Flocking To The Life Sciences

Hiring the best talent has become crucial in the healthcare sector today, and cross talent hiring is emerging as a new trend in this sector. An amalgamation of talent from diversified sectors brings a good ideation mix and facilitates a change in the functioning and thinking process of all teams. This is a trend sweeping the pharmaceutical industry, which is hungry for talent from other sectors as it attempts to fast-track growth in an increasingly competitive market.

 

A regulated industry

 

While skill sets are transferable in support functions like HR, Finance, and IT, owing to the highly regulated nature of the pharmaceutical industry, this is not the case in the Engineering and Manufacturing functions. Challenge – and the scope for innovation - is precisely the reason for companies exploring fresh talent and professionals looking forward to trying out new ideas.

 

Pharmaceutical companies, often subjected to periodic price cuts for some of their big prescription brands, have also been keen on expanding their OTC brands like FMCG brands, allowing in-store displays and media advertising. A host of factors thus work in tandem, accelerating the growth of pharmaceutical and medical devices industries, where the need for talent is high. These include raising awareness and health literacy, advances in medical technology, and improved penetration of health insurance, among others.

 

In the face of fierce competition

 

Generic me-too brands constitute almost 95 percent of the domestic market, resulting in fierce competition. With hundreds of brands for each antibiotic and other medicines, standing out in the cluttered market with differentiation is very challenging.  Marketing professionals who can think out of the box and design innovative campaigns in the highly regulated environment are in huge demand. Multinational companies are exporting Indian talent to other countries in Asia, Africa and even South America where they are proving their mettle.

 

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is growing at approximately 10 percent per annum, which is higher than the growth rate in most other markets. India is referred to as the “pharmacy of the world” because we supply more than 20 percent (by volume) of the world’s generic pharmaceuticals. It will be a much lower figure in value terms because our lower prices, enabled by lower costs, is India’s key competitive advantage.

 

The advent of new generation devices

 

Medical devices and the diagnostic market in India are growing at a brisk pace of 13 to 15 percent. New generation devices come with artificial intelligence and complement the role of pharmaceuticals by enabling faster and better outcomes, such as shorter hospital stay.

 

The boom in healthcare has led to the development of newer digital apps that facilitate booking doctor appointments, online doctor consultations, ordering medicines, and scheduling diagnostic tests. Web-streaming companies are now enabling multi-city interactive medical seminars. Telemedicine is helping patients in rural areas consult doctors in cities. Professional networking sites are helping registered doctors to connect, learn best practices, and upgrade their knowledge. In other words, the digital explosion is helping doctors and patients alike.

 

A lot has been said about India’s demographic dividend, but India’s aging population is also growing. The share of the aging population is expected to touch 6 percent by 2021, according to a report. That will translate to a greater demand for better health care facilities, medicines, and diagnostics. Further, about 80 percent of Indians living in Tier II and Tier III cities and towns do not have access to modern medicines or healthcare facilities. All these factors point to rising demand for talented and ambitious professionals in the life sciences industry. And, unlike in the past, it welcomes talent from all industries.

 

Nupur Mehta is an Associate Director with Michael Page, leading the Healthcare and Life Sciences recruitment practice. She was previously awarded an internship with Mercer Consulting which provided the exposure to stakeholder management at various levels and quality client engagement. She was previously a manager at Michael Page India in 2017. Nupur started her career in recruitment after completing her MBA in Human Resources.

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