The Employment Outlook Brightens - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

The Employment Outlook Brightens
Readers react to the economic turmoil of the past year and look longingly forward to 2012.

Pharmaceutical Technology
pp. 32-35

Rating satisfaction

Figure 2: Respondents indicate their level of salary satisfaction.
According to this year's responses, salary is surprisingly not a pillar of job satisfaction but is important. Only 34.3% of respondents feel they are paid fairly for their level of expertise, despite 59.4% of respondents receiving salary increases in 2011. Rather, the majority (46%) feel that they are paid at the low end of the scale but within market value or simply not paid the going rate (19%)(see Figure 2). Location also seems to have little part to play with salary satisfaction, with similar responses given across the world.

When it comes to salary increases, Europe seems to have the least generous employers, with only 50% of respondents seeing an increase in 2011 and a relatively high 12% witnessing decreases in salary. Compare these percentages with North America's 61.7% of respondents who had an increase and 7% of which had a decrease this past year, and the rest of the world which had 69% of respondents indicating a salary increase (and only 6.9% experiencing decreases).

Although respondents may not get paid what they believe they deserve, they do feel respected and needed by their employers. Three quarters of respondents agree (either strongly or somewhat) that their work is fully valued by their employer, up from 64.6% in 2010 (see Figure 1). This feeling is particularly strong in traditional bio/pharmaceutical companies (80.8%) compared with generic-drug firms (64.7%) and contract organizations (70.5%); it seems some headway has been made for contract organizations, which were struggling at the bottom of the pile last year with only 58.4% of respondents feeling valued. It could be that ever-stronger relationships between CMOs or CROs and partner companies have helped foster a sense of value among all employees working on projects together. Following the trend from last year, men feel slightly more valued than women (at 76.1 and 73.3%, respectively).

Figure 3: Resondents indicate the importance of different factors in job satisfaction (multiple responses were allowed).
So, aside from feeling valued, what other factors help bio/pharmaceutical employees face the early alarm clock every morning? As in 2010, "intellectual stimulation" is the number-one driver, with 61.9% of respondents considering it an important contributor and 27.3% indicating that it is a main source of satisfaction. In fact, this is the top answer regardless of location. The "chance to work on challenging projects" is a close second, with 59.5% citing it as an important factor, and a 28.9% indicating that it is their main reason for going to work. Improved work–life balance, job security, better salary, and benefits fill out the rest of the top of the list in descending order of importance (see Figure 3).

Figure 4: Respondents indicate the factors that would entice them to leave their current position (multiple responses were allowed).
One notable difference this year compared with 2010 is that similar job satisfaction results are produced irrespective of location, type of organization, and gender. This harmony is also the case when considering the factors that weigh in the decision to change jobs. Thirty-seven percent of all respondents say they would change jobs for an improved work–life balance alone; similarly, professional advancement (36.6%), salary (33.2%), job security (32.6%), and intellectual challenge (31.3%) are all strong deciding factors (see Figure 4). Changing tact slightly, when asked which sole factors would make respondents quit, 38% cite low pay. Discrimination also ranks highly as a reason to leave a job (34.4%). However, the latter response may be hypothetical considering that 78% of respondents say they have not experienced discrimination in their current job. Surprisingly, 41% of all respondents say that restructuring or the threat of a restructure has no impact on feelings about work. Perhaps this is because, of the 59.7% of you who have been through a merger, acquisition, downsizing or restructuring, 42% saw no significant effect and 39.8% saw only a change in job responsibilities. Therefore, just 18.2% left jobs voluntarily or otherwise.

The future is bright

Unequal opportunity
In conclusion, respondents want to be paid more in better jobs with more benefits, while enjoying a reduced workload and suffering from less stress—no real surprises there. Looking forward to 2012, a very positive 50.9% of respondents think that their company's business will improve in 2012 (only 17.9% expect a decline). As for the general outlook of the bio/pharmaceutical industry, once again, the results are positive with 72.6% predicting that business will improve. However, 24.2% believe growth will only occur overseas in 2012. Only 11.3% expect no significant change, leaving 16.1% of respondents lying awake at night worrying about decline.

As bottles are uncorked and glasses raised on December 31, toasts should be made to a prosperous, healthy and bright 2012.


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