You might not want to believe it, but we're already in November. 2023 has managed to be the longest but quickest year in collective memory. It's been a year in which the healthcare comms sector has faced many changes. On the one hand, as we have moved further away from the 2020 pandemic, we've seen more agencies increase their in-person team days, settling back into a more hybrid structure. On the other, we've seen agencies having to revaluate their strategy as pharmaceutical budget cuts and economic strain impact teams across the sector. Amongst all of this, it can feel completely irrational to begin to even consider a change. However, this year's market turbulence has offered a great opportunity for introspection, with talent across all levels reflecting on their current role and company, and considering if they want more from their work.
But where does one even start? What in 2023 should talent prioritise, and how should they do it? We've broken down the key considerations we talk through with our candidates on a daily basis into bite size chunks, that will hopefully feel less intimidating than the idea that Christmas is less than ten weeks away. Sorry for reminding you.
Take a look at out 5 focus points to consider prior to your next career move.
1. Culture Fit
Gone are the days when salary and job title were the main things taken into consideration by candidates and employers alike. In today's climate, finding a culture that works for you is just as important as anything else when it comes to ensuring the longevity of your placement. The wrong work culture can add a strain to an otherwise "perfect" package, so taking into account what matters to you in terms of culture fit has never been more important.
Are you looking for a small, midsize, or larger company? Would you rather have a smaller team and a higher individual impact or a larger team who share their successes? What does a company have to represent in the market to make you comfortable representing them? Perhaps you're passionate about conservation and sustainability and want to see this reflected in the company strategy, or want to see a high percentage of women in senior leadership positions. These are all things that you should discuss with recruiters so that they can find the best culture fit for you.
2. Employee Incentives
With many companies offering competitive employee incentive schemes in the medical communications space, it's important to weigh up your options and work out what package is going to be the most beneficial to you.
For example, a company may offer a generous amount of annual leave that increases with each year at the company. However, if you are the kind of person who finds they struggle to use up their annual leave as it is, a company that offers a buy-and-sell holiday scheme could be the more practical and rewarding option. Similarly, don't be afraid to ask your recruiter to do some digging into prospective employee incentive schemes to see if they're really as good as they're cracked up to be. If they offer "performance based bonuses", how frequently have they been paid out to high achieving employees in the last few years? It's our job as recruiters to empower you to always ask questions that will ensure you end up with the best offer.
3. Counter Offers
This is a factor in changing roles that is often overlooked by candidates, but something that is equally important to consider. 57% percent of people will accept a counter offer over the hassle of having to start somewhere new, even after sitting through multiple interviews and tests. If you are in a role with a larger notice period or one that may be tricky to source a replacement, it is likely that your current company may produce a counter offer.
When considering these offers, it is important to remember that counter-offers generally exist as a money-saving tactic rather than a genuine want to keep you as an individual. Even counter-offers which offer a substantial raise are often much more affordable to the company than sourcing a replacement, and for candidates who accept them are generally only able to temporarily 'paper over the cracks' which encouraged them to look elsewhere in the first place. In fact, 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer from their current employer end up leaving within 6 months, increasing to 90% within 12 months. When considering a new role, don't be put off if a recruiter discusses counter offers with you; it's our job not only to understand why you're interested in leaving in the first place, but also to ensure that the transition process is as stress-free as possible. A good recruiter will be able to guide you through responses to counter offers and remind you that change is better than stagnation.
4. Career Progression
It's important when considering your next role to think more than one step ahead. Finding something that's right for you should contribute to your long term goals, and a new job should provide you with consistent opportunities to improve your skillset. If you're still not 100% sure what direction you're looking to go in, speak with your recruiter about roles which offer multiple development pathways; this will give you the opportunity to continue to grow and develop in a way that doesn't shoehorn you into career path that you're still deciding on. Lack of progression is also a major deciding factor in why many professionals choose to leave their current roles, so when considering a fresh start with a new company, think about how you can see yourself growing with them. A great way to do this is to ask for employee testimonies of people who have been previously placed with the company, or to ask for some statistics on their staff retention rates. A high staff turnover is generally seen as a red flag, as it suggests that there are a number of reasons why people are quickly moving on.
5. Salary and Package
Similarly to our previous point, considering merely the starting salary would be an oversight. Thinking about what the ideal base package looks like for you in a market with multiple options can be daunting, so always think about what would support you in doing the best job possible and making your day-to-day easier. If you're someone who wants to go into the office regularly but has to travel to get there, it may be worth looking into travel support. Alternatively, if you're interested in working remotely ask about the remote set up and what's provided to you. Whilst most companies will provide a computer/ phone/ monitor, etc. some won't, so consider what tech support you may require. Pension schemes, private healthcare, subsidised gym memberships; these are all things that can be included in your base package, so remember to weigh up what's valuable to you and aspects of your current base package that you'd like to see replicated in your next role.
Of course, these factors don't represent all the many things you should consider when thinking about making the next step in your career. Whether you're actively looking for something new or just want to know more about where your experience sits in the current market, the team at CM Consulting are here to help. Our team of subject matter experts work closely with health communications industry-leading talent to find the best fit for both our candidates and clients.
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