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Talent Moves: Locate and Relocate

Posted on May 2021

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​Workforce flexibility, employee wellbeing, and the rise of technology dominated talent topics last year and continues to be a focal point for 2021. There is a discussion concerning talent mobility that, in many ways, may have been swept under the carpet on the back of the global pandemic. This raises the question, has the pandemic halted the movement of talent through the life sciences sector? Let’s take a deep dive to uncover any emerging patterns or notable motivations of life science professionals, that is, are they still looking for a sense of direction in the form of relocation?

Last year, we launched the EPM Scientific Job Confidence Index Report. It gathered critical views and data on life science professionals across the globe, with an in-depth examination of their confidence in the current labor market.

The 2020 survey engaged with over 140 experienced life sciences sector career professionals in Europe, Asia, and the United States. In regard to relocation, key findings from the survey highlighted a general optimistic response within the talent community, particularly in the US, with 58% of professionals reporting that they would move to another region for the right job.

Our teams from Hong Kong, London, to San Francisco have all experienced different national-wide lockdowns, travel restrictions, and major disruptions last year. On the face of it, some would have presumed that the global pandemic paused international relocations, yet it couldn’t prevent the movement of people. Perhaps the pandemic enhanced the allure of talent to move away from cities and relocate to the suburbs.

While working from home may not have been an option for every role, the remote working experiment fundamentally changed the world of work; many re-evaluated their options and considered, or even explored new possibilities of where to work and where to live. However, what can be said for this year?

Relocation: Career Aspirations of 2021

In April, we asked our global network of life science professionals about relocation, and from 978 respondents, a little over half (53%) expressed a willingness to relocate for work this year. The response yielded some interesting insights, notably with the evident shift in employee sentiment and expectations for the future.

Perhaps this year’s survey results highlight an appetite amongst employees to stay-put as we begin to emerge out of the pandemic. In some cases, the findings might point towards a newfound reluctance to move and pursue professional endeavors during this time; an outcome that could be driven by prioritising job security.

Talent Market: A Cloud of Uncertainty?

It’s possible that the legacy of the global pandemic could change the complexities of the talent space and their desire to relocate. Overall, one thing is for certain, employers should offer relocation support and play a significant part in the process of international hires, and most importantly, the key talent who choose to move. In other words, enterprise leaders might look for ways to understand employee motivations, work hard at retention, and carve out the market to engage with business-critical talent before the competition.