Want a Big Pharma job? Apply in an emerging market--or think smaller

Where have all the Big Pharma jobs gone? To emerging markets, for one. For another? The world's biggest drugmakers have shuffled their decks, with some shedding jobs and others gaining. Any guesses which? We'll get to that.

Meanwhile, jobs at smaller drugmakers--including the industry's biggest biotech companies--ballooned. No surprise, given the fast sales growth enjoyed by some, or the expansion via M&A others prefer. Think Regeneron ($REGN) for the first--and Valeant Pharmaceuticals ($VRX) for the second.

As a new report from EvaluatePharma shows, Big Pharma as a whole may have slashed jobs by the thousands, but that was in Europe and the U.S. On the rest of the globe, these companies recruited thousands more.

Some top drugmakers did shrink their worldwide workforces significantly, in spite of megamergers, while others grew, some of them by large margins. So overall, Big Pharma's worldwide employment numbers have shrunk only a bit, to 924,580 jobs in 2013 from 957,055 jobs in 2003.

Some examples: GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Eli Lilly ($LLY) cut their U.S. workforces by one-third from 2003 to 2013, EvaluatePharma reports. But Glaxo staffed up in countries outside Europe and the U.S. by a healthy 40%. Sanofi ($SNY) and Novartis ($NVS) did the same, to the tune of 34% and 27% respectively.

As for shrinkage, Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMS) and Pfizer ($PFE) led that pack with 36% each; many thousands of layoffs accounted for much of that, but both companies also sold or spun off big chunks of their business during the decade.

Worldwide growth? Sanofi takes the prize with 239%. The French drugmaker's workforce now tops 110,000--and stood at 33,000 in 2003. That's partly a merger thing. Sanofi combined with Aventis on Dec. 31, 2004. Likewise with Novartis and its 73% growth; the company wrapped up its deal for the eye care company Alcon in 2011.

But smaller drugmakers put these growth figures to shame. Novo Nordisk ($NVO) added almost 20,000 jobs over the period, without the help of M&A. That's an employment boost of 105% for the Danish diabetes specialist. Gilead Sciences ($GILD) and Regeneron each swelled by huge percentages, mostly organically, to hit 6,100 and 2,340 employees, respectively.

Deals definitely boosted others. Generics giant Teva ($TEVA) swelled by 34,000 jobs via a series of buyouts, a 311% hike. Likewise Valeant, the growth-by-M&A expert, with 778% growth to 17,200. Or Actavis ($ACT), created in the merger of Watson Laboratories and Actavis, with the Warner-Chilcott buyout to its credit since--and Forest Laboratories ($FRX) about to join the fold.

- read the EvaluatePharma press release

Special Reports: Top 10 Pharma Companies by Employees | Top 10 largest pharma layoffs of 2013 | Top 10 drugmakers in emerging markets