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Pharma sector has incrementally shown positive trends for experienced job seekers: Anil Kumar

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Saturday, January 13, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Pharma sector has incrementally shown positive trends for experienced job seekers as well as freshers. The sector in India has been a stable sector for hiring for a long time now. The 2018 opens with a similar promise, said Anil Kumar ET, co-founder, Xpheno.

Indian pharma with a market size of US$ 20 billion remains a sunshine sector. The continued focus on R&D and strengthening of sales channels would mean good times for hiring in 2018 too.

The sector has never churned up large hiring numbers like IT or Banking sector. Pharma companies focused on the domestic market have a different outlook to hiring compared to Indian MNCs which are focused on international markets. Nevertheless, both sectors have a reasonably positive outlook, he added.

The global MNCs are at a stability phase in India and their hiring is more on replacement and incremental expansion. But some of the large Fortune 500 MNCs have set up their own captive centres where they continue to expand and add new jobs in R&D or CRO in significant numbers.

Novartis, Paraxel in Hyderabad, Quintiles, Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly in Bengaluru are few examples of how companies can benefit from pharma talent available in India for their global operations. More MNC companies are likely to follow this route. Pharma companies like Astra Zeneca and few more setting up their IT centres in India will continue to happen, except that has not  added pharma jobs, Kumar told Pharmabiz in an email.

Indian MNCs need to be agile to every profitable drug going off-patent in the years ahead. This means having a high capacity R&D to innovate to get to ANDA stage. Addition of R&D and regulatory capacity will see new incremental jobs in 2018.The top five Indian pharma companies spent nearly $1.2 billion on R&D in FY 2017. This is a six-fold increase from seven years ago. Much of it gets invested in talent capacity building.

It would also lead to more roles in manufacturing and production especially in generics space. Business analytics, marketing & communication would continue to be few roles in demand at Indian pharma MNCs. With focus on quality and due to the US FDA regulations,  QA, QC & Regulatory affairs roles will see a continuous demand, he said.

Large players like Biocon, Cipla, Glenmark are also building on their capabilities in the Biosimilars space. R&D and regulatory roles continue to be in demand for these kinds of organisations.

Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) will only see incremental hiring. Here the hiring will be more deliberate.  Some of the roles would be in Clinical Research like regulatory affairs,  pharmacokinetics, pharmacovigilance, life cycle management (LCM),

Due to the headcount budgets and cycles of hiring, pharma companies typically give increments in the range of 25% - 40% for people switching jobs between January to April. The same hikes are in the range of 15% - 30% post May.

So, professionals, planning to switch jobs, will know when is the good time! Internal hikes would be around 11% on an average across levels and companies. The attrition in sales roles, entry level QA/QC roles will continue to be high in the range of 16% - 22%. Overall as an industry it would be around 18%, stated Kumar.


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