The things that are most important to jobseekers are continuously changing, with company culture becoming ever more important, especially for younger generations. As a recruiter in the Life Science industry, you should be regularly reviewing the type of environment you offer candidates and thinking of new ways to attract and retain the top talent.
Using data from The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey, this article looks at 3 of the main things that the younger generations want from new employers, outlining how the pandemic has influenced the way they perceive business. We take examples from within the pharmaceutical industry of how large organisations are already appealing to Millennial and Gen Z candidates, looking at policies implemented by Sanofi, GSK, and AstraZeneca.
Why is Attracting and Retaining Millennial and Gen Z Talent So Important?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, employees aged between 55 to 64 had a median tenure of just under 10 years, compared to employees aged between 25 to 34 whose median was just under 3 years. The Deloitte Survey also found that 36% of Millennials and 53% of Gen Z interviewed would welcome a career change within 2 years if given the opportunity.
Research suggests that as younger and older generations have different priorities when it comes to finding a new job, employers shouldn’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. To attract and retain Millennial and Gen Z talent, it’s important to understand their priorities too.
Protecting the Environment and Tackling Climate Change
According to the Deloitte Survey, protecting the environment is the 3rd highest personal concern for Millennials, and the top concern for Gen Z, with overall concern increasing during the pandemic.
Around 60% of Millennials and Gen Z fear that the commitment from business leaders to reversing climate change will become less of a priority while tackling other challenges presented by the pandemic. Yet 28% of respondents said that their relationships with businesses are influenced by their environmental impact, so it shouldn’t be neglected for too long.
Case Study: GSK
In November 2020, GSK announced new environmental sustainability goals for both climate and nature action. Even during the pandemic, they demonstrated their commitment to protecting the environment. Some of the goals for their Biopharma operations include:
- Net zero impact on climate by 2030
- Net positive impact on nature by 2030
- Net zero emissions across all operations by 2030
- 100% renewable electricity by 2025
- 100% materials sustainably sourced and deforestation free by 2030
- Positive impact on biodiversity at all sites by 2030
- Zero operational waste, including eliminating single use plastics by 2030
Giving Millennial and Gen Z candidates the chance to be part of something bigger is a great way of retaining these sustainability-driven generations.
Mental Health at Work
40% of Millennials and Gen Z surveyed felt that their employers had done a poor job of supporting mental wellbeing during the pandemic, despite 1/3 of these groups taking time off during this period due to stress and anxiety, and 1 in 4 reporting feeling constantly stressed.
To retain talent from this group who tend to be more open about their mental health, you need to create a culture which promotes mental wellbeing. Encourage your employees to be open about the struggles they’re facing and implement new policies to support their mental health, especially coming out of the pandemic.
Case Study: Sanofi
The pharmaceutical industry was put under a huge strain during the pandemic. Sanofi recognised this and built on existing Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to support staff. During the pandemic, they launched a new campaign aiming to do the following:
- Support employees with young children trying to balance work and family and understand the need for flexibility in their work
- Encourage employees to take time for themselves and take regular breaks
- Encourage regular catchups to reduce feelings of isolation
- Distribute advice on how to stay healthy, cope with crises and keep busy
This builds on the company’s existing “Take Care & Bwel!” program launched in 2012 and dedicated to promoting the health – both physical and mental – of all employees. This is just one great example of how you can use the challenges of working during the last 2 years to develop existing programs and attract younger generations who are entering the job market at an unusual time.
Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Discrimination in the Workplace
Diversity, equal opportunity, and discrimination also appeared to be amongst the top concerns of Millennials and Gen Z respondents. 34% of Millennials and 38% of Gen Z believe systemic racism is widespread in the workplace, with 36% of Millennials and 39% of Gen Z reporting being discriminated against all the time or frequently in the workplace.
More than half of respondents believe that older generations are standing in the way of progress and that they are doing more to address issues of discrimination and inequality. The report also shows that respondents are ready to boycott businesses or brands that don’t share their values when it comes to discrimination – and this is no different in terms of recruitment.
Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and making improving equal opportunities a priority is key to creating an environment that Millennials and Gen Z want to thrive in.
Case Study: AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca are one example of a pharmaceutical organisation working to eradicate discrimination and inequality in the workplace. Their approach includes three main priorities:
- Empowering inclusive leadership
- Fostering a culture where people can speak their mind
- Building and sustaining a diverse leadership and talent pipeline
AstraZeneca’s commitment to these priorities is evident in the partnerships they have formed to channel change. They are a founding partner of the World Economic Forum’s Partnering for Racial Justice in Business initiative, which works to eradicate racism in the workplace. They are also members of the Consortium on Diversity and Equity, helping to facilitate a globally diverse biopharmaceutical industry.
As a result, their efforts have been recognised in the following ways:
- One of the Forbes Best Employers for Diversity in the US 2021
- One of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women in the UK 2021
- One of the 325 companies on the Bloomberg LP Gender-Equality Index 2021 as an organisation committed to advancing women’s equality
- One of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality
Millennials and Gen Z are Ready for Change…
Although the report found that Millennials and Gen Z believe in the power of personal responsibility, they’re now eager for organisations to drive widespread change. These groups are looking for employers who have a purpose beyond profit, and who can give them the space to channel the change they want to see.