Biotech Job Outlook 2010: Which Jobs Are Safe?

Last Updated Jan 18, 2010 11:53 PM EST

As BNET previously reported, roughly 5,000 people were laid off from about 80 biotech companies in 2009, with the biggest cuts coming from Sepracor (SEPR), Allergan (AGN) and Genmab (COPENHAGEN:GEN).

biotech job outlookThe layoffs are expected to continue in 2010 as the industry consolidates, but on the bright side, the pace may be slower if the second half of 2009 is any indication. Fully 80 percent of last year's cuts came in the first half, and two executive recruiters I interviewed recently for a BioWorld Insight article said hiring picked up toward the end of the year.

So which jobs will be on the hiring rather than firing side in 2010? According to the recruiters:

  • In general, job opportunities at emerging growth public biotechs and venture-backed start-ups appear to be growing while those at big pharma and big bio are stagnant or shrinking
  • High-level clinical executives: someone's got to manage all that outsourced work
  • Regulatory executives: needed as more biotechs advance their first products through Phase III and toward approval
  • Commercial expertise at all levels: for the same reason
  • Business development executives: with the IPO exit route still looking pretty shaky, these folks are in demand
  • Chief financial officers: if the IPO window does begin to crack open, these folks will be more in demand
  • Investor relations and corporate communications professionals: same reason as above
  • CEOs: needed for start-ups as venture investors begin to part with their capital again; also for biotechs who are transitioning to a new (i.e. commercial) phase or who drastically changed their strategy to weather the 2009 economic storm
  • Board of directors candidates: particularly those with specific functional expertise in clinical development, regulatory affairs or commercialization
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  • Trista Morrison

    Trista Morrison is a staff writer at BioWorld Today, a daily newspaper that