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Article | Beyond Data

Biopharmaceutical and life sciences compensation

2024 pay trends to watch

January 31, 2024

A race for intellectual property and investments in product innovations have organizations reviewing their approach to rewards.
Compensation Strategy & Design
Beyond Data

Attraction and retention remain challenging for organizations worldwide

Organizations grapple with sourcing talent for major roles at every level

Average voluntary attrition rate among key markets worldwide
Source: WTW 2023 Salary Budget Planning Report – Global (December)
Location Average voluntary attrition rate
Brazil 7%
Taiwan 14%
United Arab Emirates 4%
United Kingdom 8%
United States 10%

Major roles employers plan to hire for in the next 12 months
Percentage of organizations recruiting for key roles in IT, engineering and sales in key markets
Source: WTW 2023 Salary Budget Planning Report – Global (July)
  Information technology (IT) Engineering Sales
Brazil 29% 36% 63%
Taiwan 25% 32% 64%
United Arab Emirates 32% 48% 57%
United Kingdom 29% 37%  58% 
United States 29% 51%  57% 

Salary budget increases continued in 2023

Because salary impacts an organization's ability to attract and retain talent, this pattern is expected to continue in 2024, but employers will be cautious about allocating their salary budget.

Employers (60% or more) in every industry worldwide have taken or are considering taking the following measures:
  • Compensation review of specific employee populations
  • Full compensation review for all employees
  • Targeted increases for specific employee populations
  • Hire people higher in relevant salary range
Top 3 functions at professional level (P3) with the highest pay across all industries*
Top 3 functions at professional level (P3) ranked according to pay across all industries
*Source: WTW Compensation Survey Reports (August-September 2023)
Rank Brazil China United Kingdom United States
1 Clinical research site startupMedical writing Market access generalist/Multidiscipline Medical imaging
2 Clinical research Platform/Program management Machine learning Technology strategy
3 Clinical quality assurance Biostatistics Artificial intelligence (AI) applications Medical communications/Liaison

A few skills will receive the highest pay premiums across regions
Skills that will demand the highest pay premiums across regions
Source: 2023 Digital Transformation Practices report
Region Skills Pay premium (median in percent of base salary)
Asia Pacific AI/machine learning frameworks 15%
Europe, Middle East and Africa AI/machine learning frameworks 20%
Latin America Cryptography, distributed ledger development, smart contract programing 15%
North America Cryptography, distributed ledger development, smart contract programing 15%

Two percent increase in the number of unique organizations participating in WTW’s 2023 biopharmaceutical and life sciences industry surveys as well as a 2% overall increase in data submissions.

Trends expected to shape 2024 rewards decisions

  1. 01

    There is a race across the industry for intellectual property and ownership of leading biotechnology innovations. To achieve this, big pharma is acquiring startups with promising scientific achievements, and that is expected to drive significant M&A activity.

  2. 02

    Environmental goals remain a top priority. The industry's focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainability efforts will be a focal area in the coming year.

  3. 03

    There will be an increased investment in production innovations. New technologies drive scientific progress and create opportunities for innovation. As the industry evolves, the use of robotics, automation technology and small-batch processing is becoming ubiquitous, and life sciences companies are focusing on facilities and properties designed to support these needs.

  4. 04

    In response to a competitive job market coupled with inflationary pressures, many life sciences organizations have increased their emphasis on the nonfinancial elements of pay, including fringe benefits, language courses, global recognition programs, employee assistance programs and so on.

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