EY is reaping the benefits of going virtual with a booth at the ‘Zurich Virtual Life Science Day’, a digital ‘Industry Insights – Pharma Day’ in collaboration with HSG, and virtual Assessment Centers.

The EY brand inspires trust within the Life Sciences industry, as witnessed by the increasing volume of requests for our services in this sector. This fortunate circumstance comes with the corollary that we are continuously looking for talented people to join our growing team.

The competition for talent is tough at the best of times and as with so many other things, our recruitment activities had to adapt when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. There would be no more physical university events or employment fairs for us to connect with applicants and those wishing to learn more about what EY has to offer, and no more assessment centers for us to observe how applicants interact and work as a team to solve business challenges.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our need to attract university applicants and talent into EY remains. In collaboration with our Talent Attraction and Acquisition Team we adapted our approach and means to the circumstances and along the way we picked-up some lessons learned that will last beyond the pandemic.

Below are some learning insights from our colleagues

Social distancing does not equal lack of interaction

“I’m passionate about organizing engaging events for University students. So far, this always meant going to Universities and working with the students face-to-face. We had considered hosting virtual events in the past, but always agreed they would not be interactive enough. Now, being in a situation where we needed to make a virtue of necessity, it is quite fascinating to see what we were able to put in place using virtual tools. We used post-it exercises, case studies, discussions in break-out groups and even virtual Apéros. The students were able to get to know us and a full talent pipeline shows that what we did was effective. We will continue to have some virtual events in future, as this hybrid approach will lower the threshold for attendance.

Isabelle Planchon, Senior Consultant Consulting

New channels attract new talents

“Diversity is very important to us and having a diverse pipeline of talent is a recurring challenge in our line of business. Attending virtually hosted events I noticed that female students like the possibility of quick 1 on 1 meetings provided by a virtual set-up. For one career fair all my 1:1 slots were booked well in advance and 80% of the applicants were women when usually 80% of the people I speak to at physical career fairs are male. Virtual interactions also give people the option to ask their questions anonymously. This makes for more diverse – maybe more honest? – questions being asked. Real concerns are being addressed and discussed, rather than assumptions being taken for facts, as talents can ask their questions without fear that a specific question might reflect badly on them.”

Nadja Ulrich, Senior Manager Consulting

Global talents for a global industry

“The virtual assessment centers give us access to a much broader talent base. Previously, one limiting factor for physical events, was whether the applicants could travel to Zurich on the day of the center. We sometimes lost interesting candidates as they could not make it. Given that we are working for international clients, having access to global talent is a plus. A lot of work went into making sure that despite the virtual set-up, we can still get a well-rounded impression from the candidates.”

Stefan Schneider, Senior Manager Consulting

What are your ‘lessons-learned’ from talent acquisition and recruitment in the Life Sciences sector that will out-live the pandemic? We would love to hear from you.

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