The Good, the Bad, and the Best Jobs

Published on: 
Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology-12-02-2008, Volume 32, Issue 12
Pages: 12

Readers provide insight into the best companies to work for as well as the ups and downs of their jobs.

This month's "Viewpoint" column is attributed to the nearly 1200 industry participants who responded to our annual employment survey (see full coverage on "Is Job Security Throwing You Off Balance?"). Since 1988, the survey has provided a comprehensive look into the workforce of one of the world's largest industries: pharmaceuticals.

Best companies to work for

The questionnaire provided participants an opportunity to nominate their employer as one of the industry's "Best Companies to Work For." More than 250 employers were nominated by at least one employee. Nominations were evaluated according to employee benefits, employee attitudes toward their jobs, opportunity for professional advancement and raises, scientific challenge and problem-solving opportunities, communication among coworkers, and management's understanding of and communication to personnel of the company's goals .

Based on these criteria, the best pharmaceutical employers are:

  • Abbott Laboratories (North Chicago, IL). Abbott provides job satisfaction through valuable benefits and flexible work hours.

  • Covance (Madison, WI). Covance employees report good opportunities for scientific challenges, a positive work environment, and the firm's appreciation of diversity.

  • Genzyme (Cambridge, MA). Employees report high precentage of job security thanks to company growth and expanding research.

  • Eli Lilly (Indianapolis, IN). Eli Lilly actively recruits new graduates through student experience programs. The company's community responsibility program is highly regarded. Congratulations to these companies!

Survey participants were also asked to disclose what they like most and least about their jobs. Some common and unique responses are noted in the following sections.

Best aspects of jobs

"Challenging, demanding, and always new content."

"Human contact."

"Flexible schedule."


"Ability to mentor young technicians."

"Being in contact with peers around the world."

"Opportunity to meet high-level scientists."

"The products we make really do change people's lives."

"Scientific independence."

"My boss is 2500 miles away."

"Opportunity to deal with many different formulation challenges."

"Being on the forefront of technology."

"Spirit of enthusiasm."

"Salary increases."


"Variety. You will not do the same thing year after year."

"Being recognized as an expert."

"The people."

"I control my pace and am able to stick to my eight hours a day."

"I get to see the entire industry as I conduct pharmaceutical inspections around the world."

Worst aspects of jobs

"Lack of acknowledgment by management of my role."

"Constraints of compliance to change."

"Constant state of not knowing how long we will be employed."

"No rewards for going the extra mile," ... "or for discovery."

"Continuously changing internal requirements."

"High work load as many projects are pushed through the pipeline."

"Turnover" ... "and frequent reorganization."

"Waiting for results from universities."

"A dull and redundant work/repeat" and "shift work."

"No appreciation that we're running a global business and need global processes."

"Regulations, regulations, regulations."

"Lulls in the work cycle."

"Having to contract to people who think they know all the answers."

"Regular panic to meet customer deadlines."

"Management does not listen to or adapt new creative ideas."

"I'm stuck in a deadbeat town somewhere in Germany."

"No improvement in quality of products."

"Working across different time zones."

"Frustrations of failed experiments."

"It's hard to see how my daily activities are advancing the larger strategy."

"Slow computer systems," and "old, unreliable equipment."