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This symposium will explore how research libraries can attract and retain highly-skilled and talented staff within a highly-competitive and fluid employment market. It will explore how, in the era of the Great Resignation and rising employee expectations, research libraries can offer a compelling and attractive career track to highly-skilled professionals, and how we can incentivise and retain our existing expertise. This will include how research libraries can navigate rising employee and candidate expectations around flexible working and the ways of mitigating the ongoing Talent Crunch.

Convened by the International Alliance of Research Library Associations, the event will include presentations from the international research library community and will place an emphasis on discussion and conversation with the audience.


Research libraries contain highly skilled and specialist staff. Their experience and expertise transcend disciplines, drive innovation and experimentation, and are at the forefront of professional practice. The skills base of our libraries is continually adapting, reflecting the changing needs of our users, the growing role of our libraries, and the increasing complexity of the services we deliver. This shifting landscape requires the continual development of our existing staff whilst often attracting new skills from outside of the information community.

Research libraries sit within an international and highly competitive job market. Many of the skills we require are highly sought after in other sectors, including the information, technology, wider education, and commercial communities, which can pay a premium for skills and talent. The recent rise in employee and candidate expectations around flexible working arrangements presents an additional challenge to recruiting and retaining talent amongst research libraries, especially when other sectors are now offering highly-attractive flexible working packages in response to the Talent Crunch and skills shortages. As a consequence, research libraries can find it difficult to compete for, and then retain, highly specialist and expert staff.

This symposium will explore the experiences of research libraries in attracting and retaining talent. It will explore the impact and opportunities of the ‘Great Resignation’ across our community, and the subsequent ‘Great Restructure’ within our institutions. Central to its discussions will be a consideration of how research libraries can retain highly-skilled talent within such a competitive and shifting job market, and communicate a compelling and attractive career track that does not necessarily depend on ‘above market’ salaries.

Nature of event:

A two hour webinar, delivered as a virtual round table, exploring talent management and retention opportunities and challenges for research libraries in the post-pandemic landscape. This event is open to colleagues from across the IARLA and international information communities.

Purpose of event:

  • Explore the challenges and opportunities around talent retention amongst research libraries
  • Highlight strategies for talent attraction and retention in the era of the ‘Great Resignation’
  • Explore the ways in which research libraries can ‘sell their offer’ within a competitive labor market which might not depend on high salary offers.
  • Identify any collaborative approaches to recruitment and retention

This event will be recorded and a link to the recording will be shared on this website after the event.