Buckle-Up Biopharma - BioPharm International's third annual salary survey finds out if the turbulent economic climate is taking its toll on the biopharmaceutical sector. - BioPharm International


Buckle-Up Biopharma
BioPharm International's third annual salary survey finds out if the turbulent economic climate is taking its toll on the biopharmaceutical sector.

BioPharm International
Volume 22, Issue 1

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."

Figure 6
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."

Figure 7
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."


Is Biotech a Mans World?
"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 employees."

Chitra Sethi is the managing editor of BioPharm International, 732.346.3059,

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