Who gets the likes when it comes to job hunting? Think J&J, Novartis and Biogen Idec

With all of the pharma layoffs, lots of folks are looking for a job in the industry. So where are the best places to work? Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Novartis ($NVS) if you want to work for a large company. Biogen Idec ($BIIB), Gilead ($GILD) or perhaps Novo Nordisk ($NVO) if you prefer more of a midsize drugmaker.

And why do employees like those companies? Apparently not because of pay. That was cited by only 18% of the 224 pharma employees recently surveyed by the executive search firm Salveson Stetson Group. Employees were more interested in innovation, which 62% cited. After that it is corporate image, pipeline and work environment, all cited by 42%.

But don't think that work environment is not vital when trying to attract talent. A poor work environment was cited by a large majority, 80%, as the primary reason for turning down an offer. And 48.8% of people said the work environment at their current job was a reason to stay, although flexibility ranked even higher at 51.7%.

Those who agreed to take the survey were given a list of 12 of the largest biopharma companies and 14 midsize players and then asked to favorite their top three picks.

The top 5 large company favorites were:

  • J&J (45.2%)

  • Novartis (43.1%)

  • Amgen (36.5%)

  • GlaxoSmithKline (29.4%)

  • Roche (26.9%)

The top 5 midsize favorites were:

  • Biogen Idec (44.8%)

  • Gilead (32.5%)

  • Novo Nordisk (32%)

  • Shire (27.6)

  • Boehringer Ingelheim (26.6%)

Nancy Kovach

Not surprisingly the top 10 list does not include companies like Merck ($MRK), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) or Eli Lilly ($LLY) that have been downsizing as they work through tough financial situations. Others that have been in the news for buyouts, like Pfizer ($PFE) and AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Valeant ($VRX) and Allergan ($AGN), also were absent. Two companies' appealing factors outweighed the fact that they have been laying off enough folks to make the FiercePharma list for largest layoffs last year, Novartis and Boehringer Ingelheim.

"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."

- here's the release

Special Report: The top 10 largest pharma layoffs in 2013