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The Opportunities Doodle: Employment Vs Employability

 The Opportunities Doodle: Employment Vs Employability


In the last 10 years the Pharma industry globally has moved from being an standalone geography centric industry to a more globally connected, networked and cohesive industry, this transformation has set the expectations for producing exceptional quality product, developing niche and complex product at faster pace, increased level of compliance, all time readiness, and all at highly reduced costs.


In the last decade, the industry has grown significantly because of the huge market potential, company aspirations to cater to the global markets, opportunities to deliver on the unmet medical needs, a robust and stronger supply chain capabilities etc. This growth in industry has led to a surge in the employment opportunities in this sector, however, this growth in employment opportunities unfortunately is not able to keep pace with the growth of trained resources (read talent) leading to a huge demand supply gap in this area.


This skill gap has a big impact on attrition levels prevailing in the industry because of which the industry is grappling with an annual attrition in the range of around 20-25% (even higher in certain cases) and a major contributor to this high attrition is certainly the availability of challenging opportunities that the highly skilled workforce employed in this sector enjoy. The attrition also has high variability across functions from sales to manufacturing to quality to research which shows a direct correlation with the opportunities available for well-trained skilled resources in different functional domains. In addition, the availability of opportunities at lower levels are far more than at middle or senior level justifying lower attrition percentages at middle or senior level.


Does this unavailability of opportunity at mid - senior level has only to do with pyramid contraction at the top or it has to also do with employability of at this level as well?? Let’s evaluate in the following paragraphs…..


"Employment" is the work or occupation in which one is engaged or employed. And yes we all know it is relatively easier to get into an employment provided we have the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities and intellect.


Whereas on the other hand “Employability” is the ability of an individual to get and remain employed, now and in future ….. Tough isn’t it, and why? Because remaining employable needs foresight, keeping oneself updated, asks for constant evolution, preparing for future.


This employability has bought a big leap in the expectations from both the employee and the employer from career management perspective, while the employer is expected to develop employees and make them ready for the next job; employees are also expected to keep themselves employable by acquiring skills that are in line with career aspirations.


Now a bigger question is, who has the onus of preparing an employee for future, while, we see many employers adopting some of the best practices to meet the career expectations of its people and develop them for future roles, can the employee afford to leave their career planning entirely in the hands of the employer? I guess a Big NO if we want to remain employable and continue doing interesting and crucible work, we must think of what skills we will need in future and work towards acquiring, developing them and gearing ourselves for future and make sure to remain productive and attractive to employers through the career span.


But unfortunately a majority of us believe that the responsibility of developing the capabilities lies with the organization and not self, I guess to tackle this, a better approach would be to take the onus of self-development in our own hands and make sure to make an effort to gain the knowledge, skill and competencies which are in line with our expectations and which will keep us employable.


From a talent perspective the industry is in the lookout for people who are well trained and equipped with research exposure in the niche scientific domain like PhDs or Post Docs for a sharper learning curve and keeping ourselves employable will help this cause


We all somehow tend to believe that if anything wrong has to happen or if anyone is asked to hang their boots, it will be someone else and not them but sadly that’s not always true. So why not start this year with a commitment to work and develop ourselves at least one area which will keep us employable in the years to come


All the very best for the long and continious journey


The Views Expressed Here Are Personal Of The Author And Not Representative Of The Organization In Any Way. 


Profile: Arjun Singh Is Vice President & HR Head - Global R&D At Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.


Publsihed With Permission.