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Helping hand

Career development is secondary to helping those in need, says a survey conducted by

A desire to help others is the number one reason why employees are attracted to working in the UK pharmaceutical sector, according to research conducted by The survey of 1,000 healthcare workers revealed that 57 per cent joined the industry because they want to help people with medical needs. 'Being able to play a part in helping somebody to overcome illness is important to me. There is an immense satisfaction in knowing that my work is making a real difference to people's lives and I'm not sure how many other jobs there are out there where I could honestly feel this,' said one respondent.

Just 26 per cent said that career development was their reason for working in the pharma sector, while only 18 per cent cited workplace location. More than half of the respondents (51 per cent) claim that they have never considered leaving the industry - 32 per cent of these have worked in the sector for a decade or more. For 40 per cent of respondents their loyalty to the healthcare industry stems from the ongoing ability to help others, with 24 per cent of people stating that they stay because the career development opportunities. Salary and benefits packages were cited by 21 per cent and 13 per cent of respondents, respectively.

Given the percentage of pharma employees who have not considered leaving the industry and their reasons for working in healthcare in the first place, it is not surprising to note that nearly a third of respondents believe that pharma is unfairly treated and represented in the media. However, 59 per cent of those surveyed believe the answer to this problem is more open dialogue with the public would help improve pharma's image and possibly reduce the amount of the negative media coverage.

Eric Potts, director of eMedCareers said: 'Clearly, there are some very strong advocates of the sector among those already working within it. Their passion and loyalty are key selling points when looking to recruit and retain the talent needed to encourage growth and innovation in the sector. 'Regardless of whether the industry has an image problem, as these respondents suggest, a greater openness can only help to attract potential, high-calibre candidates from outside the industry. 'Although bound by rules and regulations, pharma companies can, and should, become more transparent and highlight the attractive opportunities that exist within the sector - including high pay scales, great career development and good company structures,' he concluded.

In brief More education
The number of graduates with a degree in marketing has more than doubled in the last six years, according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency. As a result, not only has the number of candidates looking for marketing positions increased, the standards have increased significantly in terms of the educational level of those entering the profession. The popularity of graduate marketing courses means that many people will have to complete a postgraduate course in order to differentiate themselves from other candidates. 'Because of rising standards, marketing is an increasingly difficult profession to break into and employers place a great deal of emphasis on relevant practical experience and knowledge,' said Geoff Hurst, marketing director at the Chartered Institute of Marketing. 'This means that those most likely to get the best jobs can no longer rely on just having a first degree in marketing, they also need professional qualifications and experience to make them stand out,' he added.

No sympathy
New research has revealed that UK bosses are more likely to be sympathetic than their employees when it comes to asbence caused by sickness. Results of a survey conducted by employment consultancy, Croner, showed that nine in 10 employers accept colds and flu as a good reason to take a day off, as opposed to eight in 10 employees. Some 77 per cent of employers also consider migraines to be an acceptable reason for work absence, compared with 65 per cent of employees. Previous surveys by the CBI and AXA revealed that managers believe that 12 per cent of absences in 2006 were caused by staff pulling a sickie, at a cost of GBP1.6bn to the economy.

9th May 2007


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