Riding the Employment Roller Coaster - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Riding the Employment Roller Coaster
2010 came with pay raises for those still employed and anxiety for all. This article contains bonus online material.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 34, Issue 12, pp. 36-39

The elements of satisfaction

Figure 9: Effect of economy on company (multiple responses allowed).
So what accounts for job satisfaction when it occurs and what would employees in the pharmaceutical sector be looking for in a new job? Intellectual challenge is the number one source of job satisfaction say 61.5% of all respondents, followed by 61.3% who say that relationships with colleagues give them on-the-job satisfaction. Other important factors include intellectual stimulation (59.2%), work/life balance (57.6%), and supportive management (57.3%). Interestingly, relationships with colleagues are slightly more important to employees in Western Europe than in the US or elsewhere. In Canada, 66.7% of respondents say that intellectual stimulation is the most important factor, whereas 75% of Indian workers value challenging projects (but only 37.5% say their relationships with colleagues are sources of satisfaction). Salary matters most to Indian workers, 62.5% of whom cite this as a source of satisfaction versus 50% in Canada, 45.3% in the US, and 38.5% in Western Europe.

Figure 10: Job decision factors-least important (multiple responses allowed).
On the flip side, 51.4% of respondents say that budgetary and resource constraints are their greatest on-the-job stressors. Also high on their list of stressors are short timelines (42.9%), issues with management (40.2%), and poor infrastructure (31.1%). Looking at the breakdown by company type, 53.2% of workers in traditional bio/pharmaceutical and 60% of those in biotech companies cite budgetary constraints as their most stressful challenge, whereas 51.9% of contract service providers and manufacturers and 48.8% of respondents from generic bio/pharmaceutical companies place short timelines at the top of their lists. Contract providers also cite poor infrastructure as a stressor—40.4%, as opposed to 30% or fewer for respondents in generic companies, biotech companies, and traditional bio/pharmaceutical companies. However, employees in these companies grapple more with management issues and fears about their job security.

Figure 11: Job security now compared with two years ago.
Workers in India are particularly stressed about long commutes and low pay (37.5% of Indian respondents report each of these as stressors), while budgets and resources challenge employees in all regions. Men and women report similar stressors, with the exception that women feel the pressures of juggling work and life (30.9% of women versus 20.1% of men) more acutely than men, and women also have more issues with management (43.6% of women, and 39% of men). On the other hand, 29.3% of men feel the stress of job insecurities, while only 22.3% of women do.

Figure 12: Likelihood of leaving job.
Given the workplace challenges and satisfactions the survey uncovered, what would it take to lure an employee to a new position? The answer was unequivocal—money. A full 63% of respondents said income was the number one feature they'd be looking for in a new job. A good work/life balance came in second at 42.3%, and geographic location was third (40.9%). Men and women were almost equally inclined toward a bigger paycheck, but work/life balance is more important to women job seekers than to men (51.5% of women versus 38.1% of men). Geographic location, on the other hand, matters more to men (42.5%) than to women (36.4%). Retirement benefits will matter more to men, too (14.9%) than to women (8.1%).

Figure 13: Respondents organization by type.
Job attributes that matter less to those considering a move include, surprisingly, scientific opportunities, with 47.2% of respondents placing least importance there. Women are less motivated by scientific opportunity than are men. Tolerance in the work place was also relatively unimportant, as was commuting time.

Figure 14: Additional job decision factors by location (mutliple responses allowed).
In spite of 2010's vicissitudes, in spite of the fact that 42.7% of respondents say their companies downsized, that 32.0% say business decreased, and 22.6% say their companies outsourced work, employees in the pharmaceutical industry remain bullish on prospects for the future. More than half (53.4%) say their companies are expanding next year, and 56.1% think business will pick up. Let's hope they're right.


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