The pharmaceutical industry (pharma) is a major part of our economy and employs thousands of healthcare professional in various roles. Since many of our members are seeking new opportunities we asked Crecia Gulledge from SEMbio to share her insights about pharmaceutical industry job opportunities and any best practices.
What is the employment outlook in the pharmaceutical industry. Are employers expanding their work force?
As you probably could guess, it is a case by case basis. The clients we typically work with are smaller to mid-size pharma/biotech and we have definitely noticed a lot of expansion going on with those companies. We have noticed a trend of more HEOR Liaison positions coming available.
What are the major trends in pharmaceutical industry employment? Is there more outsourcing, use of temporary staff, consolidation
Our firm specializes in permanent placement for MSLs, but there is also a large market for contract employment within pharma. Usually companies who are just starting up or have products that are pending approval are the ones who choose to use contractors.
What types of degrees and training are in highest demand in the pharmaceutical industry?
For the MSL role, we typically see the requirement for a “D degree," and PhD, PharmD, or MD are the most common. There are companies out there that don’t require the “D degree," but more often than not that is what is requested from our clients. Nurse Practitioner (NP), Physician Assistant (PA), and Registered Nurse (RN) are others that are sometimes listed as well.
What advice can you provide to professionals that want to transition to pharma from clinical practice?
Polish your resume, highlight things from your experience that are essential functions to the role you’re trying to pursue. Use your professional network. If you’re specialized in a therapeutic area, pursue that area in industry. If you’re trying to get a foot in the door a company is more likely to take a chance on someone who has a specialty in an area the job is focused on. This way the company only has to train you on the function of the position, not the therapy AND the role. You have to demonstrate a value that you can bring to the team, and not be viewed as a project for a hiring manager.
Should professionals use a recruiter instead of applying through a company job board?
I come in contact with a lot of people who are ACTIVE job seekers. These candidates are on top of the job boards, and constantly applying for postings online. The biggest complaint I have from them is that they never hear anything back, no feedback or status on positions they submit themselves for. One advantage that our recruiting firm provides is the direct line with the company. We are able to keep a pulse on the position and the status of our candidates to keep them in the loop. It is our job to follow-up and provide feedback, whether good or bad news as soon as we receive it from our clients. Additionally, another service we provide is walking candidates through the interview process. We schedule interviews for you, provide insight on who you’ll be speaking with, review presentations, thank you notes, and even help with negotiation when candidates receive employment offers. We develop relationships with our candidates in order to provide topnotch confidential service as they seek new employment. We do not just submit candidates willy-nilly to see what might happen, we try to learn what interests and experience our candidates have and match them with opportunities as they come across. It’s about getting to know our candidates and clients and making great matches for what each side is looking for… You can’t get that service or insight from job boards.
What are the compensation trends for medical affairs professionals?
So many of the aspects are variable, I know that is an extremely vague answer, but it’s the truth. It can vary by company, therapeutic area, years of experience, territory, region, candidate’s salary history, and internal equity within a team. On average, if a candidate is employed and has an offer, a typical increase is anywhere from 3-8%. For entry level candidates, what we see is usually around the $100-$115K mark.
How useful is social media for recruitment. Any advice for professionals regarding use of social media?
Social media is a great tool to identify potential candidates. It is important for candidates to keep in mind if they are actively seeking to update profiles with new skills, and experience, and correct dates on employment history. They should also be sure to keep everything conservative and professional. Also, don’t embellish experience because you are likely to be called on it in an interview.
About the Author
Crecia Gulledge is a Certified Personnel Consultant and Recruiter with SEMbio. SEMbio is a recruiting firm that is specialized in Medical Affairs, especially Medical Science Liaison (MSL) roles. Connect with SEMbio on FaceBook or Linkedin or email Crecia at firstname.lastname@example.org.