Attrition in Pharma Industry

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Ishan Sharma Date: 21st September 2012

Insights of attrition rate of Medical representatives in Pharma companies and innovative ways to improve them. Overview:
Attrition refers to the reduction in staff and employees of company by normal means. The primary focus is to present the high attrition rate seen in the pharmaceutical market industry, its causes and controlling strategy for retention of Pharma sales representatives. Though attrition is a natural phenomena in all industries, Indian Pharma marketing industries is worst plagued by it. After IT and BPO, Pharma marketing industries experience the greatest rate of employee leaving the company for various reasons. While global Pharma marketing attrition rate is 10-12% per annum, the rate of employees who leave the organization in India is 25 -30 %.  The attrition is more prevalent in the middle and junior management level, due to which majority of the companies have understood the criticality of talent management. Retention is always a big challenge for any organization in today’s time frame. Indian Pharma companies have started paying attention towards the retainment and management of the Medical Representatives to gain key and valuable employees back into the company. High attrition rate of MR happens due to following reasons:

1) External factors - The demand of fresh talent is more. The companies are looking for fresh talent to incorporate new ideas but the supply is very less, career view point of many young people to join as MR is just to prevent the ‘Stop Gap’ in their career path. The demand-supply imbalance leads to significant efforts to retain and attract a skilled Medical Representative. This has led to higher salary hikes in the Pharma sector than most other sectors .This is clearly a challenge in an industry which is very knowledge and relationship driven. 2) Internal factors - It has been observed that many MR leave their job during the first 3 months itself due to the reasons like they were not serious about their job, They were overqualified and lost interest in their job, They might even be under-qualified and felt bogged down by the challenges of the job, They lack motivation, feel less growth in career path, Monotonous work, limited training and development opportunities, working environment as well salary and compensation becomes an important issue in some cases etc. Now to meet the global competitiveness; Pharma companies have transformed their survival strategy to  competitive  strategy as a result there is huge  pressures  on the shoulder of  medical representatives  for higher secondary sales achievement and thereby constantly poking the field force  which eventually leads to attrition. So the people change organizations frequently.  Similarly poor management is also one of the key factors responsible for leaving the organizations. There is a popular saying “employee leaves the boss not the organizations. “  Poor management includes lack of support to the employee, lack of transparent career growth ladder, adverse relation between the boss and subordinates, lack of motivation. Psychological relationship between leaders and employee is very crucial for sticking of employee in a particular organization. Thus, Organization culture also plays a significant role in sticking of Pharma sales representative in the same company for long run. Retention of the talented employees is always the most important agenda for any company to grow. Sometimes monetary benefits can help as by recent survey it was shown that more and more medical representatives are moving in insurance, telecommunications etc as they are paid double in those sectors but only monetary benefits are not sufficient to retain them it ultimately becomes a hygiene factor in talent management. Thus looking for new methods for attracting, motivating and retaining them becomes very...
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