PharmExec Blog

Pharma's Shifting Needs for Scientific Talent

By Susan Haigney.

Developing and maintaining the right labor pool is an ongoing challenge for any industry, and it is one that the pharmaceutical industry also is facing. Recent attention in the pharmaceutical industry has focused on the restructuring that has occurred and that is still occurring among the large pharmaceutical companies. And while re-allocating resources, including labor resources, is always a crucial task for companies, it is a challenge made even more difficult amidst shifting industry fundamentals and a demand for higher productivity from scientific talent.

The pharmaceutical industry requires employees with a high-end scientific skill set, and PwC’s 2012 Global CEO Survey indicates that pharmaceutical companies are having a hard time finding the right people. A recent report by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) takes a look at how changes in R&D models have affected the pharmaceutical workforce.

HRI reports that 51% of the biopharmaceutical executives surveyed for the study report that hiring has become increasingly difficult and only 28 percent feel very confident they will have access to top talent. According to HRI, nearly 72% of biopharmaceutical executives said their organizations are looking to increase R&D capacity over the next 12 months, and six in 10 intend to increase investments over the next three years to create a more skilled workforce. A survey of biopharmaceutical executives by HRI found that companies are looking for individuals in R&D with the ability to develop and manage outside partnerships, those with skills in regulatory science, and also employees knowledgeable in health economics research.

“The scientific community produces the golden eggs of medical scientific discovery, and as biopharmaceutical companies aggressively overhaul their R&D engines, they also must create an environment where the source of innovation can thrive,” said Michael Mentesana, US pharmaceuticals and life sciences R&D Advisory services leader at PwC, said in a PwC press release. “Scientists are driven by the chance to tackle tough problems, but not when they are operating in a pressure cooker environment with incentives that aren’t well aligned with company goals or their own sense of satisfaction. Real R&D transformation will not be complete until the R&D culture itself is rebooted and unless HR, R&D and senior management work together from the beginning.”

Considering how important R&D is to the pharmaceutical industry, these results may be a cause for concern. Is your company properly staffed to ensure future research innovation and company goals? Or has the pharma industry restructured and outsourced itself into a corner?

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