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.

How to maintain company culture while working remotely

Remote working has become a way of life for many employees. Businesses throughout the world have to adapt and become more agile, with many taking on a hybrid work model. While there’s likely to still be organisations that want employees to get back into the offices permanently, there’s now a much greater demand for remote working and flexibility. There’s certainly a widespread acceptance that remote working is the future. And as organizations have taken to the post-pandemic world, maintaining company culture has become all the more important. Since employees don’t need to be physically in an office to work, companies will need to pay extra attention to their culture and ensure their teams are happy and fulfilled. Reinforce company values With remote teams, it’s even more important for managers and leaders to acknowledge the values of a company. This is particularly crucial when onboarding new hires remotely. For example, the way problems are solved within the business in a remote environment need to be reinforced to employees, as well as how core decisions will continue to be made. All of this should reflect aspects of the company culture. When leaders relay information about the company’s policies and practices, it reminds employees that culture and structure still exists. Due to remote working, the boundaries of culture can be difficult to define – so companies must focus on establishing expectations and promoting a strong work ethic to help maintain culture. Establish trust One of the best ways to maintain company culture while working remotely is to build trust and transparency throughout the organisation. Thanks to digital tools, it’s never been easier to stay connected with people and build relationships. With a remote team, managers need to show confidence in their team and maintain the trust that was built back in the office. For example, leaders and managers should be always open to collaboration and sharing solutions to problems. That way, everyone will feel connected and part of a team, which can remove any feelings of isolation that can come from working from home. Create a sense of accountability In the remote working world, it’s important to empower your team members to be proactive and take initiative. When managing a remote team, you need to avoid simply delegating tasks but instead create a workflow for your team that allows them to take a lead on projects. This creates an environment of accountability which helps maintain the culture you may have had back in the office. Personal responsibility is an important part of many businesses, so translating this into a remote environment is an excellent way of maintaining culture. Set new targets Companies must set all employees new objectives as priorities change. In a remote environment, there are likely to be some significant changes to company goals. Setting monthly and weekly targets is a great way to foster company-wide motivation and it creates a strong work ethic across teams. As in the office, employees will be driven to achieve company goals if they understand what they are. That’s why setting a vision for the work is essential and understanding how people are feeling with regards to meeting their targets in the new normal. Also, leaders should continually share what the company has achieved through communication tools, as well as business goals, all of which cultivate a sense of company culture. Swisslinx can drive your recruitment forward At Swisslinx, we have an excellent track record of providing the best recruitment solutions to companies in a range of sectors, from financial services and digital to healthcare and life sciences. As a leading recruitment agency in Swisslinx, we have access to an array of talent to help your business grow and develop. We pride ourselves on building effective relationships with clients and candidates. Contact us today if you would like to find out more about how we can help your recruitment. Also, please keep reading our insights page for more interesting articles.

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Why internal mobility is crucial for engaging and retaining talent

Internal mobility is all about the movement of employees from one position to the next within an organisation. Now more than ever, businesses need to build a growth-oriented and flexible workforce to improve retention, leadership and engagement. Organisations in Switzerland today need to be open to new challenges and make sure their employees always have opportunities to take on new responsibilities and move up in the company. It’s no secret that employees who are happy and engaged will be more motivated to do their best work, so development opportunities should be taken seriously by all companies. Internal mobility is an effective way of filling skills gaps and delivering seamless talent acquisition – and it’s essential for the success of any organisation. Here’s why:   Nurture high-potentials   Internal mobility is hugely important when it comes to nurturing high-potential employees. Having an internal mobility strategy enables businesses to take advantage of the most promising talent and ensure they remain at the company. It’s widely understood that millennial workers change companies more frequently than older generations. That’s why taking an internal approach to moving employees to new roles and adding responsibilities shows you’re invested in the people that work within your company, which is key to retainment. When you identify and nurture the best talent in your organisation, you can create an agile workforce with a team of professionals with cross-functional knowledge and expertise.   Builds a culture of learning   One of the key benefits of focusing on internal mobility is that it builds a culture of continuous learning. First of all, it’s a change in mindset that asks leaders to support a culture of challenge and growth and encourages employees to plan for the next stage in their careers. A learning culture is crucial to securing employee productivity, engagement and enthusiasm. The best employees want to keep expanding their knowledge and learn new skills quickly for their professional development. An internal mobility program can pave the way for a strong learning culture, which can make a more adaptable organisation. In a learning culture, employees actively share each other knowledge, which means problems can get solved more quickly. In this way, employees will be more engaged and more likely to stay at the company for longer.    Business development    Without retaining employees and keeping them engaged, it’s difficult for a company to develop and drive internal growth. Organisations need to think strategically about why people join their companies and why they choose to stay. Often, it’s the work-life balance, culture and learning opportunities that make people enjoy their roles and feel valued. Internal mobility feeds into all areas of business development and growth. An internal mobility strategy can help companies find potential leaders who can empower their businesses in the future. Above all, companies should have an internal talent pipeline ready to fill new positions when needed. Hiring externally takes time and there’s always the risk of a candidate leaving the role prematurely. Therefore, investing in internal mobility is an effective way to empower your workforce, which in turn, can future-proof your business.   Swisslinx has the expertise to help your business grow   Swisslinx is a recruitment leader in a wide range of markets, including financial services, technology and healthcare and life sciences. Our team of dedicated consultants have years of experience in delivering quality recruitment expertise and sourcing the best candidates on both a permanent and contractual basis. We’ve established excellent consultative partnerships with our clients and candidates, and we pride ourselves on our quality service, built on insightful knowledge and experience. If you’d like to know more about our service, contact our team today.  

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