For many within the life sciences profession, the pandemic has brought a flurry of activity. This has meant for some organisations that priorities had to shift away from ‘business as usual’ in order to handle the immediate impacts of the pandemic.
Six months on from the commencement of lockdown in March, we are able to get a better sense of just what these impacts on the profession have been. According to research conducted for the Hays Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 2020 report, one of the biggest changes caused by the pandemic has been to the ED&I agendas of organisations.
Why does ED&I matter?
The reality that many employers acknowledge is that a more equal, diverse and inclusive workplace offers many advantages for their organisation, from greater innovation to improved productivity. Further to this, our report also highlights the importance that professionals themselves place on ED&I.
We found that over three quarters (77%) of professionals working within life sciences said an organisation’s ED&I policies are important when looking for a new role. Furthermore, over two thirds (69%) said they would only apply to an organisation that has a public commitment to ED&I. It’s clear therefore that from an organisational perspective, ED&I needs to remain a priority - particularly when it comes to attracting new talent.
How does flexible working impact ED&I?
Flexible working policies are not a new concept to many organisations, but the widespread uptake of these working practices when lockdown started has had a noticeable impact. Currently, 63% of life sciences professionals are working in a flexible working arrangement, and two thirds (66%) say this flexibility is important to them.
However, employers must be aware of the potential downsides of this flexibility. Professionals stated that the top two drawbacks of flexible working arrangements were employees feeling isolated (52%) and the blurring of boundaries between work-life balance (50%).
What should employers prioritise going forward?
Using the knowledge gained over the last few months, how can employers use flexible working to effectively drive their ED&I agenda? Here are some of our recommendations:
How can employees take responsibility?
For ED&I to really press ahead, employees also need to recognise the responsibility they have. Here are some things to think about:
By working together, both employers and employees within the life sciences profession can continue to progress their ED&I agendas and reap the benefits that this provides.
For further insights into how flexible working can help facilitate equality in the workplace, request your copy of the Hays Equality, Diversity & Inclusion 2020 Report.
Chris Smith is the Operations Director for Hays Life Sciences UK. Chris graduated from Sheffield University with a BSc Psychology in 2000 and has 20 years of recruitment experience. He has worked for Hays Life Sciences since 2006, starting as a Biometrics recruiter for Pharmaceutical and CRO clients across Europe, before launching Hays Life Sciences successfully in the Netherlands and managing delivery teams in Switzerland and Scandinavia.
In 2012, Chris joined the Hays Life Sciences UK business as Permanent Sales Director and has since taken the role of Operations Director for the UK brand. Chris has managed executive search, RPO / MSP, perm and temp recruitment with a consistent customer focus across a broad client base.
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In our latest Equality, Inclusion and Diversity Report, we explore whether flexible working can help create more diverse workforces and more inclusive workplaces.
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