Express Pharma

‘Pharma to create approximately 45,000 jobs in 2015’

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With a double digit growth to boot for, the pharma industry is slated to see a far greater chunk of employees as opposed to 2014. Shalini Gupta finds out the trends and forecast for hiring and employment for the next year from Kamal Karanth, Managing Director, Kelly Services, India and Malaysia

How many new jobs are projected to be created in the pharma industry in 2015 via-a-vis other sectors?

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Kamal Karanth

Pharma industry will be one of the primary drivers of hiring as compared to other sectors. The sector is expected to create approximately 45, 000 jobs in 2015, with a 7.2 per cent increase in hiring as compared to 2014.

Which sectors would have more demand of labour? Do you see any different profiles coming up? What will be the most coveted job profiles in 2015? Which companies will hire for what kind of vacancies?

With the large number of innovation centres being opened up across cities in India, there is a huge demand of R&D professionals. Some of the other job profiles in demand will be: manufacturing, quality and regulatory affairs. An interesting profile that will sprout will be PHDs and Post Docs returning from the US, especially from universities specialising in organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, pharmaceutical technology and life sciences. In 2015, companies will concentrate on niche and specialised hiring. This is mainly towards optimising operations by hiring the best in industry and academia.

Is the industry still struggling with a skill gap?

Pharma and life sciences will face a dearth of skilled talent due to which there will a visible gap in supply of workforce. The gap is much larger and visible for mid-level lateral hiring in the areas of pharma R&D, regulatory affairs, quality, intellectual property and other specialised areas within the pharma domain like biosimilars, the US market focused businesses and Process R&D.

Why hasn’t it been bridged till now? Have companies upped their training programs? Or are they recruiting from specific colleges and institutes?

Companies are now more focused towards niche hiring and are looking at a specific skill set. In pharma the skill requirements is very specific. There has also been a growing emphasis on bridging talent gap by mentoring programmes, which have allowed young talent to get skills at the earliest on a graduate, post graduate level. Many companies are now coming up with similar interesting programmes. This initiative will help to catalyse the skill gap to closure.

What strategies are companies employing to tap talent- both online and offline?

Today, most of the workforce are socially active and are present on various online platforms. Due to the vast information being readily available on the Internet, finding jobs via social media has bridged the gap between recruiters and potential employees to reach each other with minimum time lag. This further helps the recruiter or company to find the right talent that matches the job requirement/ skill set.

Has lateral recruitment picked up? Do you see attrition rising? Or has it been contained?

Lateral hiring is significant in the mid-level within the pharma sector. Within the pharma space the rate of attrition is very low and the employee retention is good. Companies are now adopting talent supply chain management which is more holistic approach to manage talent. Additionally, it is also very important to have talent engagement strategies in play in order to retain talent.

Any other upcoming trends in particular that you foresee?

Companies are bracing themselves by building a strong talent pipeline and succession planning initiatives are on at large in firms to maximise and leverage on opportunities in the US. Increased scrutiny by US FDA has made a lot of companies re-look at their talent development and acquisition programmes. In 2015, we will see online talent pool being built up more proactively. Also, employers across sectors including pharma will concentrate on attracting talent by employer branding as well as using channels like social media and other marketing tools to reach out and tap relevant candidates.

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