Yesterday, GlaxoSmithKline crowed about its emerging-markets sales growth in the third quarter. Understandably so. But the subtext of that triumph is its shrinkage in non-emerging markets--and the corresponding toll on employment there. During a video posted on the company's website, CEO Andrew Witty enumerates the Western losses: 2,200 sales rep jobs, gone.
Actually, "gone" is a misnomer. The jobs effectively moved, to emerging and Asia Pacific markets. Some 2,200 more sales folks are on the job there for Glaxo. And the U.K. drugmaker isn't alone in this shift; you'll recall Eli Lilly's plans to cut 5,500 jobs in mature markets--while staffing up by more than a thousand in emerging markets and Japan.
Meanwhile, Glaxo is still scouting for deals; according to the Wall Street Journal, Witty passed on a couple of deals during the third quarter, among them a buyout of Indian drugmaker Piramal Healthcare. The company has reportedly been looking at cementing its marketing partnership with India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories by buying a stake in the company.
It's enough to give pharma a new motto: Go East, young people. "We are reallocating resources to go for growth," Witty explains during his video presentation. Yes, indeed. And in this pharma follows several other industries, notably personal computing, that have targeted the faster-growing developing world, moving jobs and production there along the way.