Indian Pharma Sector Ducks Job Loss Trend Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

The exigent circumstances following Covid-19 pandemic had put the Indian pharma industry into a precarious position vis-a-vis innovation, manufacturing and distribution. Rising to the occasion, the industry was at the forefront of India’s fight against the virus with the production of not one but two vaccines against the deadly Coronavirus. Leading pharma players worked hard and fast enough to vindicate why India is known as the “pharmacy of the world.” And now, even as industries across the world and India reel from job losses and financial downturn, the Indian Pharma sector is creating jobs while continuing to develop life-saving vaccines.

India’s pharma sector has more than 3,000 companies and 10,000+ manufacturing units, which help the country produce more than 60% of vaccines of the world. Besides being the favourite destination for manufacturing pharmaceuticals, the industry is run with a common code of cost-effectiveness, highly-skilled labour and proactive policies. No wonder, these factors are enough to provide a distinct edge to the industry, which is evident in the current scenario vis-a-vis job generation in the pharma sector. This is mainly due to the ongoing development and R&D, which means the industry needs more and more skilled people in pharmaceuticals, IT and cyber-security. Along with pharma, e-commerce and IT are the two other industries that seems to have ducked the downward trend regarding jobs.

In fact, a report by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) says that the pharma sector currently is in need of personnel with a higher level of skill sets like formulation processes, knowledge about regulatory requirements as well as new processes. In the current situation, when the pandemic has left quite a few industries high and dry, leaving people out of jobs and without a source of livelihood, it is nothing short than heartening that things are looking up in the pharmaceuticals industry.

What makes the news sweeter is the fact that since January this year, there has been about 30% year-on-year hiring in the sector. Increasing automation, however, is a challenge as the current as well as future employees would be required to upskill themselves with these new technologies. As for now, the industry is looking to address this challenge with steps like managed services and contract staffing, which would allow the companies to ramp up their hiring process without taking extra time to train the staff.

Covid-19 has caused several disruptions across the spectrum and pharma companies are no different. The pharma employees have had to work round-the-clock, meeting immediate demands for medication while taking care of the accuracy of the medication as well. There have been rapid strides in terms of digitisation, scaling up manufacturing capabilities, ramping up supply chain, etc. Besides the need for candidates who would digitize the industry, a recent spate of cyber-attacks on the pharma and biotech companies has forced the recruiters to look for suitable employees who can keep the cyberspace safe for their employers.

The current trends of employment highlight that the pharma sector is gearing up for a revamp, which would see its traditional practices being replaced with new-age solutions, which is the need of the house. In wake of the currently volatile job market, this news means only good things for the talented people who own the required skill-sets.

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