What Makes Life Sciences Professionals Happy at Work

3 researchers smiling at a lab bench

Why are some people enthusiastic about going to work in the morning, while others are miserable? Is it the person or is it the job? Many people haven’t stopped to consider that they might be contributing to their own unhappiness at work. This is vital to think about because most Americans spend more time in the workplace than at home. Being in any environment for 40, 50, 60 or more hours per week can have a large impact on your overall stress level. If you aren’t satisfied, the first step is to decide what’s really the problem at work.

Recently, BioSpace conducted a poll of life sciences professionals and asked, “Are you happy with your current life sciences job?” Only 39% of respondents said “yes.” Less than four out of ten individuals were happy in the workplace. Surprisingly, a BioSpace Community Survey showed that almost 61% of respondents were actively or casually looking for another job! It’s safe to say that there are many dissatisfied professionals in the workplace. Are you interested in finding out the keys to happiness at work? The BioSpace poll showed that these five factors led to happiness:

Exciting / Interesting Projects

Many participants mentioned that having the ability to work on exciting and interesting projects was a plus for them. They described having the ability to help and support patients with innovative solutions. When an employer was seen as progressive, cutting-edge, and constantly adapting to industry trends, employees were happier. This type of environment also positively impacts an organization’s reputation, which can increase satisfaction and the desire for other professionals to work there. One respondent said, “My company is constantly adapting to stay abreast of healthcare industry trends, which keeps things interesting.” People who feel like they are creating life-saving or extremely meaningful products and service, had a greater sense of fulfillment.

Click to search for life sciences jobs

Good Compensation

While most individuals acknowledge that money isn’t everything, compensation was another area addressed by happy life science professionals. “Good pay and benefits” was highlighted as a point of satisfaction by one participant. Many professionals want to be rewarded financially for their background, education, and previous experience. The organizations that recognize this by providing competitive salaries, benefits, and incentives can recruit the best candidates, and retain their current employees longer. 

Career & Professional Growth Opportunities

One person mentioned, “I’m able to better myself professionally and personally by expanding my knowledge base for my current and future position.” Growth opportunities with additional training and mentorship are important. Many individuals are no longer content with just focusing on their current position. They want to increase their knowledge and skill set for future roles. Having the ability to learn from other staff members and Subject Matter Experts is seen as extremely valuable. Being given access to apply for internal promotions is another positive aspect at work for many life sciences professionals. When you can see a concrete example of an employee who was loyal to the organization and was promoted, it can be very inspiring.  

Work-Life Balance / Flexibility

Working adults have a life outside of their company, and the best employers understand that. Maintaining work-life balance with reasonable expectations on the job was another indicator of happiness. Having “permission to work remotely” as needed was cited as an incentive that allowed individuals to improve their time management skills. Studies have shown that many people now view their work as being integrated with their life. There isn’t necessarily a clear distinction between someone’s personal and professional life, which was common years ago. 

Positive Culture

The positive culture of an organization is displayed through great communication, mutual respect, appreciation of ideas, and high levels of trust. The overall work environment or atmosphere is affected by the workplace culture. Respondents mentioned that they enjoyed working in environments that were fun, rewarding, and stable. One respondent said, “The people, our culture, our products – these are the reason I love my job!” Effective organizational leadership and management set the tone for culture. When bosses embrace frequent communication and transparency with their teams, it usually helps to foster a positive culture.

BioSpace discovered what leads to happiness for life science professionals at work. The audience valued working on exciting and interesting projects, where they felt like they made a meaningful difference. Being compensated well with good benefits and having career/professional growth opportunities was also important. Flexibility and the ability to maintain work-life balance also correlated with high levels of happiness. Finally, working in a positive, organizational culture was a major highlight.  What aspect of a job would make you the happiest at work?

Click here to see thousands of life science jobs on BioSpace's job board.

Porschia Parker is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

Back to news