PMPN_Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News

Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, July/August 2015

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15 July/August 2015 Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News • pmpnews.com either satisfied or very satisfied with their current positions, compared with 69.3% last year. M&A AREN'T GOING AWAY Several respondents report that their personal compensation has been afected by mergers and acquisitions. "Many pharmaceutical companies are merging, which can equate to loss of many jobs," says one packaging pro- fessional. "My company has just gone through this." A "merger buy out" has resulted in one respondent's position being elimi- nated; others report positions becom- ing "redundant." The results, however, are varied, and may in fact increase options for qualified packaging engineers. "Hard to retain employees at times due to M&A, layof issues, good job oppor- tunities for packaging engineers," explains one manager. Says one employee: There's "more competition between companies for the same type of workers, i.e., medical device and packaging engineers." Another employee believes that "it will take ever increasing compensation (maybe perks) to attract and keep high- ly skilled and experienced personnel." LEAN AND MEAN? But economic growth does not nec- essarily bring the resources to scale up to meet new demand, it seems. One manager reports that there is "more work with [fewer] resources to perform it." Reports another manager: "My team has been afected by the econo- my over the last year. My team has to take on additional responsibilities to remain efcient due to limited person- nel. I am unable to hire new employ- ees at this time because of budget restraints." Says another: "We have to ask for more with the same salary. No addi- tional resources." A c c o r d i n g t o t h e n u m b e r s , nearly one-third of responding packag- ing professionals this year are working 50 hours or more each week. "Middle [management] and down experience huge budget cuts and 'lean- ing out' while CEO pay and cash acquisitions skyrocket," reports one respondent. There's "pressure for cost-cutting measures and flat salaries for our employees," says one manager. Says one packaging professional: "I work for a startup company and the available capital for funding small companies was difcult to obtain. As a result, as employees we received no raises over the last 3 years and had 20% of salary kept in escrow for over 1.5 years." While one might take these as extreme examples, given the higher average annual salary of $126,300 (compared with last year's $115,000), the average annual salaries by industry tell a slightly diferent story. Last year, the figures were fairly close: $115,100 for packaging professionals working for a pharmaceutical manufactur- er, and $116,900 for those working for a medical device manufacturer. This year, however, packaging pro- fessionals working for a pharma- ceutical manufacturer are the ones coming out ahead, averaging annual salaries of $138,200, compared with $110,300 for medical device packaging professionals. Professionals in R&D and package design average salaries of $140,900, compared with $116,200 in engineer- ing and $115,800 in production. Nonetheless, there may not be guar- anteed employment opportunities. Some managers are turning to "temp workers over full time," says one. If temporary help becomes the norm, it's hard on both employee and manager. "It's difcult to train some- body that is not permanent and then you have to let them go and start all over again," says one manager. Morale can suffer. "Similar to before—it is difcult to maintain great morale when you can not increase production personnel salaries," says another. Such conditions foster an approach that one manager describes as "careful about the pennies." Outsourcing and offshoring also appear to impact long-term prospects for some respondents. One says "out- sourcing will make it difcult to find work with benefits and that lasts more than 6 months." Another reports that "ofshoring will eliminate my job by year end if not sooner and result in my need to find a new job, which may not provide simi- lar compensation." And another shares that he or she is "I am unable to hire new employees at this time because of budget restraints," says one survey respondent. Outsourcing and offshoring appear to impact long-term prospects for some respondents.

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