Pharma adapting to 'Covid-normal'

According to health sector recruitment specialist HPG, the pharma industry has so far weathered the fallout from COVID-19 well. There have been no pandemic related redundancies though "head count freezes" in some roles are have been put in place by companies due to future uncertainty.

"Pharma companies know their existing resources are limited so they are adapting roles to suit the new 'Covid-normal' environment and deploying where necessary," HPG associate director Adrian McConchie said.

"Pharma tends to be quite conservative, so most companies are taking a measured approach to any major changes in terms of job responsibilities. The major changes have been about ways of working - such as flexibility and work-from-home."

Unsurprisingly some jobs linked directly to COVID-19 - such as pathology, diagnostics and development of treatments and vaccines - have benefited but experts warn these job opportunities may be short term.

Other roles also in greater demand include: corporate affairs, internal communications, senior roles in market access/health economics, contract MSLs, procurement and customer service.

"Companies that have solid pipelines and upcoming launches are continuing to hire and those that are in decline are most impacted, which is pretty standard, " McConchie said.

According to HPG, roles within pharma have become more fluid as companies wait and watch for any further impacts of the pandemic on the industry.

"Roles across the board are being put on hold due to uncertainties ahead," HPG associate director Angela Barclay said.

"MSLs have been unable to travel and roles have become multi-faceted where individuals have been repurposed as opposed to hiring new staff."

Flexibility and being open to learning new skills are key attributes employees must harness in order to Covid-proof their job.

"Work hard and be agile," HPG associate director Laura Longstaff advised.

"Many roles are seeing employees take on duties that previously would not have been considered as part of their remit."

Christine Spiteri

Pharma In Focus