Help Wanted: Big Pharma

IN SUMMARY: Pharma has the help wanted sign out but very few people are biting because working in pharma often means back-to-back meetings, matrix decision making, and regulatory people who are inflexible.

Amgen is looking for a Director of Marketing for Enbrel. This is a company who terminates people at will and who will tell you during orientation that they are a “right to work” company which means they can fire you if you fart on campus.

All over LinkedIn pharma companies are looking for talent but millennials are avoiding pharma in droves. They are not fools and have read what it’s like to work at most pharma companies with back-to-back meetings and endless PowerPoint presentations.

I have written many times how the pharma organization is in dire need of an overhaul, yet most companies are getting bigger with layers and layers of management that don’t add value to patients or shareholders.

I work, now, with a lot of small biotech startups and their biggest fear is that big pharma is going to come calling. One company, based in Cambridge, lost 90% of their people when they were acquired last year and it was their own choice. Most were offered very lucrative packages to stay buy as one executive told me “stay for what? Endless meetings and micromanagement?”

Lately, pharma has been bringing in senior people to help with their digital marketing but as one senior person recently told me “I made a huge mistake coming into pharma. In CPG things were easier to get done and everyone understood the why and the how. Here I have to bring everyone up to speed ans still I get questioned too much”.

As pharma gets bigger its biggest challenge won’t be pricing. It’s going to be transforming the organization into a group that can rapidly respond to changing market conditions.

Right now, unless;ess your desperate, stay away from a career in pharma.