The Eighth Annual International Employment Survey - Pharmaceutical Technology

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The Eighth Annual International Employment Survey

Pharmaceutical Technology

Survey participants were asked to describe what they enjoy best and least about their jobs. Perhaps not surprising, issues related to job environment topped the list of greatest annoyances. Workers expressed frustration over company politics and office culture, a lack of support from management, too much paperwork, and pressures of having to do more with fewer resources. Intellectual challenge, problem solving, a sense of purpose in the objective of their jobs (developing effective therapeutic products), and good coworkers were often cited as the best satisfactions of the job. To some degree, responses depended on the type of work. For example, one independent consultant in the UK valued independence and flexibility saying "My job environment is as I wish it to be. Being independent gives me total control in this regard." Nonetheless, he also listed "stability, income, governmental inertia or interference, and regulatory policies" as major concerns in his field.

Preferred employer. A job change in the next 12 months seems to be on the minds of more people this year. Although most (57%) workers said it was unlikely or very unlikely that they will change employment within the next year, this value is lower than the 61% result from last year's survey. About one-third said the possibility of a job change was likely or very likely. Even if a job change were made, nearly 70% of respondents would prefer to work in private industry over any other sector, including nonprofit agencies, academic institutions, or government.

Table V: Importance of various skills in performing daily tasks.
Essential skills and knowledge. Participants weighed in on the importance of various skills (see Table V). Managers often emphasize these skills regardless of the type of job function. For example, in a follow-up conversation, Hayes Powell, a principal scientist who oversees a staff of laboratory scientists at AMO, a company that has undergone several changes since parting with parent company Allergan, said "Restructuring often opens up other opportunities, and companies tend to rehire [personnel] to fill these positions during restructuring." Powell, who has worked in the industry for 32 years, also says he has seen improvement over the past 10–15 years in the skill set of newly hired personnel, especially in written communication and entry-level preparedness.

Table VI: Influence of regulatory guidelines.
Impact of regulations and legislations. For the first time, our questionnaire asked employees to indicate their awareness of various regulatory initiatives and gauge the effect of these initiatives on the manner in which they perform their jobs. The Food and Drug Administration's rule on electronic records and signatures (21 CFR Part 11) has made the biggest impact so far. Only 6% said they are not aware of the rule (see Table VI).

In a follow-up discussion, one (anonymous) pharma manufacturing manager pointed out that many companies are certainly aware of these initiatives, especially FDA's process analytical technologies guidelines, but are choosing to monitor the experiences of Big Pharma before beginning major changes.


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