Boston has traditionally been a hub for life science start-ups, but the last couple of years have seen this trend accelerate considerably. The high number of top universities and hospitals in the area, as well as burgeoning demand, have built up this already growing sector. In fact, life sciences is expected to become the dominant industry in Boston.

This has made competition for top talent particularly fierce, especially in a candidate short market like the one we have been experiencing.

So, how do you hire to set up your biotech startup for success? We believe the key lies with the right executives in leadership.

Starting with the C-Suite is Pivotal

The C-Suite is important to every company as they set the tone and the path of a company. Everything from strategy to company culture will start at the top, so it is absolutely vital to get those hires right. This is especially important for smaller, growing companies like startups, as employees at these organizations will likely have more facetime and even collaboration with members of the leadership team.

It’s also important to have the right people steering the ship from the start. As a company goes through funding and all related phases of growth, having a skilled and savvy C-Suite can make all the difference. Because of the dynamic nature of biotech startups, consistent and steady leadership guiding the way will contribute to the confidence and success of employees at every level of the organization.

Therefore, finding people with the right qualifications and skills for those top roles should be a priority for growing biotech startups. Some roles that we suggest businesses in this space start with are:

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Medical Officer
  • Chief Scientific Officer
  • Chief Technical Operations Officer/Chief Technical Officer
  • Chief Business Officer/Chief Commercial Officer

Hone and Accelerate Your Recruitment Process

For most of 2021-2022, we have been experiencing a distinctly candidate-short market. Very few qualified professionals have been actively seeking new jobs, which in turn has made those candidates extremely valuable. We’ve seen salaries balloon and companies willing to make concessions about remote and hybrid working in order to secure a top candidate. Most of these professionals have had multiple offers to consider, including counteroffers from current employers.

In a market like this, accelerated hiring processes and a strong first offer are essential. Knowing the market rate for your open roles and which benefits are most important to candidates could make all the difference. In a space like biotech, speed is key. Consistent communication and a thorough but fast and streamlined interview process with top candidates can give an organization the edge over the competition.

Here at Michael Page, we expedite our screening processes by meeting the candidates we work with face-to-face and building a relationship with them. This way, we can confidently introduce them to our clients knowing that they are a potential fit. This puts everyone steps ahead in the hiring journey.

We also see that in Boston specifically, there is a particular focus on the human element when candidates are making a decision about where they want to work. While this is true of many regions, it is particularly prevalent here. Health insurance beginning from day one, as well as mental health benefits and a focus on both Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) are in high demand. This could be especially key in C-Suite roles, as company leaders have a huge hand in company culture and often want to ensure that their values align with the organization’s.

The market very well may normalize throughout 2022-2023 and become less candidate-driven, but bear in mind that highly specialized roles like these will still be difficult to fill. It will only become more difficult to navigate as the market shifts, which is why assistance from our expert consultants at Michael Page can really make a difference.

The International Factor

We are also currently seeing a significant number of biotech companies launching in Boston from overseas. This means that the right C-Suite hire could be someone already working for the company in another region, who is willing to relocate. This strategy may help to combat the candidate-short market. Plus, bringing someone on board who is already familiar with the culture and inner workings of the organization can strengthen the C-Suite and help to build out this all-important team.

This is where Michael Page Life Science’s team of 220 recruiters, plus our network of executive talent across the globe, can further streamline your search. Our expert consultants can help you find the top candidates for your biotech startup, no matter where in the world they may be located.

For more insights into the biotech market here in Boston, or to discuss hiring solutions, please get in contact with us today.

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