Fired by Big Tech? Big Pharma wants you

From the beginning of 2022 The technology industry has been disrupted More than 78,000 employees, according to the tracker Dismissal.fiSharply declining rankings by startups and big tech firms (including Snap, Tesla, Coinbase, TikTok, and Twitter). While many of the affected workers have moved on or taken jobs with competitors, there are signs that a growing number of Big Tech experts are finding greener pastures in a previously unexpected place: Big Pharma. There they are, recruiters and industry analysts say, demand for tech talent is on the rise, with data science and machine learning skills high on employers’ wish lists.

with the first set Medicines designed by AI As they move into clinical trials, drugmakers are doubling down on their investments in that area — and waging a war for talent. As recently as July, nearly 43 percent of pharmaceutical companies were hiring for at least one AI position, according to Business Intelligence. GlobalData. Some companies were hiring heavily. Between July 2021 and July 2022, Johnson & Johnson posted about 2,500 AI-related job openings. AstraZeneca, over 1,000 AI jobs; And Takeda, Novartis and Pfizer have each sought to fill 600-plus AI roles. According to GlobalData Analytics, AI jobs will account for 7% of new job postings at pharma companies in July 2022, compared to 2% a year ago.

“The demand for AI and data science has increased over the last three to five years,” says Alec Rahman-Jones, director of recruiting at Phaidon International New York City. “We’re starting to see a lot of mergers and a lot of technology talent, especially for R&D and clinical-level work, and also on the business side of things, as companies. [increasingly] Conceptualizing information as a salable product.

Amy Flynn, national life sciences leader at Grant Thorne – an accounting and consulting firm that works with most pharmaceutical and medical device companies – sees two major trends that require more diverse expertise within these companies. The first step is the sheer volume of data you expect to make sense of. Clinical trials have always generated a lot of data, but now there is a growing body of “real-world evidence” being collected from patients taking already approved drugs. New Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines They say it could be used by companies to speed up approval of new uses for the drugs. “It drives the need for different kinds of analysis, different ways of thinking and using data,” says Flynn. Second, she says, “there’s more technology transfer” to the products themselves. “Compared to historical research and development, you need people with different experiences and backgrounds,” Flynn said. “Many of the organizations we work with have been trying to outsource for a number of years, particularly high-level IT types. [the industry] or from small biotechs”.

Eric Celidonio, founder and managing partner at Boston-area recruiting firm, also sees Big Pharma companies and biotechs pushing for automation. “Every company is looking for new robotics platforms,” ​​Celidonio says. About 20% of the jobs we fill now are in informatics, data science, or robotics, which are specific to some science field. As much drug development is done computationally, traditional “wet lab” skills are no longer required. “Five chemists can be replaced by half a chemist and a data team,” he says. “The ratio of technological works [in pharma] It’s only going up.”

People jumping from tech to pharma may experience a bit of culture shock. A highly regulated industry can be frustratingly slow for people used to moving fast and breaking things. “The culture is still the culture, and it’s not that easy to go somewhere else and do it,” Flynn said. While there is good pay in both industries, Big Tech is still more flexible with things like remote work, says Rahman-Jones: “We have to clarify.” [to pharma companies] They need to be more flexible to get the technology skills they need. And some are now more open to coworking or serving free lunches.

But for many, the work is more meaningful. “Helping a new treatment move from Phase 2 to Phase 3 is very different from selling apps,” Rahman-Jones said. “We’re seeing people who five years ago took their data modeling skills to Facebook or banking now go to biopharma companies.” And, right now, if you’re a qualified candidate, he says, “it’s an absolute seller’s market.”

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