The Ongoing Evolution of Remote Work

In April of this year we surveyed Regulatory professionals about their motivations to make a job change.  At that time, 79% of Regulatory professionals considering a job change were motivated to do so by gaining the ability to work remotely. From my discussions with hundreds of candidates, I have learned that very few people want to go back to commuting – especially if they live in urban areas with a lot of traffic like Boston or San Francisco.  And they feel they can be more productive working from home – while maintaining better work/life balance.

For biopharma companies trying to hire in this tight labor market, these candidate demands are tough to ignore.  The market for Regulatory talent remains very hot, with over 400 open Regulatory positions at smaller biotechs and many more open Regulatory roles at larger pharma companies.  On average, about 30% of these roles are listed as “remote” and another 10% are listed as “hybrid” (part home/part office) roles.

Despite this, we are hearing from Regulatory professionals that some roles initially promoted as “remote” aren’t always what they expected. Many jobs listed as “remote” positions are actually “hybrid” and require the employee to come into an office at least part time, or will require employees to live nearby for regular in-person meetings.  Most candidates feel that “remote” should mean that you can work from anywhere 100% of the time with minimal travel. However, this isn’t always the case.

Some Regulatory candidates told me that they have bailed out during the interview process because they have learned that the job wasn’t truly remote. I recently spoke with one senior Regulatory person who accepted a remote position and then quit after a few months on the job when the company demanded he relocate.  I talked to another candidate who is searching for a new position after two months at a new hybrid job because she hates the twice-a-week commute into the office and wants something 100% remote.

It’s interesting to note that almost all of the Regulatory positions we have filled at Dennis Partners over the past two years were either 100% remote or hybrid positions.  And we haven’t needed to relocate any candidates for new positions since prior to the start of the pandemic. Clients who used to require employees to be in the office 100% of the time prior to 2020 are now hiring employees who are 1,000 miles away with great success – especially for functions like Regulatory. 

We understand the reasons why companies want to have workers onsite: to build company culture, foster personal connections, reduce isolation, spark collaboration, etc.  The implementation of modern collaboration tools has been instrumental in helping teams get things done remotely and when utilized properly, can lead to increased collaboration and communication not possible in a traditional office setting. In order to fill Regulatory roles in a timely manner, companies must be clear upfront about their onsite, travel, and/or relocation requirements. Hiring Managers and HR must convey these requirements clearly to both candidates and recruiters – while also being flexible to the needs of great candidates.  If you find a rock star who doesn’t want to commute, consider making exceptions to bring them on board.

Dennis Partners is the leader in Regulatory Affairs recruiting for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries and can create strategic and customized solutions to your hiring challenges. For over 19 years, companies have turned to Dennis Partners when they need top-tier Regulatory talent for both permanent and contract staffing roles.  Contact us when you need help building a world class Regulatory team!

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