The Employment Outlook Brightens - Readers react to the economic turmoil of the past year and look longingly forward to 2012. - BioPharm International


The Employment Outlook Brightens
Readers react to the economic turmoil of the past year and look longingly forward to 2012.

BioPharm International
Volume 24, Issue 12, pp. 22-33


Figure 2: Respondents indicate their level of salary satisfaction.
According to this year's responses, salary is surprisingly not a pillar of job satisfaction but is important. Only 34.6% of respondents feel they are paid fairly for their level of expertise, despite 58.6% of respondents receiving salary increases in 2011. Rather, the majority (44.3%) feel that they are paid at the low end of the scale but within market value or simply not paid the going rate (20.3%) (see Figure 2). Location also seems to have little part to play with salary satisfaction, with similar responses given across the world.

Figure 3: Resondents indicate the importance of different factors in job satisfaction (multiple responses were allowed).
When it comes to salary increases, Europe seems to have the least generous employers, with only 52.8% of respondents seeing an increase in 2011 and a relatively high 15.1% witnessing decreases in salary in 2011. Compared with North America's 59.6% increase and 8.8% decrease this past year, and in the rest of the world 64.7% indicating a salary increase, perhaps European companies are saving their increases for a rainy day.

Figure 4: Respondents indicate the factors that would entice them to leave their current position (multiple responses were allowed).
Although respondents may not get paid what they believe they deserve, they do feel respected and needed by their employers. Three quarters of respondents agree (either strongly or somewhat) that their work is fully valued by their employer (see Figure 1). This feeling is particularly strong in traditional bio/pharmaceutical companies (81.1%) compared with generic-drug firms (66.7%) and contract organizations (70.5%). Reversing the trend from last year, women feel slightly more valued than men (at 78.6 and 75.7%, respectively).

About the survey respondents
So, aside from feeling valued, what other factors help bio/pharmaceutical employees face the early alarm clock every morning? Overwhelmingly, "intellectual stimulation" is the number-one driver, with 63.8% of respondents considering it an important contributor and 28.6% indicating that it is a main source of satisfaction. In fact, this is the top answer regardless of location. The "chance to work on challenging projects" is a close second, with 64% citing it as an important factor, and 27% indicating that is their main reason for going to work. Improved work–life balance, job security, better salary, and benefits fill out the rest of the top of the list in descending order of importance (see Figure 3).

Figure 6: Respondents were asked what the effects of mergers, acquisitions, or restructuting have been in the work place.
One notable difference this year compared with 2010 is that similar results are produced irrespective of location, type of organization, and gender. This harmony is also the case when considering the factors that weigh in the decision to change jobs. Nearly 34% of all respondents say they would change jobs for an improved work–life balance alone; similarly, professional advancement (35.7%), salary (30.9%), job security (32.4%), and intellectual challenge (29.5%) are all strong deciding factors (see Figure 4). Changing tact slightly, when asked what sole factors would make one quit a job, 36.1% of respondents cite low pay. Discrimination also ranks high as a reason to leave a job (35.5%). However, the latter response may be hypothetical considering that 77.1% of respondents say they have not experienced discrimination in their current job. Surprisingly, 38.7% of all respondents say that restructuring or the threat of a restructure has no impact on feelings about work. Perhaps this is because, of the 57.7% of respondents who have been through a merger, acquisition, downsizing or restructuring, 44.9% saw no significant effect and 31.6% saw only a change in job responsibilities. Therefore, 23.8% left jobs voluntarily or otherwise (see Figure 6).


In conclusion, industry wants to be paid more in better jobs with more benefits, while enjoying a reduced workload and suffering from less stress—no real surprises there. Looking forward to 2012, a very positive 51.3% of respondents think that their company's business will improve in 2012 (only 17.9% expect a decline). As for the general outlook of the bio/pharmaceutical industry, once again, the results are positive with 70.1% predicting that business will improve. However, 24.1% believe growth will only occur overseas in 2012. Approximately 11.6% expect no significant change, leaving only 14.7% of respondents laying awake at night worrying about decline.

As bottles are uncorked and glasses raised on December 31, toasts should be made to a prosperous, healthy and bright 2012.

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