Pharma cos. must attract scientific talent

January 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

The public image of the pharmaceutical industry as an employer is one of a number of factors likely to help or hinder pharmaceutical companies in their search for people who will discover, develop and market products essential to their commercial survival in the 21st century.

The public image of the pharmaceutical industry as an employer is one of a number of factors likely to help or hinder pharmaceutical companies in their search for people who will discover, develop and market products essential to their commercial survival in the 21st century, according to a new report by New York-based PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

The study, "The Future of Pharma HR," shows that companies must be able to balance commercial realities and shareholder expectations with the creation and maintenance of a work environment where individuals are still able to "make a difference" in improving the quality of life for the population at large.

Recruitment pressures

Along with familiar recruitment pressures such as the demographic squeeze and competition to attract the best people, the report cited specific factors, including the fact that scientists have a wider choice of careers than they had before, and that the skills the sector needs are changing. According to Pricewaterhouse, pharma companies will need to change their reward packages to retain talented scientists, learning from the venture capitalists to expand their reward schemes and give scientists a financial stake in the products they develop.

"The industry is now being reshaped (with increasing consolidation, alliances and potential outsourcing), while at the same time issues of work/life balance and ethics are taking center stage for knowledge workers," said Kevin Delany, co-author of the report. "People are questioning whether their personal interests and objectives will be respected and addressed by companies already under considerable pressure to satisfy the expectations of their shareholders."

"The global hunt for quality talent is more competitive than ever and a fundamental challenge to the viability of pharma companies worldwide," said James Hatch, a partner in Pricewaterhouse's human resources consulting practice. "In fact, the ability to successfully attract, motivate and retain the very best people will be the only real differentiating factor that characterizes winning companies in the future." PR

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