November 8, 2023

The Life Sciences Job Market Isn’t Tight Right Now

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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If you’re looking for a new job in the life sciences, you might be looking around and feeling defeated at the lack of opportunity. I want to share with you a whole new perspective about what is going on in the industry right now and why the job market is not tight.

You can still make big moves. You can still get promoted.

You don’t have to settle.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to navigate the job market in the current climate
  • Evidence that the job market isn’t tight right now
  • 5 things you can do if you’re looking for a job and not getting traction

Mentioned in this episode:




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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self-worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted, whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader. We are shattering the glass ceiling here, the one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week, you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of woo. So you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up-level begins now. 


Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. I am so excited to talk to you today.

We are going to talk about a somewhat controversial topic, and that is the state of the job market in the life sciences. Whether you’re looking for a promotion or a new job, you’re going to want to hear this. Now, a few weeks ago, I recorded an episode with a life sciences recruiter all about the state of the industry. If you haven’t listened, I suggest that you check that one out. We talked about the reality of the layoffs and the reorgs happening this year and how to navigate the job market. Although things have changed and there have been a lot of people impacted by those changes, it doesn’t mean the job market is tight. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities. So if you are someone that is looking for one, this is going to give you some hope and a new perspective. What it means is that you have to shift your strategy and approach to the way that you look for jobs. It’s like if you think about the housing market. When there are a lot of people selling their houses, then the buyer has more of an advantage. Sellers may be more willing to take buyers that aren’t ideal.

They may flex on the price more. They have to work a little harder to make their houses stand out. But then it can flip, and sometimes there are very few houses and a lot of buyers. In this case, the buyers have to do more work. The sellers have the advantage. They can hold out for a better offer or buyer. This is just like the job market right now. If you watch Million Dollar Listing on Bravo, it’s really interesting to watch that from a selling perspective for the housing market because it’s very similar to jobs and what they’re willing to negotiate, what type of offers they’re willing to accept. It all depends on the market, right? And this is just like the job market right now. So instead of a couple of years ago when there was so much growth in the industry due to COVID and other factors, you could go get a new job in a hot second without a lot of effort. Companies were trying to outcompete each other by offering sign-on bonuses and other incentives to entice employees to make a move and choose them. I remember seeing on LinkedIn different companies saying, Come work here, you’ll get an extra $5,000.

Come work here in the shift schedule, and we’ll give you an extra $20,000. They were really trying to stand out as a top employer. You as the candidate could walk into those jobs a lot easier. But that doesn’t mean that the job would have been a good fit for you. I don’t want you to get confused on that because it’s important that the job that you go into is actually a job that you want. It’s not just about having a plethora of jobs out there, it’s about the quality of the job. Now, because the boom of COVID has died down and the normal turn of the industry where trials don’t go as planned and things like that happen and so companies need to restructure and pivot, there isn’t a huge overflow of job openings. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t opportunity. Another thing that I think is factoring into this is there are more people, especially after COVID, that are looking for a better quality job. The good enough job, the good job on paper, it’s not just about salary. None of that is cutting it anymore. 

People want a job that feels aligned with who they are, that energizes them, where they know that they’re using their unique talents and skills, where they’re making a difference and have the culture that is also a good fit for them. Hybrid and remote working is becoming more of a non-negotiable. I’m seeing that all of the time with my clients. You have this situation where there was an overflow of jobs, and now the life sciences industry has reset itself. Then you also have people who are being more picky in what they want, which is a really good thing. It’s increasing your quality of life. If you’re thinking the job market is tight, it really is a bit of a misconception. It’s a little bit of a way that your brain is playing tricks on you. This episode is really about leveling that out and giving you another way to look at this. There are plenty of opportunities. You, as a job seeker, are one, being more picky, and two, what you need to do is work harder to stand out. In my group program, Beyond the Ceiling, we just had someone get a new job. It didn’t take long at all. One of the members of the group also shared the truth that I’m sharing with you today that if you ask some people, they say the industry is booming with opportunity and jobs, and if you ask others, they say it’s tight. This is why I’m creating this episode for you so you can see the bigger context and keep your motivation up if you’re looking for a job right now.

To give you a little bit more motivation, outside of my group program and my one-on-one clients, one of my one-on-one clients just moved to a new job with a pay raise and a $50,000 sign-on bonus. Another client just messaged me on LinkedIn this week that her company is creating a new role for her. These new jobs and pay raises are happening right now while you might be looking around thinking things are tight, and they’re not any different than you. They’re not more special than you.

Here is my advice for you. If you are looking for a job and you’re not seeing opportunities or not getting traction in your job search, I’m going to give you some things to do, and they’re probably not what you’re expecting. Number one is to spend some time thinking about what makes you unique. What is your competitive advantage over everyone else applying for the job that you want? How will you position yourself differently than everyone else who wants the same job or promotion? I’m going to give you a story about how I did that with the housing market in the next one. Number two is get crystal clear on what you want and why. When you are interviewing and there are a ton of other candidates, the competition is higher. Confidence wins against competence every time. I’m going to say that again. This is a proven fact that there were studies done on this. Competence wins against competence every time. It doesn’t matter if you have the best resume. If you’re not sure what you want or why you want it, it’s going to be clear in your interview and the way that you talk about yourself and answer questions.

If you’re clear, though, on what you want and why, you’re going to have a better outcome. Think of the housing analogy. When we personally bought our house that we live in now, it was when there were a ton of more buyers than sellers. We had already lost multiple houses. I wasn’t going to lose this one. What I did is I wrote a letter to the sellers and sent a family photo and shared with them why their house was our perfect house. It got us the house. We actually got the house over other offers, even though we weren’t the highest bid or highest offer. What you can take away from this is even if you aren’t the candidate with the best qualifications or the most pristine resume, you can still get the job if you stand out and are confident in what you want. This number one and number two that I’m telling you. Number three, broaden your perspective. Spend time with people who are happy in their jobs and can connect you with opportunities. When you’re feeling down, spending time with other people who are also frustrated is just going to make you feel worse.

You can even look on LinkedIn for people who are sharing job updates or #newjob to show your brain evidence that there actually are opportunities out there. Also, celebrate what is going well. It’s easy to dismiss the recruiter who reached out to you because the job wasn’t a good fit. But people reaching out means that you’re marketable and in demand. If you turn down a job or you don’t apply because it doesn’t meet your expectations, whether it be because of the type of company or the commute, celebrate that you are turning down jobs. It’s not that there isn’t opportunity. You’re just trying to find the best fit or the right opportunity for you. In this climate, especially if you’re doing it on your own, it can take some time. You’re being more picky. That’s okay. Number four, continue listening to this podcast. I have so many episodes on navigating the life sciences job market with everything from figuring out what you want to interviewing to getting the job and then being happy and being effective in it. I also have some episodes planned that are going to be coming up that are specific to making a job change.

Number five, if all else fails, get help. There are resources out there to help you. I am one of them. I have this podcast where I give you free help and support every week, and I also can help you as your coach. In Beyond the Ceiling, that’s my small group coaching program that’s for women in pharma or biotech. That is going to be opening up for enrollment again in February. This is the group that you want to be in if you want to figure out what you want next in your role and you want to get a new job fast. If you want to make changes fast, you want to go through a fast paced program where you’re going to get a lot of support and you’re going to be with other women in the industry, that is the space you want to be in. You can go to and get on the waitlist. I also work with a limited number of clients one on one. If you’re looking for something that’s highly personalized, at your pace, private, then schedule a consultation call and we can determine if we’re a good fit for coaching.

But either way, there is support available to you. You don’t have to do this alone. All right, so I hope this helped you see that the job market isn’t tight. I hope it helped you see the job market a little bit differently and that you’re leaving with some hope that your best job is out there because 100% it is. You can have the job you want even right now. All right, have a great week. 

The episode is over, but your next level is just beginning. If you’re ready to have the career that you really want, I invite you to schedule a coaching consultation to work with me, where you will identify a career path to your next step, build your confidence to tackle any career challenge, make more money and work and stress less with my proven process. Head over to to get started.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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