Author: Claire Jarvis
The collapse of the SVB on March 10, 2023 made national headlines, and prompted fear of a looming financial crisis and a return to government bailouts. For biotech investors and employees, the collapse of the tech-focused bank raises additional concerns about the stability of the biotech sector.
What is the Silicon Valley Bank?
The Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was the 16th largest bank in the USA. Founded in 1983, it catered almost exclusively to technology companies by providing the venture capital funds necessary for biotech start-ups to grow. Prior to the events of early March, the bank was worth $212 billion.
Why did it collapse?
In early March 2023 the SVB announced it needed to raise more money, citing rising interest rates and inflation. This announcement caused panic, and customers and investors rushed to withdraw their money, leading to the collapse of the bank’s value. Within 48 hours the damage was done, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) took over the emergency operation of the bank.
The FDIC is currently trying to sell SVB as part of its break-up plan.
Is this a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis?
Following the collapse of the SVB, Silvergate Bank and Signature Bank fell in quick succession a few days later. Although the successive liquidation of US banks is alarming, and the overall likelihood of a recession in the next few years has risen, the fallout from the SVB collapse is mostly contained to the biotech sector and other medium-sized banks who cater to a narrow selection of industries (both Silvergate and Signature focused on cryptocurrencies).
Some issues appear unique to SVB’s downfall, such as the role of a chief risk officer being unfilled last year. The bank also stored its money in long-dated Treasury deposits, which give modest returns on investments. When inflation rose, the bonds no longer yielded satisfactory returns.
How does the Silicon Valley Bank affect the biotech industry?
Silicon Valley Bank was seen as the bank of choice for young biotech companies, because they tailored their services to venture-backed start-ups and agile biotechs looking to grow. Unlike commercial banks, most of SVB clients deposited amounts greater than $250,000, which is the maximum amount of savings protected by the FDIC in the event of a financial collapse. It’s estimated that 85% of SVB’s bank deposits were uninsured. It’s therefore not clear how much damage has been wrought on the biotech sector, and it will take a time for companies to disclose any losses. It’s possible the US government will bail out companies who lost uninsured deposits if the crisis deepens, but that’s not happened yet.
In early 2023, biotech start-ups are already struggling thanks to rising interest rates and a hiring slowdown. Established companies have the diversified portfolio necessary to withstand economic shocks better than start-ups with only one or two pipeline products.
However, the failure of Silicon Valley Bank may see a slowdown in the biotech sector as venture capitalists become more cautious about investing in biotechs, or the regulations around life sciences investment increase. What this does for the biotech sector as a whole remains to be seen.
Author: Claire Jarvis
Is there a Biotech Recruiting Slowdown?
Workforce statistics from the past two years paint a concerning picture of the biotech recruiting sector in 2023. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a boom in hiring and growth, but now that the initial biotech demand is leveling off, many companies are ‘right-sizing’ to pre-COVID-19 levels. Statistics predict the growth of the biotech sector slowing in 2023, in part to rising inflation.
The overall trend means biotech companies are slowing down their hiring. It’s not clear how much growth will slow in 2023, and hiring managers might wonder whether it’s worth adding more workers to the payroll if layoffs are coming. Due to its ability to consolidate and diversify their portfolio, Big Pharma is in a stronger position than agile biotech start-ups, but industry experts still urge caution.
Attracting Biotech Talent in 2023
Despite an economic slowdown, the biotech sector is continuing to grow, and companies are still looking to hire top talent. Here are a few ways biotech recruiting is filling positions and attract candidates.
First, it’s important to understand candidates’ motivation for switching roles, because there are many professionals considering a job switch, even if they’re currently employed. A lot of candidates are seeking appropriate salary increases to combat inflation. Or, perhaps instability at their current company has created a threat of layoffs.
As a recruiter, there are several ways to appeal to these candidates and fill your client’s vacancies.
- Highlight remote, hybrid and flexible working options. Thanks to rising gas prices, commuting is expensive, and many employees don’t like feeling pressured to come into the office. Flexible working remains a high priority for jobseekers as they explore new roles.
- Emphasize supportive work culture for new hires. Work culture is not just about throwing money at employees, but thoughtful initiatives to support new hires and integrate hybrid teams. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many workers feeling adrift from their colleagues, and they want to better integrate into their teams, virtual or not.
- List opportunities for career growth and developmental opportunities within the company. The new hire is more likely to make long-term commitment to the role if they think they can progress in their career without needing to switch companies again.
With over ten years’ experience serving biotech companies in the Boston area, Sci.Bio knows how to guide your company through economic changes. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more.
Author: Tara Smylie
Life Science Jobs – When you think about what it means to be employed in STEM, do you think of syringes, microscopes, and lab coats? If so, you’re not alone! In reality, however, lab jobs are just one path you can take as a life science graduate.
Within STEM and biopharma, there are many hidden-gem positions that simply don’t get as much attention as they should. If you have an interest in science but also enjoy analysis, management, or communications, there is no shortage of exciting and non-traditional job prospects out there for you to explore.
STEM (Life Science Jobs) and Business
Not all STEM positions are primarily scientific. Most will require at least a foundational understanding of STEM concepts, but some also call for a strong big-picture grasp of business operations.
As such, if you possess both a science background and a keen understanding of economics, markets, and/or human behavior, you’re in luck. Job-seekers with passions for both science and business can consider the following options:
- Medical science liaison: this position requires both people skills and a knack for clearly communicating important information. The main duty associated with this role is the provision of medical product information to key players in the pharma and life science industries.
- Life science recruiter: if you have a strong network and enjoy the thrill of the chase, this position may be for you. Recruiters in the life sciences have the chance to make new connections across many different fields, and to gain an insider perspective on the back-end of science-based business operations.
- Biopharmaceutical sales rep: if you have an advanced science degree, a go-getter attitude, and are a self-professed “people person”, you may find a perfect match in this position. The earning potential is very high, and for the right fit, the work environment can be exhilarating.
STEM and Communications
Any job in scientific communications will require both a keen analytical mind and the ability to articulate high-level concepts. If you’ve cultivated that elusive blend of “soft” communications skills and “harder” data and research skills, this may be the niche you’ve been searching for.
If you’re interested in finding a job in this field, here are some positions to keep on your radar:
- Technical/Medical Writer: If you feel comfortable communicating scientific concepts to wide audiences, consider looking into medical or technical writing as a career. Some science writers work on a freelance basis, while others are employed by corporations.
- Science Journalist: science journalism is similar to technical writing, but potentially broader in scope. A scientific journalist produces copy for not only scientific media but also blogs, websites, newspapers, etc.
- Scientific Instructional Designer: this position is ideal for anyone with a teaching background as well as a scientific mind. Instructional design is a growing field, with many roles currently available at life science/biotech companies.
Another path less travelled: health informatics
When it comes to lab-coat-free science positions, health informatics jobs are just about as good as it gets. For one thing, they tend to pay well. And for another, the work they involve usually proves to be both stable and stimulating – the perfect combo. Positions in this field tend to involve management, advising, communicating, and/or analysis. If you possess one or more of these skills, consider that HI could make for a very fulfilling career path.
Here are just a few health informatics jobs available today:
- Clinical Informatics Analyst: this position is all about the data. It involves compiling and analyzing health information, and using that analysis to make policy and workflow changes within an organization.
- Health Information Technology Project Manager: think regular project manager, but with a little added expertise. For an employee in this role, projects often center on the implementation of new technology and the optimization of existing workflows.
- Health Informatics Consultant: often contracted for on a per-project basis, an employee in this role advises a healthcare organization on health-informatics-related challenges, questions, and initiatives. Because of its broad scope, the nature of this position can vary greatly from client to client.
Look before you leap (into a career)
Depending on your skill set and personality, a lab position may be ideal for you. But no matter where you end up, you’ll never regret having explored your options. Remember: modern career paths are not always linear! What you learn now could come in handy years down the line.
Whether you’re looking for a medical writing position, a senior lab job, or just for some career guidance, Sci.bio’s recruitment services can help you get where you want to go.
- What Does a Medical Science Liaison Do?
- So You Want To Be A Recruiter? Do You Have What It Takes?
- Top 11 Alternative Careers for Biotechnology & Life Science Graduates
- 12 Careers for PhD Life Scientists Outside of the Lab
- Instructional design helps you create classes, trainings, and apps that people actually learn from.
- 6 Top Careers in Healthcare Informatics
Author: Tara Smylie
A week ago, you were scared you’d bombed every interview. Now, you’ve suddenly got too many job offers! This is a great position to be in – yet it can still be stressful. How do you choose between two, three, four different options? And if you’ve only got one nailed down, but expect another to come in soon… how do you manage the uncertainty?
With more than one offer on the table, you’ll naturally want some time to weigh your options. Here are some tips on how to address this situation with hiring managers – and ensure you end up making the right choice.
Buy yourself some time
Rule number one: always show enthusiasm! You can let an employer know you’re excited about a great opportunity without giving them a definite “yes”. Ask the hiring manager when they need to have your answer, then plan to make your decision within that time-frame. If you need more time than they’re offering, you can be honest about your situation and ask for a few more days. If you keep your tone respectful and reiterate your excitement about the position, they’re unlikely to hold this against you.
Once you know how long you have to decide, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Employers like it when you take initiative and want to find out everything you can about an opportunity.
A bird in the hand…
What happens when you get an offer for a perfectly decent job, but you’re 80 percent sure that the amazing position you just interviewed for is also going to work out?
In this situation, you can speed-track your mission to hear from your first-choice employer. Your first option is to create a reasonable delay. Perhaps you can ask your current offer for additional clarification on a point mentioned in the interview, or request to meet with employees at your level if you haven’t already.
Another possibility: let the other employer know that you’ve received an offer already, and you’d love to know when you can expect to hear back from them so you can make the right decision. This approach is a little riskier, but if handled with care, it can actually increase an employer’s interest in you – it shows them that you’re in high demand.
Think concretely about each offer
Say you’re deciding between two offers. Position one offers a snazzier office and builds on your previous work as a data scientist. On the other hand, position two boasts a generous benefits package and lets its employees work from home two days a week. Both positions sound great, and you’re at a loss to decide which one is “better”.
In this situation, you’ll want to look beyond the job descriptions and consider the specifics of each position. Imagine the layout of your space, what projects you’d be working on, and who would be on your team. Chances are, you’ll end up gaining some insight into which one is the better fit.
Additionally, keep the following factors in mind:
- Growth opportunities. If you accept this job now, where will you be in 5 years? Are there exciting advancement opportunities within the company?
- Corporate culture. This highly popular term refers to anything from work-life balance to how a company’s managers treat their teams. According to one survey, corporate culture is the biggest reason that candidates opt for one employer over another.
- Professional network. Are you going to meet people that can help you learn, grow, and reach new career milestones later down the line?
- Benefits. Does this company go above and beyond to ensure their employees are taken care of? Factor in what they offer in terms of paid vacation, health insurance and sick days.
On the other hand, there’s no need for an entirely objective approach. When all is said and done, your gut instinct knows better than any pros-and-cons list. Trust it to guide you where you need to go.
Keep calm and carry on
Even in the height of your angst, don’t forget that many would kill to be in your situation! And bear in mind that whatever you decide, every job has its pros and cons. That said, you should take as much time as you can to work out which job will suit you the best.
If you’re looking to level up your career in the life sciences, Sci.bio’s recruitment services can help you land a position that checks all the most important boxes.
- How To Handle Multiple Job Offers
- Tips For Handling Multiple Job Offers
- Why Corporate Culture is So Important
- Work-Life Balance in Biotech
- How to Trust Your Gut When It Comes to a Job Offer
Author: Tess Joosse
Job search during the holidays? Sure! The holiday season brings many joys and many stresses, but conventional wisdom states that the job hunt isn’t supposed to be one of them. Many job seekers think that keeping up their search this season is futile: hiring managers and recruiters are taking time off, companies are focused on wrapping up the year, and employers freeze hiring until January as a result.
While it is true that some companies put interviews and onboarding on hold to save time and money until after the holiday rush, this isn’t always the case, and looking for a new job in November and December can actually give you a leg up over the competition and provide some great networking opportunities. Here, we’ve gathered several steps you can take to make the most of the season while you search for a new role.
Other candidates have paused their searches, meaning less competition for positions.
You are not the only job hunter considering putting their search on hold until after New Year’s Day. Many candidates will indeed slow down their search during this season because of vacations, celebrations, and other commitments. Others have also heard about the supposed holiday hiring freeze and think their efforts will be futile until January. But as needs and projects expand, companies will need to fill positions regardless of the time of year. And if an employer does post an open position during this time and you’re a good fit for the role, your application will likely face less competition as other job seekers sit the season out.
Holiday events provide great networking opportunities.
Whether it be your neighborhood Turkey Trot, your spouse’s company holiday party, or your nephew’s Christmas concert, you likely will have opportunities to socialize with lots of new people as you attend seasonal events. Feel free to use these opportunities to chat with connections about their companies, industries, and if they or their networks can introduce you to any opportunities. After you mingle, be sure to follow up with your new connections to reiterate your season’s greetings and to keep the lines of communication open.
Job search during the holidays is a perfect time to reach out to past contacts.
Beyond any new connections you might make over the punch bowl at a party, the holiday season is a great time to circle back to past recruiters, interviewers, hiring managers, or other contacts at companies you’ve interacted with in the past. Email a “season’s greetings” message to people in your network who could connect you to new opportunities. In the message, express your warm holiday wishes, briefly update the recipient on your job search, and convey your interest in working with them in the future.
And it’s a great time to take advantage of contract opportunities.
One industry that definitely doesn’t freeze hiring during the holidays? Retail. According to the National Retail Foundation, these employers hire around half a million temporary seasonal workers each year to help with the holiday shopping rush. But temporary or contract opportunities are available in other industries, too, including in biotech and the life sciences.
The industry has experienced a wave of layoffs in the last several months as companies aim to respond to and shield themselves from uncertain economic conditions. While that’s bad news for many, there could be a silver lining for some job hunters. As full-time positions get cut, that work still needs to be done – and many companies are shifting towards hiring more contractors to accomplish these tasks. Despite economic conditions and industry trends, a contract or temporary position could lead to a permanent job. And if you are in a full-time position but have been wanting to move into a contracting role, this season could be a great time to make the jump.
Don’t give up your job search during the holidays. Between a less competitive applicant pool, abundant occasions for networking, and opportunities to snag a contracting or temporary position, you just might start the new year with a new role.
- The Holiday Hiring Freeze: Fact or Fiction?
- Your Holiday Job-Search Guide
- Why the Holidays May Be the Best Time of Year to Look for a Job
- 13 Holiday Networking Tips You Need To Know
Author: Tara Smylie
Ah, the job search. Universally hated, and unfortunately also necessary for almost everyone at some point during their career. If you’re a recent grad in the middle of the hunt, you might feel a little stressed out or overwhelmed. That’s totally normal – and luckily, there are several ways you can manage your anxieties as you continue casting your net.
Contact and Connect
Friends, family, old mentors or professors… chances are, you know a handful of people who’ve been through the same thing and have some words of wisdom to offer. If possible, reach out to peers who are in the same boat – you will all feel less alone if you have each other to confide in. Connecting with other recent grads also has the advantage of strengthening your professional network.
Take a chance and connect with people or organizations you’d really like to work for, perhaps even offering to volunteer for them. For example, if you’re interested in a medical research environment, email a lab coordinator in that field and ask them if they have any opportunities for an ambitious assistant who is willing to work hard and eager to contribute. When it comes to life science and biotech, your connections are your strength – so never stop making them.
Work smart, not hard
Don’t pressure yourself to apply to exactly X number of jobs every day. Instead, focus on finding jobs that match your interests and abilities. For example, let’s say you excelled in all your statistics courses and have some field experience as a scientist. Perhaps you could put your skills to good use as a biostatistician – or possibly an environmental analyst for the right company. The ideal job will make use of your existing skills while offering you opportunities to cultivate new ones.
And remember: you don’t have to rush to the finish line. They say that looking for a job is a full-time job, but you don’t need to spend a full 8-hour day on the search if that feels excessive. While you are searching, be sure to read all job descriptions – you don’t want to waste anyone’s time applying for a job that doesn’t click for you. And when you inevitably face some rejection, try not to dwell on it and remember that rejection will happen to any job hunter who aims high.
Constantly refine your approach
Mass applying to hundreds of jobs at a time can feel productive, but you’re not as likely to impress any single employer. Find a balance between quality and quantity – and yes, that will mean writing cover letters. Over half of employers prefer candidates who attach them, and they can help you sell yourself if you maintain a professional tone.
As you search, you may notice that some components of your process need work. If you think your resume could use some fine-tuning, ask a colleague to look it over and give you some feedback. Or maybe you know your interviewing skills aren’t quite where you’d like them to be. If that’s the case, consider watching some videos or taking a course on the subject to brush up your skills. Your job-seeking skills will drive both your short- and long-term career, and the perfect time to invest in it is when you’re actively looking.
Relax your standards
There’s no need to find the “perfect” job immediately – you never know what an opportunity can lead to. Instead of chasing your number-one dream position, focus your efforts on landing a “good enough” job and consider where it could take you in the future. Nowadays it’s very common to end up working in a different field than the one you formally trained in, so stay open to the possibility of doing something a little unfamiliar.
As a final note: remember to enjoy the free time you have right now. You may not get the chance to take time off work for a while once you do have a job – so make the most of it while you can! Take this opportunity to polish your skills, reach out to old contacts, and get back in touch with the hobbies that fell by the wayside during your college days.
Keep calm and carry on
Finding a job is never easy. Realize that you’re not alone, and take the search at a pace that feels comfortable to you. Remember, you can’t control when you get an offer – only the effort you put into the process. If you’d like some assistance finding your next opportunity, Sci.bio’s recruitment services can help you take your next steps.
- It’s Who You Know: A Guide to Career Networking in the Life Science Industry
- How to Deal With Job Rejection and Move On
- 83 Must-Know Resume Statistics: 2022 Data on Length, Cover Letters & Valuable Skills
- Resume Writing for Life Scientists
- Managing Job Interview Questions
- Only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major