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Pharmaceutical Industry Job Trends

February 15

It's a good news bad news kind of scenario. Although the pharmaceutical industry has eliminated 34,987 positions so far this year (second only to the government in total number of layoffs in 2010), there are signs of slowing job cuts. In June, pharma companies laid off only 830 people, compared with 6,943 job losses in May. Moreover, the May 2010 layoff total is 16,875 jobs lower than this time last year, when the industry had already cut 51,034 positions. And, pharma announced hiring plans totaling 1,230 in the last month.

In the overall job market, the pace of downsizing was virtually unchanged in May. "Announced job cuts have, for all intents and purposes, returned to pre-recession levels," according to John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Where are the jobs for pharma and biotech talent? Geographically, the demand for pharma and biotech skills can be seen most strongly in the Philly/NJ/NY corridor, Research Triangle Park, San Diego and Southern California, the Bay area/Northern California, and Boston. And, changes in the way large pharmaceutical companies do business are changing where the jobs are within the biopharma industry. More large pharmaceutical companies have entered licensing partnerships with smaller biotech companies in order to cut back on their own drug discovery efforts. The smaller firms handle the discovery and big pharma handles testing and marketing the product. This is likely to continue as these partnerships ensure that large pharma saves money in the long-term.

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