Science magazine recently released its survey designed to identify the 20 companies with the best reputations in the biopharm industry along with characteristics that define their status as employers. Although Science named several big pharma companies on its 2011 list of the best biopharm employers, only one was named in the top 10.
Respondents named mergers and acquisitions as the key events that had the greatest effect on the industry over the past year along with layoffs and site closures due to the soft economy. Yet in reality many of the top companies experienced few effects from the global economy problems and maintain that R&D activities were not impacted. Some actually added employees and brought new products to market.
The driving characteristics for the survey respondents were innovation and research, social responsibility, treat employees with respect, and inspire their loyalty. This year, the #5 criteria—“has a top leadership that successfully makes changes needed to keep the organization moving in the right direction”—replaced 2010’s “has a clear vision of where the organization is headed.”
Among scientists, innovation is the most highly valued characteristic when selecting an employer. When asked to describe “what makes the best company, the best,” survey respondents specifically mentioned “supports a culture of innovation,” “employee-driven curiosity,” and “innovative ideas of everyone are considered.” Companies that reduce bureaucracy are more able to allow and value risk-taking and creativity within its scientific community – this type of environment is less likely to exist within the largest companies.
The survey respondents were 57% male, 40% female and 3% no response; 64% had more than 10 years experience with 42% having earned a doctorate; 53% work in biotech, 43% in pharma, 7% university and 6% other. Geographically, 80% were in North America, 12% Europe, 6% Asia/Pacific, 2% other.