Bader, who has worked for three large pharmaceutical and three small biotech companies, says the insecurity at small companies
is balanced by a greater sense of personal control. "In a small biotech, the security equation is rather simple. You look
at how much cash the company has, what the burn rate is, and you can calculate how many months it can survive before the next
financing period," he says. "The small biotechs carry more risk, but you feel more empowered as you understand the risks and
how you can affect them."
So are biotech professionals still confident enough to risk job changes in this turbulent economic climate? The majority of
respondents (60%) said they are not likely to leave their jobs in the next 12 months, compared to 40% who said they are likely
to leave their jobs. As shown in Figure 6, for those who expect to change jobs, the most common reasons would be a job offer
with better salary (29%), a job offer with more satisfying work (16%), or a geographic move to a more desirable location or
for family reasons (10%). About a quarter (27%) cited involuntary reasons.
From the recruitment point of view, Ferguson, the recruiter, thinks biopharma remains a good career choice. "Typically, the
life sciences industry has been a little more recession-proof than other industries. I think it is going to continue to be
a very strong industry," he says. "As far as anyone coming out of college, I would certainly recommend it for a career as
the demand is still there," he adds.
Levine echoes Ferguson's words. "The industry has been through lots of ups and downs, but overall it is a strong industry
with a lot of prospects, he says. "For somebody who is interested in medicine and biology, it is certainly a career I would
encourage them to pursue."
Overall, a career in the biopharmaceutical industry is satisfying for most of our survey respondents (Figure 7). The vast
majority (89%) of our respondents are satisfied with their jobs, with more than half of those (47% of the total respondents)
describing themselves as "extremely satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their jobs. "I still get up in the morning and feel
energized and great about my job," said one project manager. Krause agrees. "There is a lot of good science being done in
this industry," he says. "I would suggest a career in this industry," he says. "It is rewarding and exciting."
WHAT LIES AHEAD?
"With over 30 years in healthcare, one learns that the industry and economy naturally cycle between expansion and contraction,"
says Bader. "We all generally feel rather secure during expansion and insecure during contraction. I doubt that this will
ever change." Thus, Bader believes leading companies will continue to focus on recruiting a talented and diverse workforce
and recognize the need to create growth opportunities, excitement, and recognition in the workplace. "These trends have steadily
increased over the past three decades and will likely continue in the future, leading to more empowered and highly skilled
Is Biotech a Mans World?
Chitra Sethi is the managing editor of BioPharm International, 732.346.3059, firstname.lastname@example.org