Updated: Jan 5
For Candidates/ Job Seekers:
Why Joining an Early-Stage Biotech Startup is your Best Bet During a Recession
Sabrina Deltoro, Founder & Recruiting Director
Delson Talent Consulting
January 3, 2023
Happy New Year!
Now that the Holiday Season is behind us, it’s time to focus on the here and now. Have you been feeling ready to move on from your current role, but are worried about making a change during these harder economic times? Are you currently feeling stuck and want to make a move, but worried you’ll make the wrong decision? If you’ve been considering making a career move, you might be wondering if this is a good time to take on a new role, especially with a potential recession looming on the horizon.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Over the last six months here at Delson Talent, we’ve had candidates get cold feet and withdraw from interview processes with our startup clients, stating they were afraid of being “last in, first out”. Many of the candidates we speak to are risk-averse and afraid of making the wrong move. This attitude, and in my opinion, misconception, is what led me to write this post. While it's true that startups, particularly in the biotech industry, come with their own set of challenges and uncertainties, there are several reasons why joining an early-stage biotech startup during a recession can make sense.
First and foremost, it's important to understand that recessions, though generally characterized by economic downturn, can bring about significant changes and disruptions that create new opportunities for growth and innovation. This is especially true in the biotech industry, where advancements in technology and scientific research are constantly driving change and creating new markets. In fact, there exist biotech companies founded during economic downturns or other challenging times, that have gone on to achieve great success.
SO WHY A STARTUP?
One of the most important factors to consider when thinking about your next career move is the fact that smaller (i.e. Seed through Series C), venture-funded companies are often in expansion mode, while larger, publicly traded companies may be contracting. The ultimate goal of a publicly held organization is to generate profits and appeal to its shareholders (this may come as a shock to those of you who don’t already know this), which can sometimes mean cutting costs and downsizing in order to maintain or increase profits and appeal to shareholders. On the other side of the coin, smaller, venture-backed companies are often focused on growth and expansion, and are more willing to take on additional team members and resources in order to achieve their goals. Additionally, startups are not ‘graded’ on their current profitability and revenue; their milestones include researching and innovating. This provides a more stable and supportive environment for employees, and may also present more opportunities for advancement and growth within the company.
Another advantage of joining an early-stage, biotech startup during a recession is the potential for growth and advancement. These companies are often looking for talented and motivated individuals to join their team and help drive their company's success. With a smaller team and less bureaucracy, you'll have more opportunities to take on responsibilities and make a meaningful impact on the company's direction and success, while also giving upper management greater visibility into your efforts. This can be especially appealing to those who are looking to fast-track their career and take on leadership roles early on.
While it's true that startups come with a certain level of risk, they also have the potential for significant returns if the company is successful. All competitive, early-stage biotech startups offer stock options as part of their compensation package which can provide a significant financial payoff if the company goes public or is acquired. Even if the company doesn't reach these milestones, the experience and skills you gain from working at a startup are extremely valuable for future career opportunities.
In addition to the potential for career advancement and financial reward, joining an early-stage biotech startup can also provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Biotech startups are often focused on solving important problems and improving people's lives through innovative technologies and treatments. By joining an early-stage biotech startup, you'll have the opportunity to be a part of something meaningful and make a real difference in the world.
You may also want to consider the fact that early-stage biotech startups often have a more collaborative and dynamic culture compared to larger, more established organizations. With a smaller team and less bureaucracy, there is often more flexibility, teamwork, and openness to new ideas, which can be a rewarding and energizing environment to work in. This can be especially appealing to those who are looking for a more entrepreneurial and innovative workplace.
It's also worth noting that the biotech industry is known for its strong job market, even during economic downturns. Biotech companies often require highly skilled and specialized professionals, such as scientists, engineers, and researchers to develop and bring new technologies and treatments to market. These jobs tend to be in high demand, and can be relatively stable even during economic challenges; the long-term demand for innovative treatments and technologies tends to remain strong. This means that by joining an early-stage biotech startup, you may be positioning yourself in a field with a strong job market and good long-term prospects.
Finally, it's important to keep in mind that joining any company, including a biotech startup, comes with its own set of risks and uncertainties. It's important to carefully evaluate the company's business model, leadership team, and potential for success before making a decision. (See our post on questions to ask when interviewing at a startup during a recession)
In conclusion, while it would appear on the surface that there are risks and uncertainties involved in joining an early-stage biotech startup during a recession, there are also many potential benefits, especially when considering the contraction of many publicly traded entities. From the fact that earlier stage startups are in expansion mode, to the opportunity for visibility, growth and advancement, to the potential for financial reward and a sense of purpose, joining an early-stage biotech startup can be a rewarding and fulfilling career move, and your best bet in challenging economic times.