Issue Date: February 11, 2013 | Web Date: February 7, 2013
Pharma Firms See A Lack Of Needed Skills
After significantly downsizing their R&D operations, pharmaceutical companies thinking about expanding again say they can’t find employees with the right skills. That’s one result from a recent survey of life sciences company R&D and human resources executives by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“Developing and managing outside partnerships and regulatory science are the two most sought-after skills today,” PwC reports. These skills have gained importance because drug company R&D increasingly uses contract research firms, outside partners, and crowdsourcing to manage costs and improve prospects for drug development.
About a third of life sciences companies have revamped their approach to R&D in the past three years, PwC found. And between 2009 and 2012, the drug industry laid off 150,000 employees.
Now, 72% of pharma executives say they intend to increase their R&D capacity in the next 12 months. However, half of them indicate that hiring has become more difficult than before, with only 28% saying they’re very confident about finding top talent.
To fix this situation, some 60% of executives plan on investing over the next three years to create a more skilled workforce. But it’s not clear whether any of that investment to fill the skills gap will go to helping those employees who were laid off.
“Companies with decades-long legacies have lost their edge due to repeated layoffs, wearing down the morale of scientific staff,” PwC says. The consulting firm suggests that company leaders should “convey a compelling mission that employees will not only accept but embrace.” At the same time, it encourages human resources staff to develop a strategy for equipping their firms with the “right mix of people and talent in R&D.”
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
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