Downsizing Looming and Decline in Pharmaceutical Sales Rep Jobs for Class of 2005

Share Article

Hay Group predicts a shift in job opportunities for those pursuing careers in pharmaceutical sales. There will be greater demand for experienced sales staff in the biotech and specialty pharma sectors and declining opportunities for recent college graduates. “The days of armies of sales reps in the field driving revenues are over,” “It will no longer be about numbers and volume -- now the focus will shift to productivity and performance of the sales staff who remain.”

Hay Group, a global organizational and human resources consulting firm, predicts a shift in job opportunities for those pursuing careers in pharmaceutical sales. There will be greater demand for experienced sales staff in the biotech and specialty pharma sectors and declining opportunities for recent college graduates pursuing jobs as sales representatives at the major pharmaceutical companies.

While there has been nearly 300 percent growth in the pharmaceutical sales force in the last ten years, Hay Group sees a seismic shift as downsizing of sales staff begins and voluntary attrition declines.

“The days of armies of sales reps in the field driving revenues are over,” said Hay Group Vice President Bob Davenport. “It will no longer be about numbers and volume -- now the focus will shift to productivity and performance of the sales staff who remain.”

Experience Is Essential

According to the Hay Group Sales Force Effectiveness Study, those seeking new careers or a career path in pharmaceutical sales should consider the different – and higher-level - skills set and requirements for sales positions at the major pharmaceutical companies and those at biotech and specialty pharma companies. In general, companies are more often organizing their sales people by product or therapeutic class in order to better target their sales efforts. They are beginning to limit the number of reps who call on a specific physician for a specific disease state.

Recent college graduates have traditionally been able to start their careers with little or no sales experience. Pharmaceutical companies have always had the challenge of how to effectively train and develop sales personnel. With downsizing in the industry and more sales staff looking for jobs, previous pharmaceutical and specialty experience will be essential.

For example, biotech companies are more likely to be looking for sales professionals with education and studies in the life sciences and at least two years of sales or health care marketing experience. The compensation for biotech representatives can be more than one-third higher than the general primary care sales representative.

“Companies will soon have their pick of representatives from an oversupplied marketplace,” added Hay Group’s Davenport.

Retention Dilemma

The study found that companies will need to shift their approach from recruitment and hiring to developing programs that better recognize, reward, and retain their top performers. The best companies have already started to put in place career development and advancement programs for their sales people.

“The downsizing in the industry will have long-term consequences for pharmaceutical and biotech companies,” said Hay Group Vice President and Pharmaceutical Practice Leader, Ian Wilcox.

While the percentage of companies offering a “track” for career sales people (those not looking to become managers) has grown from 57 percent in 2003 to 74 percent in 2004, this will become even more important in the years ahead as competition for top-performing sales people becomes even more intense.

“It’s crucial that pharmaceutical companies are doing all they can to hire and retain the right people with the right competencies, skill sets, and experience and to make sure they are deployed in the most effective manner,” said Wilcox.

About Hay Group

Hay Group (http://www.haygroup.com) is a global organizational and human resources consulting firm that helps its clients -- Boards, CEOs, Executives, and HR Managers -- on virtually all aspects of their people-related business issues. Founded in 1943, Hay Group has over 2,200 employees working from 77 offices in 76 cities and 43 countries.

Our areas of expertise include:

-- Design and analysis of organizations and jobs;

-- Talent management through assessment, selection, and

development of executives, managers, and teams;

-- Compensation, benefits, and performance management;

-- Executive remuneration and corporate governance; and

-- Employee and customer attitude research.

Hay Group works with nearly three-quarters of FORTUNE’s top-50 Most Admired Companies, as well as many mid-sized and non-profit corporations, public institutions, and governments.

For more information, please contact:

Jeff Meyers, 215-861-2623 or Jeff_Meyers@haygroup.com

Susan Suss, 917-887-1119 or Susanjsuss@aol.com

Hay Group | The Wanamaker Building | 100 Penn Square East | Philadelphia, PA 19107 USA

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Dario Priolo
Visit website