Job Security

Published on: 
Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology-12-02-2012, Volume 36, Issue 12

Annual employment survey results show greater confidence in the pharma industry.

The spate of large mergers that dominated the news a few years ago seems to be slowing, but bio/pharmaceutical companies still face pressure to run leaner businesses and to see a better return on investment from their R&D divisions. The global economy continues to limp along, and pharma faces pricing pressure from cost-conscious payers and from developing countries determined to hold the line on drug prices. The industry continues to adapt to this challenging business environment, and these challenges cannot help but affect pharma employees. Pharmaceutical Technology asked readers about their employment situations: how secure they felt in their positions, how satisfied they are with their jobs, and how they see the future of their companies and the global industry. The following pages highlight key results from the survey.



The level of employment insecurity is dropping among biopharma employees. Year over year, fewer respondents say they feel less secure in their positions than they did the year before. In 2010, 53% said they felt less secure. This dropped to 41% in 2011, and this year, only 34% were feeling less secure. While this seems encouraging, readers did not say they felt more secure. Instead, an increased percentage (47% this year) said they felt about the same as last year. It seems, then, that pharma employees are becoming accustomed to the new, more fluid business environment. Is insecurity becoming the new normal? Perhaps, but respondents felt confident they would be able to find a new job if they had to, and they continue to derive satisfaction from the intellectual stimulation and challenging projects associated with their jobs.

The difficult economic climate is being felt by those in the industry. A third of respondents, 33%, indicated that business had declined over the past year. Yet, respondents were upbeat about the future, both for their own companies and for the industry as a whole. Only 34% expect business at their own companies to decline next year, with the rest expecting either no change (18%), or an increase (48%). When asked about the industry as a whole, 49% said they expected business to improve. Next year will bring its own set of challenges for the industry, but let's hope that this optimism is well founded.