Amid continuing business expansion, hiring in India's pharmaceutical sector grew an estimated 24 % in the current financial year and job creation may continue in the near future.
Considered relatively recession-proof, the pharmaceutical sector has been an active recruiter and the pace of hiring has grown considerably in the past few years, experts say.
Pharmaceutical industry hiring has grown by about 24% in 2013-14 so far, higher than in recent years, according to executive search firm Spectrum Talent Management.
"In the last few years, pharmaceutical organisations have expanded by entering new divisions. A lot of firms have also expanded their operations overseas and a lot of mergers and acquisitions have taken place, leading to a lot of hiring," Spectrum Talent Management director Sidharth Agarwal said.
He said consumer awareness of more medical facilities and massive healthcare investments have helped the sector to grow at a very fast pace.
"Exports of pharmaceuticals products from India have increased from $ 6.23 billion to $8.7 billion in last 5 years, at an annual growth rate of 21%, which has in turn resulted in consistent hiring as well," Agarwal added.
He said the pharmaceutical industry in India, which is expected to be in the top 10 global markets in terms of value by 2020, recorded a compounded annual growth rate of over 15 % in the past five years.
Athena Executive Search & Consulting also says that most major healthcare firms have robust growth and expansion plans.
"Increased focus of MNCs on emerging markets including India is adding to this growth but the domestic players are focusing more on international markets like Africa," Athena's senior consultant and vertical expert Deepshikha Singh said.
HR services firm Randstand estimates a 12-14% hiring growth in the pharmaceutical sector in the current fiscal year, with much of the demand concentrated in cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.
"Even though the Indian pharma sector has always been an active recruiter, we have seen increased hiring happening over the last 2 years," Randstad India & Sri Lanka CEO Moorthy K Uppaluri said.
"Currently there is a lot of demand for junior and mid-level professionals in product development, inventory management, sales and marketing functions," Uppaluri said.
He noted that firms are also increasingly seeking senior-level professionals such as pharmaceutical scientists, radiologists and clinical research associates, owing to heavy investment in collaborative research for drug discoveries.
However, Thomas Assessments' director Prahlad Rao said: "This industry is characterised by attrition to the tune of 22-25% at frontline sales and about 15 % at mid-manager level historically."