Competition for top pharma talent intensifies in Germany
Pharmaceutical companies based in Germany will be hoping to expand in the coming years, as the global economy continues to recover.
Germany plays a leading role in the international pharmaceutical industry and is home to some of the sector's most successful and profitable multinational businesses. The eurozone financial crisis had a significant impact on research and development (R&D) work, as governments and private organisations found it difficult to fund trials for new drugs and treatments.
Recent acquisitions and expansions have demonstrated that German pharmaceuticals are in a position to add new members to their teams in the coming months. Increased mobilisation and relaxed labour laws in a number of countries have made it easier for pharmaceutical professionals to find contracts in different parts of the world and German firms will be competing with businesses in other nations to secure the top talent.
Focusing on Bayer
Bayer AG is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and its Bayer HealthCare sub-group alone generates annual sales of €18.6 billion. Based in Leverkusen, the corporation has expanded into numerous other countries and now has a particularly strong presence in the US.
In January 2014, Bayer HealthCare announced plans to invest in its Animal Health business, which will see significant amounts of money poured into manufacturing facilities and new R&D drives. Bayer AG has also completed its biggest bond deal since 2006 this month, securing the company €2 billion.
A source who was close to the deal told Bloomberg the proceeds will be used for financing mergers and acquisitions. As the corporation expands, the need for talented and experienced pharmaceutical workers will increase. With such a strong presence in so many countries, Bayer AG is well placed to cope with any skills shortages that may emerge in this field.
What skills are pharmaceutical corporations looking for?
The pharmaceutical industry is becoming increasingly reliant on modern, cutting-edge technology and drug developers are looking for candidates who have demonstrated their ability to work with hi-tech equipment. There has been a lot of debate about skills gaps in the IT industry and this could have a knock-on effect for pharmaceutical businesses.
As Bayer AG has shown, companies are expected to invest more money into R&D in the coming years, which means scientists and researchers who have worked on major drug development projects in the past will be in high demand.
Speaking at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Chief Executive Officer of German firm Merck Karl-Ludwig Kley said that although the company has failed to deliver as many new products as it had hoped, it will continue to search for breakthroughs.
Bloomberg Businessweek quoted him as saying: "The pharma business is an integral part of our strategy going forward. We are working hard to get the early stages up to the pipeline, but the payback on these investments will not be in the next two years."
Drug approval rates are relatively low and the number of R&D campaigns that yield positive results is shrinking. The cost of researching and developing medicines has soared in recent years and pharmaceutical companies realise there is little margin for error. This means it is more important than ever that projects are led by highly-skilled, experienced pharmaceutical experts.
Recent upturns in economic activity appear to have given German pharmaceuticals the impetus to expand their operations. This point is reinforced by the high number of mergers and acquisitions that have either been completed, or are in the pipeline.
Although investment levels are expected to increase in the coming years, analysts believe any economic recovery - especially in the eurozone - will be slow and drawn out, so firms still need to be extra careful with their finances.
With R&D costs rising and success rates declining, pharmaceutical businesses know they cannot afford to make too many mistakes. Hiring talented project managers who have strong technical skills and a solid understanding of financial risk can help to ensure money is not being squandered.
Multinational corporations are already scouring the entire globe when searching for new employees and this is something that smaller German pharmaceutical businesses need to consider if they are to attract the most talented candidates.