Pharmaceutical Commercial Analytics 2021 Predictions & 2020 Review

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The pharmaceutical industry began 2020, just like 2019 and 2018, being very cautious as to how President Trump and his agenda were going to affect the commercial pharmaceutical industry. Then the pandemic hit and every pharmaceutical company closed their offices to employees, implemented a work from home model and encouraged their sales reps to be creative in order to meet and sell to the HCP’s. The pharmaceutical industry, as well as most other industries, needed to adapt their business to Covid-19 times and commercial analytics 2021 had to adapt as well.

Commercial analytics quarter 3 hiring was very slow but Q4 hiring definitely picked up as commercial analytics 2021 budgets became available. Salaries have started to increase slightly depending on the geographic area of the opening. Commercial analytic professionals are still in high demand depending on people’s willingness to relocate and technical and therapeutic expertise.  Each of these criteria determine the talent pool availability and how companies and candidates will fare in filling and finding new jobs.

Commercial Analytics 2021 Salaries

(Very similar to 2020.)

  • Senior Analyst  $90,000 to $100,000
  • Manager  $110,000 to $155,000
  • Senior Manager  $140,000 to $165,000
  • Associate Director   $160,000 to $175,000
  • Director   $175,000 to $225,000
  • Senior Director    $215,000 to $260,000

2020 Review

  • Pharma companies took about six months, March through September, to figure out how to move forward while still in a pandemic.
  • There were few ‘add to staff’ roles in the first part of 2020; however, fourth quarter has seen an uptick in ‘add to staff’ roles and a willingness to back fill roles that are being serviced currently by contractors.
  • Growth areas were in the data science, forecasting and brand analytic areas within commercial analytics.
  • The use of “Big Data” analytics continued to grow in pharma and both pharma and biotech start-ups realized it’s value. Big data drove decision making from clinical phase II, phase III, brand and sales teams. Advanced analytics continues to monitor the data and then recommend what to do from the analysis.
  • The pandemic has increased the ongoing education of the consumer/end-user to be more aware of drugs that are in the market place. The marketing shift  to educate the consumer along with the HCP is continuing.

Eda Zullo’s Performance on her 2020 Predictions


2020 Prediction:   Scientific innovation is driving the industry. Pharmaceutical companies need to be ready to go with commercialization strategy .

Result:  Absolutely!  The pandemic made this prediction even more important. Pharma companies jumped right in when Covid hit by developing a new vaccine and utilizing existing therapies to manage the disease progression. New diagnostics have come to market as well.

2020 Prediction:  New job opportunities will be strong again as we start this decade; however, matching job requirements to the viable candidate’s skills will be more than ever a MUST!

Result:  Only true in the second half of the year. The job opportunities in third and fourth quarter held their own with several add to staff new roles opened. Hiring managers are still seeking the ‘A’ level candidate and not looking to compromise.

2020 Prediction:  Data science and machine learning have arrived in the commercial analytics area. This specialization will continue to be a COE supporting the brand and sales teams.

Result:  Yes!  This is very true!!

2020 Prediction:  Digital Analytics will become a stronger function in the commercial area. A strong expertise will be needed to reach the end user.

Result:  Making progress.  Ability to track the end user is on everyone’s mind and has become an educational priority within analytics groups, but not quite there yet.

Commercial Analytics 2021 Predictions

  • As in 2019 and 2020 the pharmaceutical industry will be driven by scientific innovation. The pharma companies will need to be prepared for commercialization strategy of their products especially since many launches were delayed because of the pandemic.
  • Now more than ever DATA is the name if the game. Data integration and effectively understanding the data will determine the marketing spend and the success of the launch. It will also guide the targeting for existing patients, HCPs, and others.
  • Job opportunities for commercial analytic professionals in data science, machine learning and AI will be in the forefront supporting the marketing, brand and sales teams.
  • Patients/consumers are more educated on their disease thereby increasing the need for innovation and transformation by every pharmaceutical company.

Do you agree with my predictions?  Give me a call to discuss your take on what will happen in commercial analytics in 2021 or to talk about your hiring needs or career.  Smith Hanley Associates‘ Executive Recruiter in Pharmaceutical Commercial Analytics, Eda Zullo at ezullo@smithhanley.com.

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