According to PWC “51% of top executives report that hiring has become more difficult than before. HR must be more tightly integrated to R&D organizational decision making and a strategic function in all cases.” Make no mistake about it this is a problem made worse by big pharma business model of massive layoffs and closed loop hiring. Anyone, whether in R&D or marketing, would have to have a screw loose to want a career within pharma.
How many really good R&D and marketing people have been shown the door at pharma and biotech companies ? The answer is a hell of a lot. I knew say this talent problem coming many years ago and have been writing about it for a long while but what is really frustrating is that this is a problem created by an industry that doesn’t really value people.
Those of us who worked in pharma know that when the product we are working on comes off patent we are asked to “find new jobs” within the company. If you were a great leader and did good things the chances are that’s not enough to ensure you stay within the company. Hell, in Pfizer’s case they even let go one of the R&D people that helped develop Lipitor !
Random layoffs have become common place within pharma and in some companies you can be called into a room a let go without rhyme or reason. This all but ensures that talented marketers and R&D people are going to look elsewhere for employment where they don’t live in constant fear that they could loose their livelihood at any moment.
Any company is only as good as it’s people and if pharma is ever going to make the transition to an innovative organization focused on good patient product they are going to have to treat their people a hell of a lot better. Until that time arrives many talented people are going to say “no thanks” when a pharma HR person calls about open positions.