life sciences and the scientific community really indicate salary would be the by far the salary and benefits combined. You know, if you put salary, benefits and bonus class significantly, uh, everyone in their careers in this, in this space, significantly votes by their dollars. But work, life balance, work life balance and having remote work closely competed with things like growth and culture, which companies also put a lot of time and attention into, what can you say?

Speaker 1:

about that. Yeah, I would say, starting with the salary and benefits, that benefit component is much more prevalent in our conversations than it was even three to five years ago, let alone. You know, when I started in this industry. If you could move somebody forward on salary and maybe shorten their commute by two miles, they were in. You know, give me 5,000 more and I'll jump ship. And now it's a much more comprehensive evaluation of package. We when when I started, we didn't even have benefit information on clients Like clients went over that with the candidates. It was almost like companies kept that a secret. Do you remember that? Like when it was almost like companies kept that close to the vest.

Speaker 1:

Now that conversation down to 401k match is happening very early on vacation, happening very early on vacation. You know, a lot of variables are much more important to a candidate today. That didn't matter before. So I think it indicates that people are really looking at a holistic approach to their career and not just valuing one or two metrics, but really, in turn, changes our conversation. It allows us the opportunity to tailor things for each candidate and okay, well, they can pay you what you're looking for, but they're short on vacation.

Speaker 1:

I just had somebody say to us that they would forego their next increase if, instead of more money, they could get more vacation at their next review. Is that something the company's ever considered? So you know, it's a different world that we live in now and different things matter to different people, depending on what stage they are in their life, whether they have children, whether they prioritize travel. You know, maybe they're looking to travel significantly in the next three years before they start a family. More often than I've ever heard maternity leave, paternity leave, you know, any of the tuition things like that that they were what they were. You either got them or you didn't. Now it's they're choosing opportunities based on their needs.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, we're coming two decades out of the roaring 80s and 90s. We're working tooth and nail and really trading in their lives for their work. And then there was talk about work-life balance. And here we are now with people working from home, remote and hybrid and demanding these kinds of things and trading in salary for work-life balance, sure, and companies getting wise to that. Uh, to keep people happy, absolutely not just pay them more, but also make sure that they're happy as people, what are you seeing from companies regarding their approach and their policies towards recruiting, towards engaging, towards, you know, attracting and retaining talent? You have this important, pivoting, this trigger and lever of work-life balance.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would say one of the things is we have one client that does require full time on site, but to offset some of that outlay of costs, Right, we're not just talking about the gas money to go in, You're talking about lunch. You're talking about wear and tear on the car. That particular client provides breakfast and lunch, with a chef on site cooking for the team. We have another client that makes sure that the days that people go in there's you know you're not going in for no reason. The last thing you want to do is say you have to come in two days a week. Someone comes in on a Wednesday and there's nobody else there, Right?

Speaker 1:

That's you know that person's not gaining anything. So we have clients that are you know, say they go in Tuesday, wednesday, thursday at least one or two of those days there's some type of team activity that helps build culture and sustain collaboration. We are seeing much more emphasis on things that are maybe not what people think of as benefits but really appreciate. So pet insurance, metrocard reimbursement if they're going into the city. We're seeing more home office budget or set up to offset, because I mean a lot of people don't have printers anymore, let alone those big copy machines. We had that you know collated everything and you know you had to call the serviceman. Now you just buy the throwaway ones, um.

Speaker 1:

We're seeing a lot more focus on benefit funding. So meaning their hsa how are you going to offset that deductible? Um, buying that down for them in some way? You at maybe it's so much per month and retirement account creativity. We have a couple of clients that are doing things where they offer safe harbor contribution which is three percent of whatever you make. They're going to put in your 401k even if you don't put anything in.

Speaker 3:

Oh, so it's not matching.

Speaker 1:

Right, it's just pure on them. They're just dumping a chunk of change into your retirement account, or part of your bonus is put into your retirement account, pre-tax, to save you some money. So a lot of creativity in the way that their packaging benefits. A lot of discussion around personalization of plans. A lot of discussion around personalization of plans things that you know companies want to. People want to compare in their offers. So I would say it's definitely depends on the size of the company and what they can offer, but acknowledging that individuals are indeed individual and there's not necessarily a one size fits all are indeed individual and there's not necessarily a one-size-fits-all Great.

Speaker 3:

Wow, I see why you do so well, kim, you're really thorough at engaging in what you share and it is interesting how many unique and different scenarios any individual might have. I mean, some people working from home, a $250 printer scanner copy machine, home working from home a 250 printer scanner copy machine, no planner. And for others, they won't get on right, a guy playing a bandwidth will not buy a printer, he just doesn't have one. And if a company gives them one and they'll put it somewhere, right, it's funny how people are, um, nevertheless, it turns out, money talks. And on page eight of the survey, the question if you were presented with an opportunity this week that would increase your salary by 10%, would you take the interview? Yeah, that was the key there. Right, because anyone you know there's no harm in in taking an interview, right, and about 80% said yes they would take the interview when, as an employer, would not want their people entertaining the idea.

Speaker 1:

That's exactly why I have that in there. You nailed it. It was to show that the retention that you may think you have gets thrown out the window when the carrot is dangled. Yeah, um, and you know what could happen. And are you being proactive in preparing for what could easily happen to an organization? If someone goes after that group of people for some reason, for a competitor or whatever the case may be, yeah, they may not take the job. There may be enough wrong with the job when they interview or the company that doesn't align with them, but the fact that they would take an interview indicates there's something still missing. Because I wouldn't take an interview. I mean, I haven't written a resume in 15 years. I'm not looking, yeah, but it's amazing how many people would take an interview.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, at least that they would say they would take it in, and it's easy to say. But it's still a indication of attitude. Sure, even if that is a 70% Right, we do it. An 80 say they would. But whatever, the report is chock full of interesting insights. I've shared with you questions on some of the areas I thought were worth exploring. What was your view or most surprising or interesting? What's something in the survey that you'd like to share with the most interesting or curious or yeah, I was surprised that um well one.

Speaker 1:

It was our first year doing it this comprehensively, so we were really excited about it, and we've gotten some amazing feedback from hiring managers and people like yourself and others that we reach out to to help improve upon it next year.

Speaker 1:

So I'm even more excited for 2025's version, summarizing the outcome in 2024.

Speaker 1:

So it is something we'll do annually now and continue to improve.

Speaker 1:

I would say I thought we would see less emphasis applied to other areas of quote unquote benefits and more just about salary, and I was surprised how many people really did prioritize a bunch of variables that mattered to them, and I think that the more we can capture that information, the better we can prepare our clients that it's not just that we're saying this is what we're seeing in our handful of companies we're working with. But here is, you know, close to a thousand people that we've interacted with in the last two years that say these are what they're evaluating an opportunity on and gives leadership some insight to help support HR and how hard they work to get these things for people when I think sometimes maybe you know, you only know what you know and you don't know what you don't know. So if you're in a leadership role, you may not realize the impact. You may think HR is just looking to put together this sexy offering, but here is the proof that it really does matter to the people that are interviewing with your company.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, sure, 1950s there was a TV show, father Knows Best, and our culture was matriarchal and one spouse was the breader and he did everything else. And then, as we've evolved, there's been more and more partnership, correct? So if there's more partnerships in family and things have developed more towards a desire for work life balance, one member of a family can't say to the other I'm taking a new job and we're moving, or we're changing our life because I'm making more money and we're moving, or we're changing our life because I'm making more money. You know that was a significant motivator. As we've seen, when it comes push comes to shove, the different facets of work life balance really need to not only satisfy a candidate but satisfy how they show up to their family and friends. Yes, they say when they have to answer the question why did you change jobs? Yes, can't just be well to make more money, right, people's uh sort of status is to be a little more well-rounded in culture, uh, both in terms of real need and desire as well as looking good. Does that make sense?

Speaker 1:

yeah, no, absolutely. I would say that people that are um, born here on american soil definitely fall more into what you're describing interesting. I would say there are certain cultures where the parents do still run the show right, versus the kids maybe. Um, you know, we tend our rule of thumb is typically, unless you've done it before, unless you can convince me otherwise, I'm not reloying somebody with high school kids. It's not a good idea for your family, it's not a good idea for the kids, but we do see in many cultures where money and setting your kids up in the long run is so important that the mom will stay home with the kids and the father will reload and go back and forth.

Speaker 1:

Wow, and that is very common in the life sciences. But again, there's a cultural impact there where we don't see it as often. We are seeing a lot of people that are still very entrenched in their career but that are much more flexible with Relo as their kids leave the house, right, but the housing market has a huge impact on that as well. So, and that's a whole nother yeah, guest, you know we can go on and on.

Speaker 3:

I would like to ask you a few questions. I'd like to have one. My guests especially valid in this conversation can go on and on. I would like to ask you a few questions. I'd like to have all my guests especially valid in this conversation, as most of the people you deal with are extremely smart. Yes, yeah, scientific minded.

Speaker 1:

We ask recruiters what is the dumbest thing you've seen as an example, a smart yeah, I think that people that can be very intelligent don't always realize that we have value Right so that you know you may interview for four or five jobs your whole life and we're coaching people every day. So I would say it is knowing what the job is but not being aware of the company. I'm still dumbfounded by or not giving us 15 minutes to prepare you oh, I know what I'm doing, I'm smart enough to interview kind of mentality or not having us check a thank you note, things like that that that still backfire quite often.

Speaker 3:

Gotcha Very, very interesting. Ok, so you're engaging with recruiters, listeners as candidates, do follow their lead, listen to what they have to say, stay in communication with recruiters that are hired by the companies to find talent, but they really can bridge the gap and provide every one of the recruiters I speak to, whether they become a guest on our program here or not. They tell me they really do like helping candidates. We really do. Yeah, very good. Yeah, I know you also like to see your kids and your grandkids.

Speaker 1:

You're too young to have grandkids. Thank you, I have four of them.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, I have four of them. You're part of a rescue. You support an animal rescue, is that correct?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I ran my own for a very long time and now I just support local animal rescues. I have four rescue animals in my home and I do believe that the animals are put on this earth to remind us to appreciate and love the simple things in life.

Speaker 3:

Really really nice, great way for us to end. Thank you very much, absolutely Thank you. We will talk to you again soon and wishing you all the best Folks, do check out the link, if you haven't already, to the Scientific Search that's, the recruiting firm and their salary survey.

Speaker 4:

Thank you for listening to the Career Transition Experts. If you'd like to apply these insights to your career transition, why don't you schedule a free vision and strategy session where we'll look over your resume together, talk about your career goals and talk about strategies to reaching them? There's no charge for the call and you'll find it extremely insightful and valuable to you. Just click the link below in the show notes. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Evolving Employee Benefits and Job Market