Why 55% of Life Sciences Professionals Aren’t Happy at Work

happy and sad faces drawn on chalkboard with greater than sign between them

What is your current level of satisfaction with your job?  Are you content and excited to go to work each day?  Or, do you dread getting out of bed in the morning on weekdays?  According to a recent BioSpace Community Survey, 60% of life sciences professionals are actively or casually looking for a new job.  In addition, 66% of the respondents indicated that they are very likely or somewhat likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months.  Since many people today are considering other job opportunities, it leads you to wonder, ‘Why are so many employees unhappy?’

BioSpace recently polled an audience of professionals and asked, “Are you happy with your current life sciences job?”  An overwhelming amount of responses and feedback was received.  Overall, 55% of respondents indicated, “no” that they are not currently happy.  39% of participants responded that “yes” they are happy with their life sciences job and 6% were undecided.  Most people don’t happen to fall into a career in life sciences, because these positions tend to require a specific area of knowledge and specialized experience.  As a result, life science fields are usually chosen by professionals.  So if people are proactively deciding to work in the life sciences, why aren’t they happy?  The poll revealed the top points of dissatisfaction on the job.    

Poor Management & Leadership

The first area of concern at work for many individuals involved some degree of poor management and leadership.  Life science professionals described leadership dysfunction that involved a lack of management experience, little to no communication with teams, and no transparency on strategic initiatives.   Employees felt as if they were trying to do their best work, but their contributions couldn’t be received due to the ineffectiveness of management.  This is a major concern when your performance is based on productivity and the success of specific projects.  If those results aren’t up to par, due to management challenges, the employee suffers and may not be eligible for raises and promotions.

Overly Demanding Employment Contracts with Low Compensation 

Being forced to work long hours at low pay was another source of contention.  Some respondents indicated that they are expected to work over 40 hours a week (and sometimes over 60 hours per week) without overtime compensation.  There are instances when organizations are not straightforward with working expectations during the interviewing process, and only once a professional accepts the job are they informed of the true employment contract.  When employees regularly work over 40 hours a week, other aspects of their life might be negatively affected.  There is less time to spend with family, friends, social groups, and on hobbies.       

Lack of Career Growth

Career growth and development was of high value for poll respondents.  For those who indicated they were unhappy with their job, little or stagnant career growth was an issue.  Many life science professionals would like to be with a company where there is some degree of upward mobility, so if they perform well there might be opportunities for advancement or promotion.  Feeling stuck in an organization where regardless of how successful you are there isn’t any way to be developed or recognized can be challenging.  A desire for more training was also expressed, to improve in a current role and acquire the skills to possibly navigate to another position.

Negative Culture with Low Employee Morale

Finally, there was a common theme around working in a negative company culture with low employee morale.  Some respondents described their organization as having a “you are lucky to have a job attitude” or a “hunger games culture.”  If a professional thinks the organization treats them as if they are expendable, cultivates distrust, and promotes overly competitive relationships it can cause extreme unhappiness.  What should be a productive environment with everyone working towards a common goal can become a company filled with toxic energy and low morale.

Biospace wanted to gauge the happiness level of life science professionals and discovered that over half of poll participants were not happy with their current job.  Key areas of concern were poor management and leadership within organizations and overly demanding employment contracts that included unrealistic working expectations and pay rates.  A lack of career growth and negative cultures with low employee morale were also reported.  Are you one of the 55%?  Check out life sciences jobs now!

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.

Click here to get the latest life sciences jobs, tailored for you. Subscribe now to job alerts

Back to news