Attracting and retaining a skilled workforce

The pharmaceutical and life sciences industry is a knowledge and experience business, and that means one of its most important resources is people. After all, we can talk about a company’s brand, but it is in fact people who represent the living brand. We can focus on intellectual property, but IP is created by people - and when such people join or leave an organisation they are adding to or reducing its sustainable intellectual property.

We can talk about markets, but to access any market you need people with a good understanding of that market, of the culture and needs of customers and suppliers. We tend to describe regulation and compliance as abstract functions. In practice we are describing the collective values and integrity of its employees and the way they are motivated to behave in particular situations.

Clearly, people are key. Therefore, a key differentiator, and challenge, for an organisation is how well it can attract, recruit, develop, motivate and retain its most important people.

There is growing demand for skilled people precisely when traditional labour markets are providing fewer new people with the right qualifications and experience; and companies are still trying to recruit people with ever more specialised knowledge. While it is possible to recruit from new markets, this is a new competency for many companies.

In this market, skilled workers know they have a choice, and many will tend to favour organisations with relatively strong ethical standing. Others may be attracted by the possibility of working with individuals who are recognised as industry leaders, or may simply aspire to the financial benefits. Still others may be drawn to the excitement and agility of a biotech or a smaller pharmaceutical company over the traditional big players. To ensure they attract and retain people who will add value to the business, therefore, it is imperative that organisations plan meticulously and reward carefully.

How PwC's consultants can help you

PwC's human resource services practice provides organisations with access to a full range of services, from HR planning and strategy through highly detailed advice on tax-efficient rewards or employment law. We can advise on structured rewards and incentive plans for senior executives, and show how the principles of equity and performance-related earnings can cascade through the organisation, including the design and implementation of flexible benefits plans.

The key is how we make our strong offerings work together. For example:

We can offer services and solutions covering all of these areas from within the same team.

Finally there is the question of how all these people management processes are developed, and implemented. PwC advises on delivery models for the HR function, the role of line management and balancing the needs for value, service, and cost efficiency.