Washington area experiencing pharmaceutical industry job growth

June 3, 2011

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION: Health and Science Career Advice

Despite profit shrinkage in the D.C.-area pharmaceutical industry due to major patent expirations, the metro area is actually producing more pharmaceutical jobs, according to Diana Fitting, Adecco Medical & Science senior vice president. “Through government jobs and a number of pharmaceutical organizations having a base in the area, the professionals in this sector are seeing job growth,” she said.

The broader area of healthcare has surfaced as the lead horse among industries vying for growth during the recent recession, and the expanding pharmaceutical sector is an indicator. Although there remains a need for more traditional pharmaceutical roles, such as chemists and research and development specialists, there is also a demand for pharmaceutical professionals with a synthesis of clinical, scientific and regulatory experience and a management and business background. “The pairing of these two skill areas is highly desirable,” Fitting said.

This growth is forecast to continue, based on Adecco’s business projections, Fitting said. “With the regulatory environment and the long-term financial need to bring new products to market through R&D investment combined with our aging nation, there will only be a greater need for professional talent in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Alan Edwards, science staffing product leader for Kelly’s Services, a scientific staffing firm, said that the area of science job growth in the D.C. metro area is expected to increase between 14 and 22 percent over the next decade. Specifically, the area of drug discovery and development is expanding, increasing its production of “orphan drugs,” which are aimed at specific patient populations.

Other areas such as QA/QC, clinical outsourcing and fluids specimen processing are seeing growth as well. With an aging population, there is an increased need for medical technologists to process such specimens. “It’s a very robust area to be in,” Edwards said.

n 2009, the BioMaryland 2020 plan marked the start of a 1.3 billion-dollar, ten-year plan to stimulate funding of pharmaceutical and bio-research efforts, according to Edwards, who said that Kelly Services currently supplies 10 percent of the scientists to bioscience companies in the metro area. “It ties into the overall trend nationally where there are simply not enough scientists to meet the demand.”

For recent graduates in the biosciences, the job opportunities are up 15 percent in the D.C. area. “It’s a very ripe market for people graduating today,” Edwards said. Another trend is employers hiring an increasingly contingent workforce because companies have more flexibility with such employees. “Employers don’t have to make their workforce a fixed asset.” “Millennial” candidates, as young, recent graduates are referred to, naturally possess progressive employment traits necessary to succeed in this more fluid job landscape.

With such a demand for bioscience and pharmaceutical science professionals, Edwards said, employers are strategically entering the secondary educational system to recruit students for their companies down the road to ensure a sufficient employee base to meet future bioscience market demand, which isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. The broader area of healthcare has surfaced as the lead horse among industries vying for growth during the recent recession, and the expanding pharmaceutical sector is an indicator. Although there remains a need for more traditional pharmaceutical roles, such as chemists and research and development specialists, there is also a demand for pharmaceutical professionals with a synthesis of clinical, scientific and regulatory experience and a management and business background. “The pairing of these two skill areas is highly desirable,” Fitting said.

This growth is forecast to continue, based on Adecco’s business projections, Fitting said. “With the regulatory environment and the long-term financial need to bring new products to market through R&D investment combined with our aging nation, there will only be a greater need for professional talent in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Alan Edwards, science staffing product leader for Kelly’s Services, a scientific staffing firm, said that the area of science job growth in the D.C. metro area is expected to increase between 14 and 22 percent over the next decade. Specifically, the area of drug discovery and development is expanding, increasing its production of “orphan drugs,” which are aimed at specific patient populations.

Other areas such as QA/QC, clinical outsourcing and fluids specimen processing are seeing growth as well. With an aging population, there is an increased need for medical technologists to process such specimens. “It’s a very robust area to be in,” Edwards said.

In 2009, the BioMaryland 2020 plan marked the start of a 1.3 billion-dollar, ten-year plan to stimulate funding of pharmaceutical and bio-research efforts, according to Edwards, who said that Kelly Services currently supplies 10 percent of the scientists to bioscience companies in the metro area. “It ties into the overall trend nationally where there are simply not enough scientists to meet the demand.”

For recent graduates in the biosciences, the job opportunities are up 15 percent in the D.C. area. “It’s a very ripe market for people graduating today,” Edwards said. Another trend is employers hiring an increasingly contingent workforce because companies have more flexibility with such employees. “Employers don’t have to make their workforce a fixed asset.” “Millennial” candidates, as young, recent graduates are referred to, naturally possess progressive employment traits necessary to succeed in this more fluid job landscape.

With such a demand for bioscience and pharmaceutical science professionals, Edwards said, employers are strategically entering the secondary educational system to recruit students for their companies down the road to ensure a sufficient employee base to meet future bioscience market demand, which isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.

This special advertising section was written by Jennifer Leeper, in conjunction with The Washington Post Custom Content department. The production of this supplement did not involve The Washington Post news or editorial staff.

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