Employment Outlook: Mixed Results

Published on: 
BioPharm International, BioPharm International-12-01-2013, Volume 26, Issue 12

The employment picture brightened a bit, but biopharma employees still seek better compensation.

A gradual economic recovery, the continued consolidation of bio/pharmaceutical companies, and an improving investment market for biopharmaceutical companies are reflected in the muted optimism expressed by respondents to BioPharm International’s annual employment survey (1).

The respondents—scientists, technicians, and professionals—represent a cross section of biopharmaceutical development professionals from around the world. Overall, responses from professionals in the biopharmaceutical market segment paralleled responses from peers in the pharmaceutical industry who answered a similar survey conducted by Pharmaceutical Technology(2), a sister publication of BioPharm International.


In the past two years, have you been through a merger, acquisition, downsizing, or restructuring?










The impact of mergers, acquisitions, and organizations downsizing or restructuring appears to have stabilized. Less than half of the respondents said their organizations had a major change of this type during the past year, about the same percentage reported in 2012. About 34% of the biopharmaceutical industry respondents said they felt less secure about their positions compared to the previous year; 18% felt more secure.


Does your salary reflect a change over last year’s salary?






No change


Salary was a sticking point with many respondents. More than half (51.5%) reported an increase in salary in 2013; 40% reported no change. This number is lower than the broader pharmaceutical market, where more the 63% of the respondents reported a salary increase; 31% reported no change (2).

While 39% of the biopharmaceutical market segment said they were paid fairly, 37.5% said their compensation was at the lower range of market value; 22.8% said they were paid below market value.

Rate your satisfaction with your current salary (for your level of expertise and responsibility).

I am paid excessively


I am paid fairly


I am paid within market value, but at the low end of the range


I am paid below market value


However, respondents cited other factors as important to job satisfaction; for 41%, intellectual stimulation was “the main reason I come to work.” Challenging projects and good work/life balance were other important drivers for job satisfaction. Salary and work/life balance were the two most important reasons respondents would change jobs, followed by professional advancement and intellectual challenge. More than 42% said they would change jobs for a better salary alone; more than half were confident that they could find a job comparable to the one they currently hold. In comparison, only one-third of the respondents in the broader pharmaceutical market cited salary as a motivator for changing jobs.


Compared to 2012, more survey respondents reported an increase in workload in 2013. However, the additional workload levels remained below the high of 77.1% reported in 2011.


While they were optimistic about business prospects for their organizations and the overall biopharmaceutical industry, the levels of optimism were similar to 2012 predictions. More than 52% predict business prospects for their company will improve in 2014. Similarly, nearly 55% predict improved business prospects for the overall bio/pharmaceutical market in the short- and long-term.


1. 2013 BioPharm International Employment Survey.
2. 2013 Pharmaceutical Technology Employment Survey.

Note: Due to rounding, some percentages may not add up to 100%. Some  questions allowed multiple answers.