Are Pharma Manufacturing Workers Burned Out or Bouncing Back in 2012?

Every year we at Pharmaceutical Manufacturing conduct a Job Satisfaction and Salary Survey. This year marks our eighth year, and we would love your input if you’re employed in the pharma/biopharma industry. It’s important to note that this survey isn’t just about quantitative data. We are truly interested in gathering and knowing qualitatitive information about your work lives and careers—the “Job Satisfaction” aspect of the survey.

Last year, after we assessed our data, it appeared that the morale of pharma's workers, collectively, was at an all-time low. Just under 70% of you were concerned about job security, a percentage that has crept up every year we’ve done our survey. And nearly 60% of you noted that you had experienced an increased workload due to staff cuts over previous years. Reflecting the bleakness of our results, we titled last year’s cover story article, “On the Brink of Burnout.”

Most industry experts felt like things had bottomed out in 2011. Massive cuts (in manufacturing, R&D, sales, and so on) had already occurred, and it didn’t seem possible that the bloodbath could continue. In the wake of more major layoffs announced in the past few weeks, it appears that optimism may have been premature.

Indeed, our early results from this year’s survey (which we’ll keep open for another 10 days) indicate that the all-time low may have gotten lower. It’s unofficial, but our numbers so far show that over 70% of you are now concerned about job security, and the “workload” issue is still taking its toll.

What’s more, whereas last year “external economic pressures” were weighing on you and your companies, this year the more significant concern seems to be “internal cost-cutting measures.”

Again, these are early returns. Here’s hoping the pendulum swings back soon in favor of jobs, job security, and worker satisfaction. Please let us know what you think. We’ll share data and analysis in March, in print and online.

--Paul Thomas (@PaulThomasPharm)