The pharmaceutical industry’s employment growth rate was eight times higher than that of the manufacturing sector in the past five years, contributing more to job creation than other industries, industry data showed.
According to Statistics Korea’s data analyzed by the Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association (KPBMA), the employment in the pharmaceutical industry has been rising every year from 2014 to reach 97,336 in 2018.
The employment growth rate of the sector stood at 8.6 percent in the past five years, about eight times higher than 1.1 percent of the manufacturing sector. The figure was also twice the average of overall industries at 3.6 percent.
The pharmaceutical industry’s job growth rate was similar to that of the auto sector (8.8 percent) and the semiconductor business (8.5 percent), which are the key industries buttressing the growth of the Korean economy. The sector’s strong job growth showed that the pharmaceutical industry could drive up the nation’s future growth, observers said.
The pharmaceutical sector’s job creation was more efficient than other industries in terms of its proportion to output. While the manufacturing industry hired one person per 330 million won ($270,855) output, the pharmaceutical sector did so per 190 million won production, in 2017.
The average age of the workers in the pharmaceutical industry was 37.4 years, the second-lowest among 24 manufacturing industries next to the electronics sector.
The pharmaceutical sector is showing robust job growth not only in quantity but in quality.
As of 2017, regular jobs accounted for 87 percent of the total in the manufacturing sector, but the number hit 94.9 percent in the pharmaceutical sector. Compared to the overall industrial average at 67.1 percent, the proportion of regular jobs in the pharmaceutical industry was overwhelmingly high.
The pharmaceutical sector also contributed to the growth of jobs for women. While the number of female employees declined 0.4 percent in the manufacturing industry in the past five years, the number in the pharmaceutical sector surged 10.5 percent. Last year, the numbers of male and female researchers in the pharmaceutical sector were similar – 6,180 males and 5,704 females – last year.
Compared with a decade ago, the pharmaceutical sector had more jobs for researchers and manufacturing and fewer jobs for sales last year, indicating that the industry recently concentrated on quality management and R&D.
By job type, 35.2 percent of the 97,336 workers in the pharmaceutical industry was in production, 26 percent in sales, 19.5 percent in office work, and 12.2 percent in research. Compared to 2009, the proportion of positions for manufacturing and research declined by 5.2 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points, respectively, and that for sales, by 7.9 percentage points.
According to KPBMA’s survey, 99 pharmaceutical and biotech firms plan to offer 5,300 jobs this year. The industry has hired 3,117 people in the first half and plans to provide 2,187 jobs in the second half.
Last year, the industry created 6,200 new jobs, contributing to quality job creation for the local economy.
KPBMA said it would hold a job fair at the aT Center in southern Seoul on Sept. 3 to offer practical employment information and interview opportunities.
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