Pharmaceutical Sales Recruitment Hiring Trends 2022

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With another year consumed by the worst global pandemic since the Spanish Flu of 1918 the biopharma industry has been at the forefront more now than ever. Covid-19 vaccine approvals are still emerging and other Covid therapies are expected to be approved in 2022. Hiring trends 2022 in biopharma are positive and sales recruitment 2022 outlook should be a good year for anyone seeking a career in the industry.

Top 5 Trends for 2021

Coronavirus Vaccine Development

The urgency for the development of coronavirus vaccines and therapies encouraged more collaboration between organizations. The sharing of research and development findings to tackle the worldwide pandemic as effectively and efficiently as possible led to joint ventures and alliances between organizations creating more value for the organizations involved.

COVID-19 has also been a transformational moment for the pharmaceutical industry. It has forced companies to re-examine, at multiple levels, the way they do business. Many of these changes may ultimately prove difficult to reverse. At the same time, the world desperately needs effective COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. That puts this  industry, long regarded with suspicion by much of the general public, in a unique position to lead by example.

Remote Based Sales Reps during Pandemic

Among the many shifts brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic is the changed relationship between pharma sales reps and physicians. Maybe a good change? A new Accenture study has actually found plenty of pandemic positives for pharma reps. Docs didn’t have time to learn about a drug before the pandemic but they do now. More than half surveyed, 55%, said they have more time to learn about new therapies, and 53% said they are interested in doing so. Healthcare providers also want to know more about pharma support services through reps. Doctors said more than before they want digital patient education (69%), education on remote patient care (67%), specific information on conditions relative to COVID-19 (65%) and information to help patients access labs, tests and imaging (65%).

Increased Prescription Drug Costs

According to the AARP Public Policy Institute“from 2006 through 2020, retail prices for 65 chronic-use, brand name drugs rose cumulatively by an average of 276.8%. That was significantly higher than the cumulative general inflation rate of 32% during that time period.” Healthcare firm GoodRx reported that, during January 2021, the prices of 832 drugs rose by an average of 4.5%. (Pharmaceutical companies usually increase prices in July and January.) The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has projected that from 2024 to 2028 prescription drug spending will increase by an average of 5.9%, primarily because of increases in drug prices and in the use of drugs.

Employee benefits consulting firm JP Griffin Group cites specialty drugs as a significant driver of increases in drug prices. The number of specialty drugs and their use are both rising, and the prices for specialty drugs are increasing more rapidly than for non-specialty drugs.

Digital Transformation of the Industry

The digital transformation of the industry is something that continues year after year, with technological innovations impacting drug development and the supply chain. In 2021 companies made digital investments https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/life-sciences/pharmaceutical-industry-trends.html to help them gather data and insights to execute business strategies. Digital insights helped organizations improve patient access and support, provide value for sponsors, shorten the length of the production process, and distribute products to market more efficiently.

Access and Affordability

The rising cost of healthcare is being met by increasing demands for new evidence and definitions of positive health outcomes. As PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC commented in their report: “The growing conflict between drug access and affordability will create fresh pressure for data that show these expensive medications work better than others and are worth the premium.”

Communicating new evidence about drug value to key stakeholders – insurers, physicians and patients – require additional skills and techniques. Account managers, sales reps and patient engagement specialists in 2021 needed to collaborate with quantitative analysts or bio-informaticists to tailor new drug information for each different audience.

Top 5 Trends for 2022

Hiring Trends 2022

Technology and pharmaceutical companies intend to raise pay 3.1% — the biggest boost among 1,220 companies surveyed — while those in oil and gas, and leisure and hospitality — some of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic — are budgeting salary increases of 2.4%. One of the biggest hiring trends 2022 – ninety-seven percent of companies plan to boost salaries in 2022, a significant increase from the 92% of companies surveyed in 2020 that intended to raise employee pay in 2021.

Covid-19 Continuation

In its annual report, health care services company Vizient predicts a 3.1% increase in total pharmaceutical spending in 2022. Oncology drugs will account for about 25% of the increase, with continued spending on pharmacotherapy related to COVID-19. The sustained impact of COVID-19 on health care is due to the continuing emergence of disease variants coupled with vaccine hesitancy.

Use of Artificial Intelligence

The growing use of artificial intelligence is an important trend in the pharmaceutical industry. According to PharmaExec.com, the industry can use artificial intelligence to create new approaches for marketing that will attract customers, improve drug trials, manage large amounts of data rapidly, replace old manufacturing processes that relied on humans with automated processes and strengthen quality control processes. Research firm Markets and Markets projects that the size of the global artificial intelligence healthcare market will grow from $4.9 billion in 2020 to $45.2 billion by 2026, and the primary drivers of that growth will be pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies increase in the use of artificial intelligence for COVID-19 vaccine or drug development

Expanding Biosimilar Markets Due to Biologic Patent Expirations

As the pharmaceutical regulatory agencies grapple with legal safety and procedural standards for biosimilars, and the public clamors for lower drug costs and more access to pharmaceuticals, manufacturing must adapt to new markets. They expect biosimilar drug markets to increase around the world. Latin American countries is an area to watch as these countries have their own research and development for producing and commercializing patent expired biologic drugs.

Discounts and Rebates

Periodically, the pricing of medications will hit the news circuit, especially when there is outrage about the high price of life-saving drugs. In an ongoing desire to reduce the cost of medications, there are governmental agencies, such as Health and Human Services, that will increase the offering of discounts and rebates. While there have been efforts in the past using approaches that are market-focused, these efforts are expected to expand. One thing that will continue in 2022 is the examination of drug prices and continued scrutiny to identify impropriety.

We would be happy to discuss any of these hiring trends 2022 or your needs for 2022 further. As always, Smith Hanley Associates is happy to be your recruiting resource for Commercial and Clinical opportunities in healthcare.

Nancy Ragonese, Practice Lead, Pharmaceutical Commercial Sales, nragonese@smithhanley.com, 203-525-3815


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