J&J, Novartis and Biogen Idec Cited as Most Desirable Pharma Companies to Work For,Reports Salveson Stetson Group

J&J, Novartis and Biogen Idec Cited as Most Desirable Pharma Companies to Work For,Reports Salveson Stetson Group

Work Environment At Least as Important as Pipeline in Attracting Talent;

No Amount of Brand Equity Can Overcome Poor Working Conditions

PHILADELPHIA (May 20, 2014) — J&J and Novartis are the two "Big Pharma" companies that employees in that industry most want to work for, according to a new survey by Salveson Stetson Group, a retained executive search firm that works in the life sciences space.

Among mid-sized or specialty pharmaceutical companies, Biogen Idec is employees' first choice for employment, followed by Gilead and Novo Nordisk.

Salveson Stetson Group surveyed more than 220 pharmaceutical industry employees in March, asking them what their top choice for new employment would be, if they were to leave their current employer today. Employees were asked to identify their top three choices for a new employer.

"The highest scoring companies on the list are ones that enjoy strong brand equity as an employer," said John Touey, Principal of Salveson Stetson Group. "That brand equity is driven not only by business performance but also by creating a positive and challenging work environment and culture, which companies should factor into their talent management strategy in order to attract and retain the best people in the field."

The reason cited most frequently for ranking a company high as an employer was innovation, named by 62 percent of respondents. Other factors mentioned were portfolio (45 percent), corporate image (42 percent), work environment (42 percent) and pipeline (42 percent). Compensation was one of the least important attributes, named by only 18 percent of respondents.

When asked what the primary reason was for considering a move to another employer, respondents overwhelmingly said opportunities for further career development (named by 50 percent).

The primary reason for declining an employment offer was a poor work environment, cited by 80 percent of respondents.

"People really want to make a difference by delivering products that bring value to patients and organizations," said Nancy Kovach, who heads the Life Sciences Practice at Salveson Stetson Group. "A positive work environment really matters, but only if the company also has established a culture of innovation and a great pipeline."

When given a list of 12 large pharmaceutical companies and asked to identify the top three that they most desired as employers, the respondents chose the following five companies most often:


J&J                                          45.2 percent

Novartis                                  43.1 percent

Amgen                                    36.5 percent

GSK                                        29.4 percent

Roche                                      26.9 percent


Among a list of 14 mid-sized and specialty pharmaceutical employers, respondents ranked the following companies as the top five that they most wanted to work for:


                        Biogen Idec                            44.8 percent

                        Gilead                                     32.5 percent

                        Novo Nordisk                         32 percent

                        Shire                                        27.6 percent

                        Boehringer Ingelheim             26.6 percent


When asked what they valued most at their current employer, respondents named these factors most often:


                        Flexibility                                51.7 percent

                        Work Environment                 48.8 percent

                        Autonomy                               43 percent

                        Company Culture                    42.5 percent


"The factors that make a company a desirable place to work center around its innovation, portfolio and pipeline," observed Kovach. "Attractive compensation, on the other hand, was cited by only 34.8 percent of employees. The war for top talent will be won by the employers who continue to drive innovation and who have a robust portfolio and pipeline that create an environment where talented employees thrive."


About the Survey


A total of 224 employees at pharmaceutical companies completed an online survey during a four-week period from February to March 2014.


·         44 percent of them worked in Research and Development

·         30 percent worked in Human Resources

·         Nearly 12 percent worked in Marketing and Sales

·         Nearly seven percent worked in Finance

·         Almost seven percent worked in General Management


About Salveson Stetson Group


Salveson Stetson Group (www.ssgsearch.com) is a multi-specialty retained executive search firm based in suburban Philadelphia. Specializing in $150,000+ salaried positions, Salveson Stetson Group places executives at organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to non-profit entities. The firm is a member of IIC Partners, one of the top ten retained executive search groups in the world with 47 offices in 34 countries.


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Kathleen E. McFadden

Buchanan Public Relations LLC

700 Pont Reading Road, Suite 200

Ardmore, PA 19003

e: [email protected]

p: 610-649-9292