An overview of Switzerland’s pharmaceuticals industry

Posting date: 12 August 2019
The pharmaceutical industry employs 135,000 people in Switzerland and contributes to 30% of its exports — more than the Swiss chocolate, cheese and watches export industries combined, making it a significant economic industry for the nation. It’s no surprise with Switzerland’s forward-thinking and innovative endeavours that two of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, Novartis and Roche, are companies born out of Switzerland.

Other famous corporations in pharmaceuticals also employ heavily in Switzerland, including Celgene which ranks eighth in terms of its number of employees in Switzerland. Celgene has recently been acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb for $74 billion, making it one of the top 10 most expensive mergers and acquisitions in history.

So why have these pharmaceutical giants chosen Switzerland as an attractive location to set base and how is it significant to their success? Let’s consider the pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland and why it’s such a key player in the global market.

Focus on speciality chemicals

Despite Switzerland’s lack of natural resources, it still hosts a successful export industry due to its focus on low volume speciality chemicals which constitutes 90% of its product portfolio. Switzerland is known for providing bespoke pharmaceutical solutions through its access to and funding for intensive research and development of these fine chemicals. The global demand for these speciality chemicals is always increasing, which makes Switzerland’s assets valuable.

Switzerland has seen many success stories and inventions in the pharmaceutical industries. Roche is credited with inventing Invirase, the world’s first HIV proteinase inhibitor drug in 1995 and later, co-created Funzeon, which stops the HIV virus from entering human cells. In addition, Novartis has been widely recognised for their work on cancer treatment through their aromatase blocker letrozole (Femara) which is used in the treatment of early-stage breast cancer.

The Swiss pharmaceutical industry now offers more than 30,000 products and is well-positioned to make significant contributions to healthcare, both in Switzerland and worldwide.

Intense research and development

From as early as 1896, the region of Basel became the centre of 19th-century pharmaceutical industries since Switzerland had no patent laws. This was in direct contrast with the surrounding European countries and led to a migration of researchers to Switzerland who wished to work without restrictions. Currently, there are 900 pharmaceutical and MedTech companies which employ 50,000 workers in the region of Basel. Though patent laws have changed since the 1890s, Switzerland still hosts a supportive regulatory environment through its fair patent and pricing regulations.

In addition, Switzerland’s current proximity to research institutions and sophisticated healthcare system provides an ideal environment for the intensive research of highly specialised products and the ability to test drugs to be sent to market.

There is also high access to recruit highly qualified scientists from these globally ranking universities and their research teams. Novartis hired 23,000 science professionals including scientists and doctors to work on over 200 projects in clinical development worldwide, just as Roche employed 22,000 people to work in research and development. Switzerland hosts outstanding scientific and technological workforce with in-demand skills.

In addition, there is a lot of financial support from pharmaceutical companies who have invested almost 7 billion Swiss francs into research and development in Switzerland.

Supportive framework conditions

Switzerland has free trade agreements with the EU and 40 other countries, including innovative key giants such as China and Japan which provide access to essential export markets. After Germany and China, Switzerland has the third most populated network of bilateral investment protection agreements.

Switzerland’s pharmaceutical industry is supported by its global reputation for high-quality production standards, for being a strategic test marketer and being able to introduce new medical products at an early stage. This recognition of quality control saves Switzerland’s pharmaceutical industry between 130-300 million Swiss francs yearly when trading with the EU, the EFTA States and Canada.

In addition, a single central authority, the Federal Coordination Centre for Biotechnology governs all biotech and gene tech licensing applications which leads to a minimalistic and streamlined bureaucracy procedure.

Switzerland continues to rank number one on the Global Innovation Index due to its access to expert workforces, supportive governmental laws and its relation to the global trading market. Switzerland remains an attractive place to live and work, especially in such an important industry to Switzerland’s nationality and GDP as the pharmaceutical industry.

Work in Switzerland’s pharmaceutical industry

Now that you know more about the exciting contributions Switzerland has made in the history of the pharmaceutical industry, consider landing your next role in this booming industry and innovative country with Swisslinx. We also recruit talented pharmaceutical candidates to work in pharmaceutical hotspots worldwide. Contact us for more information or apply for your next role with Swisslinx today.

What does the future of recruitment look like?

The world of recruitment is constantly evolving and digitisation has completely transformed a wide range of sectors. With the emergence of new skills, tools and software, organisations in Switzerland will need to implement expert recruitment strategies to secure the best talent. Switzerland has enjoyed a strong economy in recent years and statistics have shown that the unemployment rate amounted to around 3.5% in 2020. However, the way businesses recruit and retain talent will continue to shape the workforce – and while it’s difficult to predict outright what the future holds for recruitment, businesses will need to adapt to the demands of a new age of technology. And since the recruitment market is becoming increasingly competitive, recruiters are going to need plan in advance to keep up with the most in-demand talent. So, here’s an overview of how recruiting will grow and change in the future.   Focus on machine learning   Machine learning and automation will likely have a huge impact on onboarding and recruitment. AI is rapidly changing every industry and its effect on recruitment is already being felt in a multitude of ways. For example, HR automation tools have accelerated in recent years. These tools can collect, gather and analyse data, which means recruiters can easily build candidate profiles and establish a clearer picture of potential hires much more quickly. In the future, there’s no question that automation tools will be used even more frequently. One of the biggest challenges for recruiters is finding the right professionals amid the noise. Therefore, it’s likely that companies will use more machine learning and automated software to help secure the best candidates, increasing efficiency and productivity as a result.   Personalised recruitment   Today, most candidates are much informed about the type of company they want to work for. In this context, recruiters need to build an engaging and efficient hiring process, because the new generation of candidates takes a much more personalised and strategic approach to their career. Therefore, in the future, businesses won’t be able to rely on job postings or sending generic templated messages to candidates on LinkedIn. With candidates today being much concerned with an employer’s brand, the future of recruitment will be much personalised. This means that during the recruitment process, businesses will need to give candidates regular feedback and updates. In this candidate-driven market, transparency and a personalised hiring process will be of strong value in the future.   New talent pools   Recruiters of the future should begin to explore new talent pools, which include candidates with varied roles and professionals from the gig economy. In the modern world of work, employees change jobs more regularly, opting for a varied career path and different workplace cultures. The benefits of hiring these types of candidates are that they’re often exceptionally well-rounded and highly adaptable. With the rise of remote working as a result of the pandemic, hiring contractors for short projects has become much more commonplace. There will be more opportunities for businesses to hire freelance workers as full-time employees, tapping into unique skills. Recruiters of the future will likely have access to an array of talent pools with candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds.   Get in touch with our team at Swisslinx   The future of recruitment looks bright, but is your business ready to adapt to the changes? At Swisslinx, we have a dedicated and friendly team of recruitment specialists. Our team has an outstanding track record of building quality relationships with clients and candidates. We constantly keep up-to-date with the latest trends in our specialist markets, including digital and technology, financial services and life sciences. If you would like to learn more about how we can help prepare your recruitment strategy for the future, please contact us today for more information.

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How a recruitment consultancy can add value in a new world

How a recruitment consultancy can add value in a new world The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed how companies attract, recruit and retain new employees. Businesses around the globe have swiftly embraced remote working. While there are huge benefits of in-person meetings, it’s difficult to ignore that many businesses have thrived working remote. For recruitment consultancies in Switzerland, they’ve had to adapt to a new way of hiring. The recruitment industry has entered a new era defined by flexibility and the increasing use of technology. In a post-COVID world, recruitment consultants will be high in demand for their expertise, but the landscape has changed, paving the way for a range of challenges. So, how can recruiters continue to add value to clients and candidates? Dedicated, relevant expertise One of the major benefits of using a recruitment consultancy is that they provide staffing solutions for businesses across a range of different sectors, and they remain up-to-date with market trends, which includes recruiting during this challenging time. For example, at Swisslinx, we’re able to give our clients an overview of the market, helping them to plan their recruiting and ensure they only hire the best candidates. Right now, it’s all the more important that job specifications are in line with the market. Recruiters can provide consultancy around job specs, offer sector expertise and engage passive talent using platforms like LinkedIn. With businesses receiving a strong push into the world of virtual working, recruiters have been forced to provide their expertise virtually. This means recruitment consultancies, like Swisslinx, have been able to connect with people more efficiently and build strong and lasting relationships. Streamlined process There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has accelerated the rise of technology. With in-person contact limited, businesses will need to become more agile and innovate fast, to thrive in this competitive environment. However, the recruitment process can still be a long and daunting task for many businesses, despite the new tools available. One of the most desirable attributes of a recruitment consultancy is they can streamline the whole process, from CVs and interviews to talent community building. While the lack of in-person meetings with clients and candidates can be a challenge, video interviews can take place anywhere. In the future, there’s likely to be advanced recruitment tools to facilitate virtual meetings, so that all the information can be stored and analysed in one place. Hiring in a new world The current uncertainty around the employment landscape means that businesses will need to adopt a strategic mindset to attract the right type of candidates. One of the ways recruitment consultancies can add value in this area is by helping companies make their hiring much more targeted. Recruiting in a particular niche area has become essential in recent years, but with more candidates on the market, it’s much harder to find suitable candidates. At Swisslinx, we focus on recruitment markets such as financial services, technology, science and engineering across many sectors, which enables us to provide tailored solutions to our clients. There’s no doubt the future of recruitment will be more personalised and holistic and tailored to the specific needs of clients. Let Swisslinx help your business The pandemic has had a huge impact on the recruitment sector. At Swisslinx, we’ve always had a strong value proposition and an excellent track record of building excellent relationships with clients and candidates. As we progress through the year, our consultants will remain on hand to provide companies in Switzerland with the best recruitment expertise. Our team have years of experience in recruiting the most in-demand companies and we always take the time to understand the needs of every business. Contact us today if you need help finding the top candidates and take a further look at our insights page for more engaging articles.

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