Male scientist working at the laboratory

Reduced IT Hiring in Pharmaceuticals Isn’t a Big Deal


IT hiring throughout the global pharmaceutical sector fell some 6.7% in April 2022, according to data posted by the Clinical Trials Arena website. Overall, pharma hiring was down 5.2% from the previous month. Though this might sound alarming, it is no big deal. At least not yet.

Historical trends show that IT hiring ebbs and flows. IT tends to be a very stable field without a ton of churn. That being the case, we should expect to see increased hiring at times when pharmaceutical companies are growing. In the absence of growth there isn’t a need for more IT workers.

We also need to consider the effect the COVID pandemic had on hiring. IT was critical during the first 12 months or so, when companies were actively ramping up their technological capabilities. With most of the world now caught up, IT demand seems to be slowing down. It is a normal correction to a market that was unusually robust not too long ago.

IT and Pharmaceuticals

The IT industry is one of the broadest around. IT spans nearly every industry specifically because it is industry agnostic. For example, industries of all types operate on computer networks. An IT specialist who deploys networks will do the same thing regardless of whether they work for a pharmaceutical company or a logistics provider. Networks are networks.

In pharmaceuticals, IT specialists do the same things they do for other industries:

Maintain networks

Manage hardware and software

Deploy and maintain cloud environments

Build and maintain websites

Provide help desk services.

Really, the only aspect of IT that differs in the pharmaceutical industry is the arena of informatics. If you find pharmaceutical IT informatics positions listed on the Pharma Diversity website, those jobs deal with digital information unique to the industry itself. Pharmaceutical informatics differ from general healthcare informatics. They differ from the informatics of most other industries simply because the data in question is different.

Education and Training

Landing an IT position in the pharmaceutical industry requires comprehensive education and training in IT itself. Candidates do not need specialized training in pharmaceuticals. However, it is not unheard of for employers to put their IT workers through internal training pertaining to basic pharma knowledge and skills.

For all intents and purposes, you can get an IT job in big pharma if you know the IT business. They can teach you what little you need to know about pharmaceuticals. They cannot teach you how to deploy a network or maintain network security. You bring that to the table when you are hired.

Not a Bad Sign

Getting back to the main subject of this post – reduced IT hiring in pharmaceuticals – it doesn’t appear to be a bad sign signaling impending doom. Not only does IT hiring ebb and flow, so does hiring in pharmaceuticals. A temporary reduction in hiring is just that: temporary.

The reality of the modern world is that healthcare continues to be one of the fastest growing industries across the globe. As long as that growth continues, pharmaceuticals will continue to grow right alongside it. Both industries have an advantage in the fact that healthcare will always be necessary for as long as people roam the Earth.

It might not be ideal that IT hiring has fallen within the pharmaceutical industry so far this year. But it’s not a big deal in terms of being a harbinger of the future. Big pharma will continue to thrive as long as healthcare remains in demand. And as long as big pharma continues, they will need an army of IT workers to keep things running.

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