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Performance review

You don't get to be the best at something by sitting still and waiting for life to find you. Our latest industry career survey shines the light on marketers' lot and their aspirations

Welcome to the Pharmaceutical Marketing magazine 2006-2007 industry career survey report. This is where you, as somebody the fruits of whose labours are likely to fall under the banner of `marketing pharmaceutical products and brands', can find out how your pay, package, work-life balance and corporate culture stacks up against the industry standards.

Pharmaceutical Marketing Ltd teamed up with market research group, ICM Research, late last year in order to conduct an independent analysis of the ethos, including the provision of perks, benefits and bonuses, made by pharmaceutical and healthcare companies for their employees.

Should the New Year have inspired you to achieve a promotion, chase down an overdue salary review or simply motivated you to take clear stock of your situation, all of the information required for you to check up on your condition and compare it with everyone elses' in the industry is contained in our report, starting here:

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Salaries, Bonuses & Benefits
In many sectors, marketing - as many who are marketers admit - is a comparatively well paid job. Pharmaceutical marketers, according to the 2006 figures, earn on average £48,400 each year as a basic salary. This figure is presented as a median, rather than a mean, average in order to diminish the skewing effects of the very top- and bottom-most salaries across the range. You wouldn't include Richard Branson's take home pay when trying to analyse the average across the Virgin companies, and so in the same vain the figures given here are accurate and useful representations of pharma marketers' earning power.

A good marketer can command an excellent pay and benefits package from a successful pharmaceutical company, which is due in part to the way in which the work lends itself to the skills sets of different people. Young workers are attracted to marketing as an exciting and creative career option which will in time furnish them with experience of both strategic and tactical thinking, campaign design and later may involve international travel and cooperation. In return, good people will provide workable ideas and an unstinting commitment to their job.

Seasoned marketers, able to create a springboard from which their brands can go on to pervade the medical and public microcosms where appropriate, are worth their weight in gold to a pharma company.

To provide that, specifically, as a thank you might be a tall order, though according to the survey some 85 per cent of respondents reported receiving a sizeable bonus on top of their relatively bountiful salaries. Men are slightly more (87 per cent) likely to receive a bonus than women (81 per cent), though most marketers pay in a cheque to the bank at the end of the year for 11-15 per cent of their annual salary. Another group, almost as large as this 11-15 per cent group, manages to put itself in line for a 16-20 per cent bonus, while 6 per cent of respondents gather in a 21-26+ per cent sum. The median bonus payment is 12.3 per cent (approximately £5,950 pre-tax).

Bonus size typically increases in line with seniority, with directors reporting that their bonuses (19 per cent) were twice the level received by executives (9.5 per cent).

Male/female & benefits
Current reports of marketing in general, including FMCG and other non-pharma sectors, are that the pay gap between men and women is widening. Our survey of pharma marketers revealed that women are paid a median average of £10,800 less per year than their male counterparts; however, this may be explained in part by the fact that more men (20 per cent) than women (9 per cent) in the survey operate on a directorial level.

Of 130 respondents with salaries in excess of £70k, three out of four are male. Just 23 respondents earn in excess of £100k, of which 19 (or 83 per cent) are male. Yet, men and women have different desires for, as well as access to, other benefits.

Some 40 per cent of the male respondents are most concerned with securing a useful contributory pension (versus just 28 per cent of women), and for 21 per cent of the chaps a non-contributory scheme is their most highly valued benefit (versus only 11 per cent of women). In general, women report a greater preference for private healthcare (18 per cent versus 12 per cent of men) and flexible working arrangements (double the number of females versus males).

Wish lists
The top three benefits for pharmaceutical marketers overall, according to the survey results, are (in the order of most valued first): a contributory company pension scheme; a non-contributory pension scheme; and private healthcare. Outside of these, mortgage assistance (only 2 per cent receive this now) and a share option scheme are the most desired perks.

Currently, 74 and 30 per cent of respondents, respectively, are in a contributory and non-contributory company pension scheme, while private healthcare is provided for 86 per cent of workers. Just under half have access to a share option scheme.

A company créche is available for only two in 100 people, while just four in 100 can be loaned a season ticket. Unsurprisingly these days, the vast majority of pharma marketing personnel are equipped with laptops, company credit cards and life assurance benefits, while less than half are given a mobile phone, secretarial support or PDA/other Blackberry-type technology.

Nearly 10 per cent of workers would like to have the option of taking a sabbatical, a perk that remains unavailable to nearly 90 per cent of marketers; where sabbaticals can be taken, they are offered to more women (14 per cent) than men (9 per cent). Generally, nearly three in four people working in marketing expect to receive a pay rise in 2007 of between 2 and 5 per cent (a median average of £968 and £2,470).

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Company Cars
When it comes to the choice of chariot people choose to get to and from work, and make other business trips in, the German marques continue to reign in the popularity stakes.

Of the 46 per cent of respondents who receive a company car for their job - of which 61 per cent are men and 39 per cent are women - two models in particular stand head and shoulders above the rest. The Audi A4 is top dog overall, while the BMW 320 is but a radiator grille behind. Notably, more than two and a half times more men than women choose to drive the Audi, whereas the BMW group is split precisely 50/50 between the sexes.

There is then a significant drop, in popularity terms, from these two models down to a group of three, seemingly fairly equally desirable cars: an Audi A3, Jaguar X-type and a Saab. The choice of vehicles made available to company car drivers is limited, for nearly half of respondents, to a list provided by their company. Of the other 50 or so per cent, half get to pick whatever they want as long as the price falls within a specified budget, while the remainder can choose any car, but if they want to turn up on Monday in the new Aston Martin Vantage they are required to make up the difference from their own pocket.

According to the survey, the number of respondents driving Aston Martins or Ferraris is still zero, though sporty Audi TTs and chunky BMW X5s are used by the relative few whose salaries may reach or exceed £60k and £80k, respectively.

In general, pharma marketers stick to these German lieblings, including also Mercedes and Volkswagon (almost twice as many women than men prefer the omnipresent Golf), with only Vauxhall, Jag and Saab making a significant appearance on behalf of any other nations; no sign of a French, Italian, Spanish, or any other non-German marque within the top 15 choices for marketers' company cars, the survey showed.

New cars
Some people (22 per cent) reported that they are able to renew their company car every two years, though most company car drivers see a new set of wheels arrive every three to three-and-a-half years. We also asked people whether they plan to choose the same car as their current model when the time comes to renew. On this basis, the seemingly esteemed Jaguar X-type, which currently is the joint fourth most popular model overall, falls a long way down to number 16 on the wish list, with just 1 per cent of drivers seeking to plant themselves into its sumptuous leather in the future.

Of the top five 'cars I would choose to have next', four are BMWs (positions two to five), though the 3-series has been replaced as overall runner-up by the larger 5-series version. Whatever Audi is doing, pharma marketers seem to jolly well like it as these cars not only sit proud on the top spot of the current 'what I drive' list but continue to hold their reign in the 'what I want to drive' list.

An interesting difference in preference between those respondents who get a company car and those who do not, but do have car-related benefits at their disposal (for 97 per cent of people this is an average of £5,900 added to their annual salary), is that for the latter group Mercedes is both their current second favourite marque, as well as the second most likely selection they would make at renewal time. By contrast, for those who receive a company car rather than the extra money to spend on one, Mercs rank only sixth in the current standings and fall down to eighth position in the preference at renewal time.

A sizeable proportion of all respondents cited that they 'don't know' what they desire to drive next; perhaps either they don't mind, as long as it's smart and German, or they're awaiting the verdicts of colleagues and professional automotive reviews before making a decision.

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Culture of work
Are you working too hard, or not hard enough? Are you doing enough hours? Are you being seen to take enough work home with you in the evening? How much would it help your career if you worked one weekend a month? What about making sure you take enough holiday? Do you consider a need to think about all this?

If you can imagine a room with 10 pharmaceutical marketing people standing in it, according to our survey one of them takes work home every single night and often at the weekend; two of them often work through the evenings and another five do it sometimes. The couple of people left over never work late (in general, most people leave work between, on average, 5pm and 6pm). Only one in 10 remains in the office beyond 7pm.

Of the same group of 10 people, two of them spend a part of their weekend in the office reasonably frequently, but, doubtless unsurprisingly, nobody reported themselves as keen/daft enough to spend time at work every single weekend.

Fly away
A significant proportion of respondents spend time away from home on business during a typical month, with nearly 40 per cent staying away for 1-2 nights on average, while 30 per cent frequently pack a larger bag for 3-5 nights. Only 16 per cent of workers reported needing their full-sized suit case on a regular basis, spending more than one week away from home in any typical month.

Men are generally more likely than women to be away from home for business purposes and it is more probable that they will travel by air when they do so. Respondents (both sexes) jump on a plane an average of eight times a year, however senior employees have much greater need to fly than their junior colleagues. Directors take to the skies around 11 times a year, group managers do it 10 times and department heads manage nine flights on average in every 12 months. More than half have a preferred carrier, with many people (42 per cent) choosing to fly the flag by using British Airways (BA) every time they can.

Indeed, the overall preference for BA outstrips that for its nearest competitor by more than two and half times. Other airlines of choice include Virgin (16 per cent of flyers), BMI (3 per cent) and KLM (1 per cent).

When most people (more than three-quarters) are required to stow luggage safely in the overhead lockers and ensure that all seatbacks are upright, more often than not it means they're borne for Europe in order to conduct some pharma/healthcare business. Less than half (48 per cent) travel on long-haul flights for work these days, yet more than half (59 per cent) of respondents do buzz about on domestic flights.

Time on/off
Time away from the office for pleasure rather than business seems to be in plentiful enough supply for nearly three-quarters of people. On average, respondents receive 26.5 days of paid free time per year, of which they manage to take 93 per cent during the year.

Less than one in 10 (8 per cent of the entire sample) reported taking fewer days' break than the statutory minimum (20) during 2006. One in three people take an average of 20-24 days off in a year, while most (52 per cent) are successful in avoiding the office for 25-29 days. A well-rested group of 35 people revealed that in the past year they managed to be on holiday for 30 days or more. Just 46 people from the entire survey sample have a holiday allowance in excess of a whole calendar month.

Overall, pharmaceutical marketing staff, of which 94 per cent are employed full-time, typically work a 9.4 hour day, which is a 47-hour week, one hour under the 48-hour limit set by the Working Time Directive. However, working hours are in excess of this limit for 43 per cent of respondents; 6 per cent of people work 12-13 hours each day, they revealed in the survey.

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Loyalty and aspirations
The survey indicates that marketers are, on the whole, quite loyal to their employers - on average men have worked at the same firm for nearly seven years, while women tend to be steadfast for around six years - though ambition means that nearly half of all respondents (44 per cent) expect to change allegiance within five years in order to get where they want to go.

Unsurprisingly, older people are more likely than younger people to stay put; for example, those aged 45-49 have worked in the same post since 2002, and the 50+ workers have been steadfast for nearly five and a half years. By contrast, those aged 29 and under have only spent an average of 1.6 years in their current position.Accordingly, younger workers keep their CVs more up-to-date, though 61 per cent of respondents overall have updated their resum? within the last 12 months.

Two in 10 respondents experienced redundancy in 2006, while four in 10 were required to continue working while a merger and/or acquisition deal executed around them.

Worldly wise
With globalisation driving contiguity in nearly all parts of the pharmaceutical industry's operation, it may come as no surprise to read that marketers perceive international issues to be of increasing significance, with more than eight out of 10 respondents expressing the opinion that it is essential or important to gain experience of one or more European markets and processes.

Senior employees, in particular directors (91 per cent), department heads (88 per cent) and group/senior managers (83 per cent), believe that gaining European and/or other international experience is key.

Currently almost half (48 per cent) of all respondents have no international work experience at all, though 61 per cent of this group, which comprises chiefly people at the more junior ranks, expect to get this experience in the next five years.

Nearly 85 per cent of directors already have experience of working abroad, as do 60 per cent of department heads and more than half of all group/senior managers.

Nigel Brooksby, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, told Pharmaceutical Marketing in an exclusive interview: It's always interesting to find out how different things are in different parts of the world and I think a good marketer is someone who takes on board different and better ways of doing things. That global dimension can help good marketers become great marketers.

One of the first steps for marketers to take towards, literally, broadening their horizons is to make sure that they are well informed, au fait with current global debates and challenges, and have a very clear idea of the UK's prospect as one in an ever `closer' circle of European pharma markets. PML's international title for marketers, Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe magazine (see www.pmlive.com/europe for more information), was cited as one of several key sources of information on European issues.

Trade press overall was the third most popular choice (51 per cent), after the internet and in-house expertise, made by respondents seeking to keep up-to-date on international marketing discussions.

Gaining a functional understanding of European marketing challenges, such as working within different Codes of Practice, as well as being able to learn about and handle unfamiliar etiquette, culture and business practices, is high on the agenda for respondents. It is regarded as a key element in professional development, which is salient when it is considered that nearly six in every 10 currently expect to remain in the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry for the entirety of their careers.

One-third of respondents do not hold this level of surety in the future direction of their career, while less than 10 per cent of respondents do not plan to spend the rest of their working lives in pharma and associated healthcare industries.

Every other person in the sector has a career plan for the next five years, but only 10 per cent have planned 10 years ahead. Notably, nearly 40 per cent of respondents across all job sectors in marketing said they had no definite career plan, while only one third said they were intending to gain further qualifications.

Ultimately, most people hope to retire between 60 and 64 years of age, while 28 per cent are expecting to leave work for good by the age of 59. Only 3 per cent are anticipating working into their 70s, while there are 10 people in the survey who expect to be in a position to retire before they reach the grand old age of 45.

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Qualifications and career prospects
The typical respondent to the Pharmaceutical Marketing industry career survey is a 34-year old, degree-educated marketing manager who works at a pharmaceutical company with 500+ employees. There is also strong representation of employees working specifically in product/brand teams, medical, sales, PR/comms, business intelligence/marketing research, plus other commercial business units.

Less than 10 per cent (combined) of the respondents are currently working in one of training, NHS liaisons, procurement/finance and personnel/HR. The sample is split roughly equally between male/female, of which 64 per cent have been educated to degree level and 17 per cent have a Diploma in marketing. Approximately 10 per cent of respondents hold a Masters degree, an MBA or a PhD, while other, much less common, qualifications include a Batchelor of Medicine/Batchelor of Surgery (2 per cent), Higher National Diploma (1 per cent), Registered General Nurse (1 per cent), Bachelor of Laws (1 per cent), Bachelor of Pharmacy (1 per cent) and Doctor of Medicine (1 per cent).

Only 3 per cent of respondents hold no formal qualifications in 'further education' and 89 per cent are currently doing nothing to further their qualifications.

One of pharma's prime challenges in the current environment is the recruitment and retention of the capable marketing people required to form robust teams that are creative, effective and the benefits of whose work have longevity and are quantifiable financially. There are clearly many talented employees working in pharma's marketing rooms, though the perceived paucity of competent people across the industry is also clear, with solutions to this HR problem being called for frequently. Many suggest that pharma should look at hiring talented workers in healthcare publishing and FMCG marketing.

23rd January 2007

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