It’s been an interesting year for scientists employed in the pharmaceutical industry. To date, we’ve experienced a year of mega-mergers with six of the top pharmaceutical players combining forces to become three major contenders.
What does this mean for the affected employees and managers alike? Well, believe it or not, it can lead to employment opportunities and personal successes that otherwise may not have been considered.
Ponder this. According to the Los Angeles Times, nearly 35,000 pharmaceutical positions may be eliminated in 20091 due to the industry’s “mega-mergers.”
Pharmaceutical employees, like many other employees, are knowledgeable, hard working and determined individuals. When a position is eliminated, it’s important to remember the old adage, “When one door closes, another one opens.” This is exactly what is happening in the pharmaceutical field.
In many instances, displaced pharmaceutical employees are starting their own companies, by utilizing their industry knowledge and experience. Many of these start-up companies are meeting niche market needs as the economy continues to shift and redefine business methods today.
Other employees are choosing to relocate to another area of the country to pursue an opportunity within the pharmaceutical—or related—industry. While this may be something that they would not have considered prior to having their current position eliminated, they may find that the new location, combined with a new employment opportunity, is a refreshing and challenging change.
While newspaper headlines continue to report significant job losses, there are some signals within the science industries that career opportunities for highly-skilled individuals exist. According to a recent report by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, private-sector pharmaceutical positions in the Silicon Valley areas of San Francisco and Santa Cruz increased by 32 percent from 2001 to 2008, while private scientific research positions also increased by 26 percent during the same time period.
Growth areas to watch include:
- Research and Development – Pharmaceutical companies are devoting more time and money to bringing new drugs to market in a more efficient manner
- Regulatory and Drug Safety – As more and more strict regulations are being put into place, experienced scientists are needed in the areas of regulatory affairs, quality control and validation
- Manufacturing – Including biopharmaceuticals, the development and manufacturing of biotech drugs
- Pharmacogenomics – Predicting how patients will respond to a specific drug based on their genetic make-up
- Positions that combine drugs and devices
Regardless of where they land, employees are learning to be more flexible as they work in a global environment. Positions today may include global travel, overnight emails and videoconferences with other team members.
Accepting culture change
While it’s true that mergers may lead to some job losses, mergers can also improve organizational culture. As merged organizations work to outperform competitors, managers and their employees have an opportunity to rise above their own expectations in order to not only maintain their current positions, but also help the merged organization prosper for years to come.
Preparing for new company culture
After a merger, your company’s culture may change entirely as the values and practices of the merged company’s employees may not match your company’s employees. Often times, a merger leads to a cultural shock as employees of each company are not prepared for a change in values and practices. In order to reduce shock levels during a merger, managers must understand the values and practices of the other company and the ways in which their company will be affected by the merger.
By being prepared, managers and their employees will be better able to accept the cultural change that can lead to higher employee morale and performance. Employees of both companies will be more equipped to adequately work together if there is an understanding of each company’s culture. Through open communication, employees will not only have a more positive understanding of their future with the organization, but they will also be able to work with new team members more efficiently.
Through effective communication and positive outlooks, managers can work with their team to not only “survive” a merger, but thrive during the change as well.