Survey: Pharma Layoffs Finding Jobs

May 28, 2008
Pharmaceutical Executive
Volume 0, Issue 0

While pharma groans at the endless stream of layoffs, one headhunting firm has some encouraging news: Pharma might be cutting costs, but it's also hiring.

This year, hundreds of pharma employees have found themselves on the chopping block, and there seems to be no end in sight to the layoffs. However, one employment-consulting firm took a closer look at where displaced pharma workers are ending up, and the results were actually positive.

According to Lynn Brown, marketing vice president for Right Management, many of the industry's laid off workers are finding jobs at other pharma companies, or in jobs related to the industry, such as contract sales, research organizations, or the biotech sector.Between January 2007 and March 2008, Right Management interviewed 1,282 pharma employees who were displaced from their jobs, and found that:

  • 73 percent found new jobs at the same or higher pay scale
  • 84 percent did not have to relocate to find new jobs
  • 43 percent found new positions through networking
  • 15 percent found new opportunities through the Internet
  • 12 percent landed new careers through employment agencies or search firms
  • 8 percent obtained new jobs by applying directly with their new employers

Data was taken from satisfaction surveys completed by Right Management's clients; the firm did not break down the survey by job title or segment, so it's uncertain how many positions were sales, research and development, or executive level. But according to Brown, much of the downsizing comes from strategic change.

"One of the big things we find in the pharma industry is that when a company announces they're downsizing, other pharmas call us right away to say, 'If you are servicing the out-placing work for X company, could you make those candidates available to us, or set up a job fair'" said Brown.

Brown also noted that the number of former pharma employees reaching out for assistance is no bigger this year than in the last couple of years, but she said that the number of layoffs are expected to increase in the next few years. Pharma compares to the financial segment, which Right Management also covers. Both verticals have seen a major crunch in the last year, but employees in both fields are landing jobs in the same industry.

"These numbers are strong," Brown said. "It shows that people do find jobs pretty easily in pharma."