Novartis research shows technology talent increasingly drawn to pharma industry since COVID-19, to solve healthcare challenges

NovartisNovartis revealed the healthcare and pharma industry has emerged as a desired career destination for tech talent during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the Powerful Pairing research report launched today.

The research - which covered 2,502 tech professionals in the US, UK, Germany, China and India, conducted between May and June 2020 - targeted respondents from a variety of sectors and organizations with the objective to study perception shifts of the industry in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

For Novartis, a leading global medicines company, investing in and progressing data and digital capabilities is central to its work to reimagine medicine. As the company continues to grow its team of world-leading tech talent, through partnerships and hires, the research explored whether those in tech are aware of the role they could play in helping to solve the world's biggest medicine challenges now and in the future.

The research shows that regardless of the sector they currently work in, the two industries technology professionals would consider switching to are technology and healthcare and pharma (49% for each). Healthcare and pharma is considerably more attractive than traditional sectors for technology professionals, with only 28% reporting that they would consider switching to finance and banking or 24% to telecoms.

Drivers to pursue a career in healthcare and pharma include the opportunity to innovate through tech (52%), improve quality of care and make systems more efficient (49% for each), and to solve real-world problems (48%).

Bertrand Bodson, Chief Digital Officer of Novartis, said: "COVID-19 has caused a seismic shift in the adoption and scaling of digital technologies in our sector, at a pace never seen before. Our existing investment in core platforms has enabled us to respond rapidly to the needs of patients, physicians and our associates - as well as dial up our work rethinking how we discover and develop new medicines; work smarter; and create better customer experiences. Attracting and nurturing highly sought-after tech talent into the sector is now critical to grasping the clear opportunity that comes with combining the power of data, science and technology."

The report found that the healthcare and pharma response to COVID-19 has resulted in a reputational lift amongst tech professionals. A significant majority of those surveyed (73%) state their opinions have improved due to the sector's reaction to the pandemic. They think that the industry has been effective in tackling the pandemic (72%) and believe that the application of data science has been a crucial factor in the sector's response to it (85%).

Despite the interest in the sector, the report found that a barrier to entry remains. Although tech professionals want to work in the industry, many fear they have a knowledge gap, with 40% reporting they wouldn’t apply to a job in the sector due to their 'lack of industry knowledge' and 20% saying they ‘don’t feel qualified to work for a pharma company’.

Tech respondents maintain, however, a belief that a data-driven approach could revolutionize the entire healthcare value chain – from increased efficiency (55%) and improved diagnostic accuracy (54%) through to the ability to predict disease prevalence (46%) and improvements to existing healthcare systems (46%).

Bodson continued, "It's encouraging to see that those with critical tech expertise are recognizing the role they can play in reimagining the future of medicine. We now need to prove to them that their perceived ‘lack of industry knowledge’ is no barrier at all to solving high-impact real-world problems for patients, working hand-in-hand with our scientists and allies from partners like Microsoft, Amazon Web Services or Benevolent AI. I have spent 20 years in technology across a range of industries and launched my own tech start-up before moving into pharma, and I can say that the energy in this sector is palpable; with strong self-belief and a huge appetite to take on some of the most important challenges of our time."

Novartis has accelerated its digital ambitions during the worldwide lockdown period, including joining The International COVID-19 Data Research Alliance and Workbench together with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. This Workbench will provide an environment for focused collaborative research, to accelerate collaboration, discovery and development of therapeutics to combat COVID-19During the COVID-19 outbreak, Novartis has also been working to discover and test antiviral treatments by sharing data about early results and basic science, as well as collaborating on designs for clinical trials as part of an alliance of several dozen companies. Novartis and life science companies have also stepped up during the pandemic to commit expertise and assets to the fight against COVID-19, and collaboration has been at the heart of Novartis’ latest research report, which features insights from Microsoft, MIT and Benevolent AI.

Research methodology

The FleishmanHillard TRUE Global Intelligence team fielded a survey among 2,500 tech professionals* in five key markets (US, UK, Germany, China, India), in collaboration with research partner Vitreous World. The 21 question survey, in field from May 21st to June 3rd , covered five key research themes:
  • General perceptions of healthcare and pharma
  • Likelihood to work in healthcare (now and versus 6 months ago)
  • Expectations of working in healthcare and pharma
  • Views on the impact of data, AI and machine learning on the healthcare and pharma sector
  • Perceptions of how AI and data science are being used during the COVID-19 pandemic

About Novartis

Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people's lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 109,000 people of more than 145 nationalities work at Novartis around the world.

* Tech professionals are defined as workers describing their occupation as: Data Scientist / data engineer (339), Machine Learning & AI (199), Data analytics (52), Database administration / management (55), Network administration (19), Tech and IT support (195), Software / hardware research and development (103), Technology design and innovation (31), Information technology (781), Software development (153), Technology / IT department head (491), Technology project management (62), Quality assurance, technology (22).

Most Popular Now

Johnson & Johnson announces European Commissio…

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (the Company) announced the European Commission (EC), acting on behalf of the European Union (EU) Member States, has approved an Advance Pur...

COVID-19 Long-Acting AntiBody (LAAB) combination A…

AstraZeneca's long-acting antibody (LAAB) combination, AZD7442, will advance into two Phase III clinical trials in more than 6,000 participants at sites in and outside th...

BioNTech and Pfizer initiate rolling submission to…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today announced the initiation of a rolling submission to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for BNT162b2, the lea...

Vir Biotechnology and GSK announce global expansio…

Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VIR) and GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) announced the global expansion to Phase 3 of the COMET-ICE (COVID-19 Monoclonal antibody Eff...

Johnson & Johnson initiates pivotal global Pha…

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (the Company) announced the launch of its large-scale, pivotal, multi-country Phase 3 trial (ENSEMBLE) for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, J...

Gilead Sciences signs joint procurement agreement …

Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD) and the European Commission signed a joint procurement agreement (JPA) that will enable rapid and equitable access to Veklury® (remdesivir)...

COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 clinical trial resumed in…

The Phase I/II clinical trial for the COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 has resumed in Japan after discussion with the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA). ...

Regeneron's REGN-COV2 antibody cocktail reduced vi…

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) announced the first data from a descriptive analysis of a seamless Phase 1/2/3 trial of its investigational antibody cockta...

Potential COVID-19 vaccines not affected by domina…

Vaccines currently being developed for COVID-19 should not be affected by recent mutations in the virus, according to a new study involving a University of York virologis...

Protective antibodies persist for months in surviv…

People who survive serious COVID-19 infections have long-lasting immune responses against the virus, according to a new study led by researchers at Massachusetts General ...

Popular COVID-19 conspiracies linked to vaccine 'h…

A new study of beliefs and attitudes toward COVID-19 in five different countries - UK, US, Ireland, Mexico and Spain - has identified how much traction some prominent con...

Sanofi and Translate Bio mRNA COVID-19 vaccine can…

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, and Translate Bio (NASDAQ: TBIO), a clinical-stage messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics company, today announced...