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New Year, New Role: When is the Best Time to Move Jobs in Life Sciences?

Posted on October 2023

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The beginning of a new year often brings with it personal and professional reflections. For many in the life sciences industry, this period of introspection can translate into the desire for a fresh start in their careers. But when is the right time to make that leap to a new position? Let's dive into the intricacies of timing your job switch in the life sciences field.

The Flow of the Life Sciences Hiring Cycle

The life sciences industry, like many others, experiences certain times when hiring is more active. Traditionally, the beginning of the year, after the holiday season, sees a surge in job openings. Organizations kick off their new fiscal year with refreshed budgets and strategic priorities. This can be a prime time for those seeking new opportunities to jump in.

Conversely, the end of the year often sees a slowdown in hiring. Many companies are focused on year-end evaluations, budgeting for the next year, and are less likely to onboard new employees.

Aligning with Personal Milestones

While market dynamics are important, personal milestones play an equally pivotal role. Maybe you've just completed an advanced degree or training that qualifies you for higher positions. Perhaps, personal life changes, like a family move, necessitate looking for new opportunities. Aligning your job search with these personal milestones can ensure you're making a move for the right reasons and at the right time.

Consider the Project Life Cycle

In the life sciences industry, the timeline of projects can often dictate the ideal time to transition. For instance, if you're involved in a long-term research project, leaving in the middle might not be the best decision, both for your professional reputation and for the satisfaction derived from seeing a project through to its completion. On the flip side, once a significant project wraps up, it might be the perfect moment to look for a fresh challenge.

Economic and Global Health Factors

The life sciences sector doesn't operate in a vacuum. Its dynamics are deeply interwoven with the broader economic and global health landscape. In recent years, global events have dramatically impacted the life sciences recruitment landscape. For instance:

  • The COVID-19 Pandemic: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic presented both challenges and opportunities in life sciences recruitment. With a pressing global need for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostic tools, there was a sudden surge in demand for specific expertise and skills. Organizations urgently needed virologists, epidemiologists, clinical trial specialists, and more. On the flip side, the pandemic also disrupted traditional recruitment processes, necessitating a more significant reliance on remote hiring and digital onboarding techniques.

  • Economic Recessions and Booms: Economic downturns tend to constrict hiring budgets, leading to slowdowns in recruitment. However, certain specialized roles in life sciences, particularly those in critical research areas, may be insulated from these effects due to their essential nature. Conversely, during economic booms, companies often invest more in research and development, leading to an uptick in hiring.

  • Health Crises and Outbreaks: Other than the recent pandemic, history has seen various health crises, such as the Ebola outbreak or the H1N1 pandemic. Such events often shift the focus and urgency of the life sciences sector, leading to rapid realignments in recruitment priorities.

  • Regulatory Changes: As governments worldwide respond to health challenges by updating or introducing new health regulations, companies need experts to navigate these changes. This can create demand for regulatory affairs specialists, legal consultants, and others who understand the evolving landscape.

In summary, the broader economic and global health environment can have profound implications for recruitment in life sciences. Staying attuned to these external factors, and understanding their potential impacts, can be crucial for both industry professionals and hiring organizations.

Evaluate Company Health and Growth

If you're considering leaving your current position, assess the health and trajectory of your current organization. Are there signs of stagnation? Is there a pattern of high turnover? Alternatively, are there opportunities for advancement and growth that you haven't yet explored? Sometimes, the best "new" opportunity might be right where you are, but in a different role or department.

Seek Mentorship and Advice

Transitioning to a new role, especially in a specialized industry like life sciences, can be daunting. Seeking advice from mentors or colleagues and our specialist career consultants at EPM Scientific can provide insights into the best times to move, based on both market trends and personal growth trajectories.

Switching roles in the life sciences domain, much like in any other field, requires a mix of personal introspection and market awareness. The new year might symbolically seem like the perfect time for a fresh start, but it's essential to weigh multiple factors before making a decision.

For those considering a change, we encourage you to explore our current roles on offer. There may just be the perfect position waiting for you. For businesses in search of top-tier talent or eager to discuss future hiring plans, we're only a call away. Request a call back, and let's collaborate to align your aspirations or business needs with the right talent and opportunities.