Digital vacancies on the rise but Big Pharma still dominating force

Our latest industry analytics report features analysis on the digital sector within the life sciences industry.

Clinical Professionals Divisional Manager (Commercial), Thomas Hancox comments on the findings:

“The landscape of digital is changing across the world and it is well known amongst the industry’s top professionals that pharma has lacked the freedom within the digital space when compared to its consumer siblings. However, that has produced an acceptance of the notion that more can be done and that the ‘innovative’ aspect of the science that drives the industry does not always translate into the engagement piece with the end targets.

Although with the rise of digital sales and creation of app or ‘online community’ based involvement, companies are able to navigate much closer to the HCP’s and engage with patients better than ever before; even if that means skilfully navigating through the regulations and red tape that gives the consumer health markets the upper hand.

As the requirement for technology and digital services increases, so do the channels in which the sector market through and the engagement of those targeted; this has in turn driven structural changes across various organisations and allowed for new career paths & skill sets.

When our commercial desk was first set up back in 2013, it was likely to be the brand teams who were responsible for the digital aspects within brand plans and were often expected to have the relevant multi -channel attributes. Nowadays though – whilst the brand team maintains ownership over the plans – there is a requirement for far more specific excellence teams specialising in multi -channel, commercial, launch, digital (etc.) which oft en takes responsibility for individual aspects of the multi -channel or patient/digital engagement strategies. You’ll see from the data below that the fi rst half of 2020 saw digital marketing vacancies increase by over 26% against the same period last year.

Although there is a long way to go still, digital capabilities in the pharmaceutical and biotech world have evolved year on year and many of the larger players are far more open to considering digital specialists from outside of the industry. For instance, GSK and J&J saw digital vacancies grow 66% & 99% respectively, and it’s digital marketing where we often see much more interest in candidates from non-healthcare innovative markets such as Fintech for example, which adds a different perspective.

As a result, it will come as no surprise to many that digital roles are increasing year on year or that pharma is still dominating; contributing a whopping 83% of digital roles in 2019. Although sizeable, that figure has still lost 5.4% Vs 2018 to the ever-growing biotech industry, as the general landscape of drugs seems to be moving more toward your specialist, niche products biotech’s are so often behind. Niche products – particularly those aimed at orphan diseases – can often heavily rely on HCP engagement/education at an earlier stage in the build up to launch, this means a growth in the use of specific platforms and the multi -channel specialists to manage those.

It is of little surprise therefore that the CRO industry has seen no change, holding its place with just over 3% of digital vacancies two years running. In future, they could well be the first to properly get to grips with the benefits of A.I, but in the digital world where pharma and biotech are taking more of a patient-centric approach, it appears as if they will only continue to drive further investment here.”

If you would like to view the full report and other industry analytics reports we have available please visit here

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