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What's Going On With The Biotech Job Market?



9/19/2016 2:19:21 PM

What's Going On With The Biotech Job Market? September 8, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

CHICAGO – Finding a good personal fit for your long-term career is important. Being satisfied and motivated to come to work is an important element for employees—and, let’s face it, happy employees are a great benefit to an employer.

A recent survey by KPMG of 400 chief executive officers indicates these corporate leaders across multiple industries, including the life sciences industry, believe a time for growth and expansion is at hand. Of the 38 life science CEOs surveyed, 92 percent were confident or very confident over the prospect for growth for the life science industry over the next 12 months. Of the other 8 percent, 5 percent of CEOs were neutral or unwilling to discuss growth, while 3 percent said they were not confident. When it came to their individual companies, 94 percent were confident they would see growth over the next year, but all of the life science CEOs expressed confidence in growth over the next three years, according to the survey results.

RESPONSE
400 CEOS (ALL INDUSTRIES)
38 LIFE SCIENCES CEOS
Confident
45%
50%
Very confident
29%
42%
Neutral
22%
5%
Not very confident
4%
3%
Not at all confident
1%
0%

According to the survey results, the CEOs said growth will primarily be driven by four factors—the cost of doing business, competitions, corporate social responsibility and technological innovations. Those factors, as well as others, including expanding markets and domestic and global economic factors, will cause these companies to seek new talent over the next three years. More than three-fourths of the CEOs said they anticipated hiring increases of 6 to 10 percent. Thirteen percent anticipated a hiring increase of less than 5 percent, while 3 percent expected to increase headcount of more than 25 percent, according to the survey results.

RESPONSE
400 CEOS (ALL INDUSTRIES)
38 LIFE SCIENCES CEOS
Technology
16%
16%
Current competitors
10%
16%
Cost of doing business
8%
16%
Corporate social responsibility expectations/climate change
7%
16%
Domestic economic factors
11%
13%
Access to talent
6%
13%
Global economic factors
21%
8%
Reputational/brand risk
7%
3%
New competitors/disruptors
10%
0%
Geopolitical factors (elections, social unrest/instability)
4%
0%

What makes a company a good place to work? What makes one company a more desirable employer over another? These are questions BioSpace put to human resources executives at several prominent companies in the pharma and biotech industries as part of our career series.

Catherine Dürr, a media spokesperson for pharma giant Roche (RHHBY), said “working for Roche means working for a company with combined strengths in diagnostics and pharmaceuticals that has been developing innovative healthcare solutions that improve patients’ lives around the world for 120 years now.”


As one of the largest biotech companies in the world, Roche is certainly blazing trails in oncological research on its own, as well as with its subsidiaries like Genentech (RHHBY), or through partnerships like the one it has with Eleven Biotherapeutics (EBIO). Roche has numerous openings in its operations, although the company has been undergoing a streamlining of late that includes the reduction of a number of production roles. The reductions though support a shift in the company’s portfolio, with a focus on specialized drugs in smaller volumes.

Despite the small number of recent layoffs, working at Roche can not only be a rewarding challenge for employees, but is the type of company that fosters personal growth and development of skills, Dürr said in an email.

“At Roche, we strive to create a collaborative, inclusive and respectful work environment so that our employees enjoy coming to work every day. Our aim is to create an atmosphere in which everyone can grow and develop, both professionally and personally. Diversity is a very high priority for Roche and we believe that it goes beyond visible differences. To be able to continue to develop truly innovative solutions, we need to ensure that we have and make use of varied skills, backgrounds and perspectives,” Dürr said.

Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Regeneron (REGN) holds to a structural environment of innovative thinking and constant reinvention.


“Our deep understanding of biology and technology coupled with the creativity, imagination and perseverance of our employees allow us to turn ideas into medicines that improve patients’ lives. We have four FDA-approved medicines and fourteen homegrown antibody candidates in the clinical pipeline, and we are poised for multiple additional FDA decisions over the next few years. With a long-term focus but lots going on right now, we believe in hiring people to dive right into the action, and at the same time, we are putting lots of focus on evolving our employee's skill sets with mentorship and hands-on training,” Angi Calkins, executive director of Talent Acquisition at Regeneron, told BioSpace in an email.

Calkins said potential employees look to Regeneron as place where they can work “unrestrained in their thinking” and she said the company empowers employees with the resources to pursue their ideas, big or small.

When it comes to workplace priorities, a strong and well-articulated company culture were also listed as a top priority by the CEOs polled by KPMG. Additionally the CEOs said diversity and inclusion as well as talent development programs were also priorities to be addressed.

Calkins said Regeneron pushes its employees to work “outside the lines” and allows the science to dictate the work— which frees the employees to determine if an experimental therapeutic will be of benefit in treating more than one disease. She said employees can unwind with fun company events like picnics or bonding events such as “Cheesy Hawaiian Shirt Day.” Regeneron employees are also given the opportunity to learn new scientific skills during internal “Lab Warmings” and Science Days.

At Roche, Dürr said employees can expect competitive pay and benefits. Also, Dürr said Roche offers flexible work arrangements that “support the compatibility of family and career.” Additionally, the company provides sports, arts and culture programs for its employees as well, she said.

Calkins said Regeneron employees receive fair and competitive compensation and are eligible to receive stock options, which “encourages everyone to share in and contribute to our long-term success.”

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