While big biopharma has cut tens of thousands of jobs across research and administrative operations since the 2007-09 recession, the embrace of new therapies by corporate giants has begun to generate some new hiring, according to a global executive search firm.
Biopharmas and other “life sciences” companies posted a combined more than 20,000 positions during the first quarter, for the first time since 2010, ZRG Partners stated in its Global Life Sciences Hiring Index for the first quarter of this year.
ZRG’s index tracks some 30 established companies, including nine biopharmas: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, and Sanofi. The other companies are either outsourcing service providers such as CROs, or makers of “medical devices”—a category that includes developers of tools and diagnostics.
Pharma job postings rose 6.4% in Q1 2015 compared with Q4 2014, the slowest of the three categories tracked. Outsourcing services activity climbed 9.6%, and medical devices zoomed 33.5%. Year-over-year, however, pharma postings dipped 6% from a record-level 2014, but outsourcing soared 23% and medical devices jumped 38%.
Where the life-sci job gain can really be seen, ZRG said, is in research and development: “Given the high-profile headlines of R&D restructurings and layoffs, it may be surprising to note that hiring activity for R&D exploded in Q1 with an increase of 62% versus Q4 and a 55% YOY [year-over-year] gain,” ZRG observed.
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