The new Pharmaceuticals job profiles required by the market

Italy is the first pharmaceutical producer in the EU and the pharmaceutical industry represents a real strategic asset for the country’s economy. Compared to the EU partners, Italy is the first country for the production of medicines (31.2 billion) with the highest growth in exports (from 2007 to 2017 + 107% compared to + 74%) and investments in R&D (from 2012 + 22% vs 16%).

Pharmaceutical companies and their induced generate employment throughout the national territory and it is the sector with the highest growth from 2007 to 2020 and, in the last two years, it is the sector that most increased the employability (+4.5 % vs + 1.5% of the manufacturing average), hiring around 20 thousand new employees since 2014:

  • 66,500 employees (90% graduates and graduates), 42% women (29% in the rest of the industrial sector) and 66,000 others in related industries;
  • 6,400 R&D workers, 52% women;
  • € 31.2 billion in production, 79% destined for export (24.8 billion euros);
  • € 2.8 billion in investments, of which € 1.5 billion in R&D and € 1.3 billion in production;
  • 60% of foreign capital firms;
  • 40% of companies with Italian capital;

The numbers are expected to rise and by the end of 2021 drug companies are planning to hire 2,500 – 3,000 new professionals. It is also estimated that around half of the new entrants will face entirely new tasks. Therefore, the key word is “multidisciplinary”, that means that specific medical skills will be joined by new digital and technological skills, such as engineering, mathematics, computer science and the ability to work in a team. 

All of this, therefore, will require trained technical-specialist. By now 90 % of the pharmaceutical workers are already in possession of a high school degree or a diploma; and since 2014 about 20 thousand employees have been hired and the 81% of the growth in employed persons is for under 35 years old.

As pointed out by the president of Farmindustria, Massimo Scaccabarozzi., The pharmaceutical sector “is experiencing a profound change, with at least 100 new professional figures that will emerge in the next 10 years, some of which are not even identified yet”

The sector requires above all doctors, but there is also room for many scientific degrees (Biology, Chemistry and Pharmacy), humanities (Economics and Law) and, in particular, for engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists considered increasingly essential within the future professions in the pharmaceutical industry.

From this framework it is noticeable the need for more young graduates, undergraduates and postgraduates in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). It is precisely the effects of digitalization in the pharmaceutical industry that will create new job opportunities rather than replace them. “This will happen in particular in the areas dedicated to innovation – explained Scaccabarozzi – increasing the ability to produce and process data to make the research phases more efficient and improve the effectiveness of therapies in production, transforming the manufacturing and distribution processes, in accessing the market, changing ways of communicating with stakeholders and ways of monitoring results”.

The trend now is to evolve most of the existing job profiles by adding new skills: in R&D for example, the classic researcher, the laboratory technician, the data analyst, will update their skills, exploiting innovation and new technologies, such as artificial intelligence algorithms for the discovery of new drugs, virtual reality applications and devices for clinical trial set-ups, processing of large quantities of data from different sources, usage of simulation models for molecules development, blockchain applications and many more. This will suddenly create professional profiles such as Data Scientists and Machine Learning experts able to program specific algorithms, Cybersecurity and Blockchain experts or Digital Managers able to better manage the data of clinical trials.

Another example is the development of roles in the production and supply chain area, where new skills are required for all the roles, from the supply chain manager to the warehouse manager and these will concern the use of networks and sensors for the collection of production data, the use of new manufacturing machinery, analysis of complex data, the usage of software and machinery for augmented reality. In the production area, the development of new professionals will be remarkable, such as: digital performance managers, engineers capable of programming big data algorithms to analyze production flows in real time, telecommunication engineers, cybersecurity experts, cloud computing experts, engineers capable of programming process automation algorithms for industrial robots etc.

We also have the market access area and all its dynamics in which the classic roles of sales & account manager, marketing manager, channel manager etc. are accompanied by digital notions, giving life to profiles such as: therapeutic area manager, clinical project manager, data analyst, digital marketing manager, web community manager and network builder.

This is the right time to experiment, the world and technology are constantly evolving and so the labor market that constantly adapts itself to the needs of the society and economic, human, environmental and sustainable changes.Rome Business School offers different online courses that can improve your and specialize your skills, have a look at them on: