What Do Life Sciences Professionals Value In Employers?

Biotech and pharma employees working

The opportunity to do interesting and meaningful work continues to be more valuable than money, according to more than 2,700 life science professionals who took BioSpace’s 2019 Ideal Employer survey. Eighty-four percent of professionals said the availability of interesting and meaningful work is an important attribute of their Ideal Employers, and though close, 81% rated competitive salary as an important attribute.

For the second time, South San Francisco-based Genentech was ranked #1 in the 2019 Ideal Employer report. The company holds more than 20,000 patents which has almost doubled over the past two years and conducts innovative research for a wide range of therapies such as oncology, hematology, rare disease and more. It pays competitive salaries and offers cash bonuses as well as long-term incentives. Genentech also puts trust in their employees and offers unlimited sick time.

The company ranks well on nearly every attribute valued by life sciences professionals. Of the 899 global companies named by life sciences professionals, Genentech ranked #2 for competitive salary, #6 for interesting and meaningful work and #8 for health benefits.

Life sciences professionals’ strong desires to do interesting and meaningful work may also explain why bluebird bio, founded in 2010 and focused on innovative gene therapies for severe genetic disorders, moved up this year and is ranked #23 overall on the Ideal Employer list. The company recently received its first approval, EU Conditional Marketing Authorization for their first product, ZYNTEGLOTM. bluebird bio is ranked #1 by life sciences professionals for interesting and meaningful work.

In some areas, significant gaps exist between the attributes professionals most desire in a workplace and the perceived strength of their Ideal Employers in those attributes. Almost three quarters (74%) of surveyed professionals indicated that team dynamic was an important attribute, but less than half (47%) consider team dynamic a strength of their Ideal Employers. Similarly, three-quarters of those surveyed ranked opportunities for promotion as important. Yet only 47% of surveyed professionals consider that attribute a strength of life sciences employers.

However, the most sought-after life sciences employers offer a better work environment than most people realize. Professionals who have worked at a particular company almost always rated the company more favorably in nearly every attribute than professionals who have not worked there. For example, outsiders don’t necessarily believe that life science employers offer the flexible work options that many seek out. Only 31% and 33% of outside professionals feel that remote work and flexible working hours, respectively, are a strength of employers. However, when viewing inside professionals perspectives, 57% feel remote work is a strength and 63% feel flexible working hours is a strength.


The fact that outside professionals still consider work/life balance hard to come by in the life sciences points to the need for companies to highlight and promote their efforts to support professionals’ personal and career goals.

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Follow Ideal Employer news on BioSpace over the coming months as we dive deeper into this multi-faceted research and provide insights valuable to both professionals and hiring managers.

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