Reader responses to BioPharm International's annual employment survey suggest that the mergers and acquisitions that dominated the news a few years ago are slowing. However, bio/pharmaceutical companies still face pressure to run leaner businesses and to see a better return on investment from their R&D divisions. Development of large-molecule therapeutics is an area of intense interest for large pharma and small biotech companies, but biologics are expensive to develop, which affects companies' bottom lines. In addition, bio/pharmaceutical companies face pricing pressure from cost-conscious payers and from developing countries determined to hold the line on drug prices. The industry continues to adapt to this challenging business environment, and these challenges cannot help but affect pharma employees.
When readers were asked how secure they felt in their positions, fewer than last year said they felt less secure—33%, compared with 38% in 2011. While this seems encouraging, readers did not say they felt more secure. Instead, the largest group of respondents (49%) said they felt about the same as last year. It seems, then, that pharma employees are becoming accustomed to the new, more fluid business environment. Is insecurity becoming the new normal? Perhaps, but most readers felt confident they would be able to find a new job if they had to, and readers continue to derive satisfaction from the intellectual stimulation and challenging projects associated with their jobs. The following pages highlight key results from the survey.