Life Sciences leads the swing to corporate purpose in latest executive management survey

24 Nov 2020

Life Sciences leads the swing to corporate purpose in latest executive management survey

As managers increasingly seek purpose from their careers, one sector stands clear of all others in offering a clear motivation.

The tenth annual Odgers Berndtson Executive Search survey of over 2000 executive managers across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, one of the most comprehensive surveys of executives in the German-speaking world, reinforced the rise of purpose in business.

More and more managers and employees are asking questions about the sense of purpose of their own actions and those of the company they work for.

“‘Does my company stand for something bigger than profit?’ is a question that more and more managers are asking,” explains Hubert Lindenblatt, core member of the Odgers Berndtson Global Life Sciences Practice.

It is a question whose continuing rise up the business agenda has been further accelerated by the ongoing corona virus. Purpose has emerged as a major factor when choosing an employer, as well as for retaining and inspiring employees in a tight talent market.

Life Sciences managers understand their purpose

The starkest example of this is trend is amongst those professionals within the Medical, Pharmaceutical and Chemical sectors.

In the Life Sciences, our respondents were by far the most clear-minded about their employer’s purpose, and most likely to be able to name it,” reports Veronika Ulbort, core member of the Odgers Berndtson Global Life Sciences Practice and Head of the Life Sciences Practice in Germany.

This clarity about purpose was accompanied by a level of satisfaction with their current position that surpassed all the other sectors we surveyed. These managers are far less likely to seek to move on.

For them, the current crisis has only reinforced their feeling that their industry has a long-term viability upon which they can build a career.

To find out more about the issues that are motivating managers across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, download our report.


Manager Barometer 2020 – 2021

Priorities and motivations of executive managers across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Download now

The Manager Barometer Report also covers important leadership and talent issues like:

  • The increasing role of sustainability and why it is a factor in six out of ten companies.
  • The key differences between Generations Y, X and the Baby Boomers.
  • How managers rate the importance of company culture.
  • The one motivator that continues to top the list for all managers.
  • What makes distant collaboration during lockdown successful.
  • The three drivers of shared corporate purpose.
  • The clear connection between a shared corporate purpose and greater business success.

Leading successfully, with purpose

The changes in the attitudes of managers identified in our report make it essential for management to adapt their leadership behaviour.

Successful managers must be more aware than ever before that they are role models.

Our report emphasises that it is to the top management that employees look for a clear purpose to their working lives and career aspirations.

Senior leaders must also demonstrate additional skills and personal qualities, such as resilience, transformation and change management, empathy, cordiality, open communication and, of course, value and purpose-based action.

Purpose, talent, performance

Clearly, the purpose debate has already arrived in most companies and is driving cultural change. The Life Sciences are a clear front-runner in this regard, as our latest Manager Barometer highlights.

Whatever the lockdown environment of the future, the purpose-driven company culture will continue to attract and retain the best talent and be part of creating better performance.

"If you want to retain the best leaders in the future, you will have to set an example of a culture from the CEO down that makes the corporate purpose recognisable, comprehensible and ultimately tangible,” concludes Silvia Eggenweiler, Author of this year’s report and core member of the Odgers Berndtson Global Practice Life Sciences Practice

If you would like to discuss the report in more detail or explore how Odgers Berndtson can meet your talent and leadership needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.