Will the Pharmaceutical Jobs Market Ever Come Back?
Clark Executive Search is a recruitment firm for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Therefore we follow the biotechnology and pharmaceutical jobs trends closely. The last few years have been tough and hundreds of thousands of pharma jobs have been lost. The reasons for this have been covered before including lackluster pipelines, the end of the blockbuster drug, and the difficulty of getting drugs approved. But as the second quarter of 2012 begins, what does the current market look like for pharmaceutical jobs? For discussion I will first describe some industry news on pharma/ biotech growth and financing and then about what Clark Executive Search is hearing in the trenches.
There has been a lot of positive news lately. MassBio reports that the Massachusetts biopharma industry continues to grow: “The latest data shows Massachusetts leads the nation in biotechnology research & development jobs, with over 26,000 positions in 2010.” Many of the leading companies are hiring and building or expanding sites. And Sanofi is going to be increasing pharmaceutical jobs. According to a recent statement CEO Christopher Viehbacher “ said that he plans to create jobs not just through the company’s rare disease and multiple sclerosis unit, Genzyme Corp., but also through research and development in other life science areas, at local startups through acquisitions and partnerships, and through venture funding of new startups.
The next encouraging news is that venture capital is coming back into the life sciences:
1. First is an article over at Inside Ipo: “Where did the venture capital money go last year? ” The highlight statement is : “the venture capital community pumped more money into the market last year than it did in 2010: investment was up 22 percent to $28.4 bn, with the number of deals up 4 percent YOY to 3,673.”
2. MSN Money has a similar article :” Big VC Biotech Spending on the Rise for 2012” They mentioned that “life sciences sector accounted for 27 percent of all venture capital dollars spent nationally in 2011.” And that “with investors clearly excited about the prospects of biotech, many analysts expect those VC dollars to increase yet again in 2012. “
3. Pharmalot says in his post “ Biotechs Got How Much Venture Capital Money?” that “overall, the nearly $3.5 billion that biotechs raised last year dwarfed the amount of vc backing that went to other sectors – device makers wound up with $1.9 billion and diagnostic companies got $482 million. Biofuel companies, however, walked away with $222 million.”
4. And just announced: Flagship Ventures and Merck will collaborate on a $ 286M fund to develop new biotechs
So with this good news as well as the economy picking up, perhaps the dark days are behind us. Of course the over 300,000 pharmaceutical jobs lost will probably never come back because pharma is outsourcing many R&D roles in order to save money. But if the overall financial environment improves, especially growth in the biotech sector, some spill over should help the pharmaceutical companies. If the startups get enough money thru VC, they then are able to discover new drugs that the pharma can develop. This will fuel pharmaceutical jobs. (fingers crossed)
Lately at Clark Executive Search we hear a bit more positive news from the people in the industry that we talk to as part of our daily networking task. With the worst behind us, people are getting braver and actually thinking about changing positions. Candidates tell us they have several interviews compared to no interviews a year ago. Calls volume from potential new clients with jobs to fill is increasing. And our old clients are calling as well. Our last two pharmaceutical jobs have been newly created jobs in research and transitional medicine. Obviously my client believes in research investment and is willing to add new scientists to ensure they have the talent necessary to compete in the future.
However we don’t want to paint too rosy a picture. Pharmaceutical jobs are still hard to come by, especially for chemists. Biotechs are increasingly favoring a virtual mode , which doesn’t improve the biotechnology jobs outlook. But despite this, we see a slight improvement in the overall outlook of the industry. Let us know what you think. Is the pharmaceutical jobs market picking up?
Related Reading: What will be Hot in the Pharma Jobs Market of the Future?