French pharmaceutical industry struggles to recruit – EURACTIV.com

The French pharmaceutical sector is facing a shortage of candidates, despite maintaining its position as the world leader in the production of drugs.

Read the original article in French here.

“There is a shortage of candidates. We are looking for new talent,” explained Vincent Guiraud-Chaumeil, chairman of the Leem employment commission, during a press conference on Wednesday September 28.

Leem, in collaboration with Pôle Emploi, is initiating a mass operation for employment, which will take place from October 3 to 8.

Overall, their goal is to hire 10,000 people in biotechnology by 2030 and 5,000 in digital health by 2026.

In France, the sector is currently made up of 270 companies which together employ around 103,000 employees, according to 2021 figures.

In June 2021, President Emmanuel Macron presented the Health Innovation Strategy 2030 resulting from the work of the Strategic Council for Health Industries.

With struggling hiring figures putting the reputation of French industry at stake, the strategy aims to make France the leading European country in health innovation and sovereignty by 2030.

But for this, it is essential to “transform in depth the ecosystem of French research” and to restore “the competitiveness and industrial attractiveness” of the country, said Leem.

The competitiveness of the French pharmaceutical industry in the global market has recently come under intense scrutiny, as the COVID pandemic exposed the country’s dependence on Chinese and Indian imports for active drug ingredients. .

Less attractive to job seekers

According to Chaumeil du Leem, the struggle to hire is partly due to the image of the industry, which he says “has deteriorated over the years”.

The sector as a whole can get bad press and is “less recognized than in Anglo-Saxon countries”, he added.

“We have to work on this image. The sector is not recognized at its fair value,” he continued.

One of the main challenges, according to Leem, is that potential employees are unaware of how diverse jobs can be in the sector.

Emilie Pertuiset, Managing Director of Biocodex France, pointed out that in a laboratory, it is not only laboratory scientists who are needed, but refrigeration engineers to maintain low temperatures.

Leem also attributed the difficulties to competition between pharma and more “attractive” sectors, such as the digital, data and energy industries.

In terms of reducing the gender pay gap in the sector, Leem added that there was still “work to be done” even if the gap has narrowed significantly from 9.8% in 2014 to 0. .5% in 2021.

Leader in pharmaceutical exports

Either way, a June 2021 parliamentary report concluded that France ranked fifth in the world in drug production and fourth in Europe, just behind Italy, Germany and Switzerland.

French companies themselves have also invested more money in the industry. 2 billion euros were invested in French industry in 2020, an increase of 11% compared to the investments made the previous year.

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]