What motivates Chemists to accept job offers in 2023?

Here at CY Partners we are passionate about matching the right Chemistry talent with the right jobs. So, to help us better understand what Chemistry applicants really want from prospective employers in 2023, we ran a survey aimed at discovering what motivates them to accept job offers.

The survey generated a great response rate and some interesting insights that will help pharmaceuticals, biotech and related businesses to create job offerings that attract stronger applicants to Chemistry roles, and Chemistry jobseekers to better negotiate an offer.

A key indicator from the survey revealed that Chemistry applicants really care about where and how they work. On the flip side however, it’s clear that the impact of rising living costs is forcing people to question whether their current job can sustain them through the crisis.

The Highlights of the survey are as follows: 

  • More than half of those surveyed claimed that the key factors they are looking for in their next Chemistry role, aside from salary & benefits, are a sense of fulfilment and a clear career path.
  • 65% of respondents said that money was the number-one motivator behind accepting a job offer, followed closely by potential for professional growth.
  • Three-quarters of the participants said that the key factor that could lead to them declining a job offer would be an unsuitable or unattractive benefits package, followed closely by non-competitive remuneration and a tedious/slow-moving recruitment process.
  • The top two pieces of advice that respondents would offer a business to help them create an irresistible job offer for Chemists are ‘Highlight opportunities for progression, training and development’ and ‘Portray the company and workplace culture in a positive light’, (65%), followed closely by ‘Communicate regularly with the candidate and answer their questions’, and ‘Show how you foster a healthy employee work-life balance’, (55%).
  • A small number of respondents added that they believe Chemists are significantly underpaid in the UK.

Summary of findings

With an overwhelming majority of respondents agreeing that a sense of fulfilment from work and a clear career path are top priorities, it’s evident that Chemistry employees need to see purpose, meaningfulness and opportunities for growth reflected in their day-to-day work.

The top factors in deciding whether to accept a job offer were cited as ‘an exciting compensation package’ and ‘potential for professional growth’, adding further weight to the notion that awarding employees agency over their career trajectory leads to greater fulfilment. Furthermore, it’s apparent that as the cost-of-living crisis continues to exacerbate the financial situations of jobseekers, organisations face greater pressure to reward employees’ hard work with competitive remuneration.

An unsuitable or unattractive benefits package was identified as the key factor that could lead to applicants declining a job offer.

Workplace culture is clearly a powerful advantage for Chemistry organisations, with ‘portray the company and workplace culture in a positive light’ being one of the top pieces of advice applicants would offer a business to help them create an irresistible job offer, in addition to ‘communicate regularly with new hires’ and ‘show how they foster a healthy employee work-life balance’.

Interestingly, several respondents believe that Chemists are significantly underpaid in the UK. According to CY Partners principal recruitment consultant Luke Argent, salaries in science have kept pace with inflation, but they remain too low. He says there is positive news for aspiring Chemists however, as salaries in chemistry are rising for those in the early stages of their career. Conversely, salary rises are still falling behind for Chemists who are further ahead in their careers. Could this indicate that there is an opportunity for employers to do more when it comes to investing in an equitable compensation strategy designed to boost acquisition and retention?

Luke adds that it’s promising to see many organisations striving to meet the needs of their workforce by benchmarking and adjusting salary bandings accordingly.

Finally, we’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to all those who participated in our 2023 Chemistry applicant survey.

We’d also like to express a big congratulations to Garr-Layy Zhou, who was drawn as our prize winner. We are delighted to share that we have donated £100 to Save The Children on her behalf.

If you’re looking to commence or advance your professional career in Chemistry, we suggest speaking with a professional scientific recruiter such as CY Partners to gain a realistic picture of the current market and to determine what position would be most suitable for you. Contact us here.

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