Top 10 Fastest Growing Employers Outside Of Big Pharma

Published: Oct 01, 2014

Top 10 Fastest Growing Employers Outside of Big Pharma

September 16, 2014

By Renee Morad, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

A recent report published by EP Vantage reveals that many big pharma companies are slowly shrinking when it comes to employee headcount. At the other end of the spectrum, the number of employees at big biotech firms and specialty drug makers are rapidly growing—more than offsetting the loss of jobs in big pharma.

Overall, big pharma employment dropped by 3 percent in the past decade.

"The size of our workforce is a dynamic number that reflects both the needs of the business as well as corporate actions such as acquisitions and divestitures," said Joan Campion, spokesperson for Pfizer Inc. .

“Since 2009, Pfizer has acquired Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and King Pharmaceuticals, as well as divested three businesses: Zoetis, which had approximately 9,500 colleagues, Pfizer Nutritionals, which had approximately 300 colleagues and Capsugel, which had close to 3,000 colleagues,” Campion said.

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly declined to comment.

Top 10 Fastest Growing Employers Outside Of Big Pharma Novartis AG , which is currently the biggest pharma employer, was among the companies tracked that increased modestly over the past decade, with an employee headcount of 75,541 in 2003 and 135,696 at the end of 2013.

However, even the top performer admits that workplace reductions are par for the course.

“We are fortunate that Novartis is a strong organization, but we operate in a dynamic, and often challenging, healthcare environment,” said Julie Masow, a spokesperson for Novartis.

“To continue to most effectively address the needs of patients and health care providers, we must be proactive and take steps as necessary to position the organization for long-term success,” Masow said. “These are difficult decisions that sometimes lead to reductions in force.”

While the slow shrinkage of big pharma certainly isn’t drastic, headcount growth is lagging behind the rapid acceleration of industry jobs at big biotech firms and specialty drug makers. In comparison, headcount more than doubled over the last decade at companies worth more than $30 billion, but who are not traditionally considered big pharma.

Some of those gains were the result of acquisitions, such as Valeant, but groups like Novo Nordisk , Gilead Sciences and Regeneron have seen their staff double, triple, or even quadruple based primarily on organic growth, according to the report.

“Large drug makers like Gilead are now not only outperforming big pharma, but are out hiring it. And with the focus still on cost-cutting in big pharma, if you want a long-term career in the industry, you might be better off with a smaller player,” said Lisa Urquhart, editor of EP Vantage.

According to EP Vantage, the top 10 employers outside of big pharma are quickly growing their employee base and are poised to become even larger industry players in the near future. Here’s a closer look:

10. Gilead Sciences
This research-based biotechnology company based in Foster City, Calif. had about 6,100 employees at the end of 2013. Gilead’s portfolio of products and pipeline of investigational drugs includes treatments for HIV/AIDS, liver diseases, cancer and inflammation, and respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. See Gilead Jobs.

9. Biogen Idec
Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the global biotechnology company had 6,850 employees at year-end of 2013. Biogen Idec is focused on developing medicines that change the lives of people living with neurodegenerative diseases, hematologic conditions and autoimmune disorders.

8. CSL
Positioned as a global leader in the plasma protein biotherapeutics industry, CSL had 11,285 employees at the end of 2013. Their life-saving biotherapies are indicated for the treatment of conditions such as hemophilia and von Willebrand disease, immune deficiencies and genetic emphysema.

7. Allergan
Based in Irvine, Calif., this smaller pharmaceutical company has about 11,400 employees. Allergan has flagship franchises in eye care, neurosciences, medical dermatology and urologics.

6. Valeant
This company, based in Montreal, Canada, had roughly 17,200 employees at year-end of 2013. Valeant, specializing in dermatology and eye health, has a diverse product portfolio that includes branded pharmaceuticals, branded generics and over-the-counter products.

5. Actavis
This unique specialty pharmaceutical company had about 19,200 employees at year-end of 2013. Actavis is focused on addressing the needs of patients suffering from diseases principally in the central nervous system, gastroenterology, women’s health, urology, cardiovascular, respiratory and anti-infective therapeutic categories.

4. Amgen
Independent biotechnology company Amgen had roughly 20,000 employees at year-end of 2013. The company focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes. See Amgen Jobs.

3. Novo Nordisk
This global healthcare company is a leader in diabetes care. Headquartered in Demark, Novo Nordisk employs roughly approximately 40,700 employees in 75 countries. See Novo Nordisk Jobs.

2. Teva
A global leader in generic pharmaceuticals, Teva had about 45,000 employees at year-end of 2013. The company’s vision is “to be the most indispensable medicines company for the world.”

Top 10 Fastest Growing Employers Outside Of Big Pharma 1. Baxter
“Through acquisitions and investments in R&D and manufacturing capacity, Baxter’s employee base has grown in recent years,” said Deborah Spak, spokesperson for Baxter. Headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, the company reached approximately 61,500 employees globally this year, with roughly 22,000 of those employees located in the United States. Recent company milestones include the company’s 2013 acquisition of Gambro, a privately held global medical technology company and leader in dialysis products, and the construction of a new biopharmaceutical processing facility in Covington, Ga. In March 2014, Baxter announced plans to separate into two independent healthcare companies—one focused on developing and marketing innovative biopharmaceuticals and the other on life-saving medical products. See Baxter Jobs.

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