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Life Sciences is growing: Is your salary?

By Paul Strouts, Global Managing Director of Hays Life Sciences

Perhaps you’re back from holiday after a well-deserved break. You’ve had precious time to take stock of your job situation and something’s not right.

It’s been dawning on you for a while now that x months (or y years!) without a pay rise is quite a stretch, and you now feel compelled, inspired, motivated and/or brave enough to do something about it. But what to do and where to start?

1. A common misconception

One of the common assumptions all professionals in the pharma, biotech and medical device industries make is that pay rises and promotions (the two are obviously linked) occur naturally over time. This may be true for some companies, such as those with a fixed pay scale or career development programme, but the reality is that most pay rises (aside from perhaps index-linked ones) are not automatically handed out.

2. Life sciences typically financially resilient

Instead, it’s up to you to be proactive and fight your corner, provided that you have no reason to suspect that your employer is not in a financial position to provide a pay increase. In the current climate, this is unlikely, with worldwide pharmaceutical industry revenues showing excellent growth, and continuing to support well paid jobs. Even during difficult financial times for other industries, the life sciences sector is typically resilient.

3. Assess your position logically

Look at the reasons why you believe you should be paid more. Have your duties or responsibilities increased since your pay was contracted? Have colleagues around you been awarded pay rises? Has the value you add to the bottom line increased, in a demonstrable way, to justify a wage increase? One strategy might be to look back at your job description and appraise your activities against the list of performance criteria. If you’re ticking all the boxes (and some) you have every reason to seek redress.

4. Prepare a case

Prepare a cogent case to present. Be clear about how much you want and why. At this point, it is worth considering other forms of reward aside from just money. For example, would growing your team, better work-life balance, a car allowance, another promotion, or a combination of one or more of these, also satisfy your needs?

5. Consider other pharma companies

If your clear and genuine request is met with resistance, perhaps it is time to think about moving on to an organisation where your talents would be better appreciated and appropriately rewarded. At a company level, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer, Novartis and Sanofi are among the biggest players, but as the industry evolves, there are plenty of opportunities across smaller innovators and start-ups.

6. Consult an expert in life science recruitment

Our consultants can connect you with a choice of employers who will welcome you (and your salary expectations) with open arms. We can also help you with benchmarking these salary expectations before you present your case for a pay rise to your employer – talk to us to establish an extra layer of objective armoury before that crucial meeting.

If you are looking for support with your employment needs please contact your local office.

About this author

Paul joined Hays in 2007 following the acquisition of his Life Sciences business (James Harvard International) and has been involved in the sector since 2001.

He looks after 29 countries within the group’s portfolio, spanning from New York in the US to Sydney in Australia. From our flagship London office, Paul oversees all operations and sales for the brand, and drives the business forward on a strategic level.

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