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Nandita Vijayasimha, Bengaluru May 16 , 2024
The Indian pharmaceutical industry is offering lucrative job avenues even as economic uncertainties result in global pharma layoffs. These openings in India are particularly in roles related to drug development, manufacturing, quality control, and sales & marketing.

According to Prakash HS, senior vice president, pharma & life sciences, WalkWater Talent Advisors, economic uncertainties, market shifts and internal restructuring have resulted in pharma layoffs. But the pharmaceutical sector in India continues to offer opportunities for employment, particularly in roles related to drug development, manufacturing, quality control, and sales & marketing.

The global pharma & biotech industry is witnessing substantial layoffs in early 2024. These layoffs are happening in both large and midsize companies which have the majority of their revenues in North America. At the same, we are seeing that this sector is attracting significant funding in recent times, he added.

The reasons for these layoffs vary from company to company. For example, Pfizer laid off a part of both R&D and sales teams due to their Covid vaccine business declining globally. But Organon, a pharma major, is laying off part of its employees due to economic conditions, market shifts and internal restructuring. On the other hand, Bristol-Myers Squibb has announced that it plans to cut $1.5 billion in expenses by the end of 2025 & thus laying off more than 2,200 employees, Prakash told Pharmabiz.

The impact of these layoffs are across levels and in multiple functions. This includes R&D, sales, operations etc. Globally, in the pharma and biotech sector, demand for skilled professionals remains high. This is especially in R&D, manufacturing, marketing, regulatory etc. Though there are layoffs in some of these organizations, there are other pharmaceutical companies which are actively recruiting talent globally, noted Prakash.

When these pharma and biotech multinational companies layoff their employees globally, the company’s Indian arms may also have limited impact, he said

Few Indian subsidiaries of the multinational companies take cautious measures. But some MNCs who have their capability centers and innovation centers in the country are expanding and are also migrating some of the global roles to these centers. For instance, Novartis Healthcare at Hyderabad, has plans to expand its operations in multiple function despite layoffs in other parts of the world, he said.

Moreover, India’s pharma sector has a significant presence globally, both as a manufacturing hub and as a source of skilled talent in areas such as R&D, clinical trials, and regulatory affairs. Therefore, we see a positive outlook in the pharma and biotech sector. Also, India is a rapidly growing healthcare market. With continued investments and favourable regulatory environment, we forecast that hiring trends will continue to be bullish in the Indian pharma and biotech markets, said Prakash.

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