Human Resources Management and Recruitment in the Pharmaceutical Sector (Europe)

The research delves on the human resource management practices (HRMP) and challenges in the pharmaceutical industry endured in Europe. The HRMPs plays an integral role in the pharmaceutical industry impacting on enhancing the capacity to align development efforts and strategic objectives driven by the profoundly changing pharmaceutical needs and dynamics. The human resource management (HRM) is required to advance its practices accordingly to ascertain the vibrancy of the pharmaceutical industry with the changing norms and needs. The HRM is essential in the management of project portfolios such as the development of COVID-19 vaccine with European (Western) pharmaceutical companies at the forefront of dealing with the global pandemic. Also, resolving of the HRM and recruitment needs in the pharmaceutical industry is critical to facilitating competitive marketing of products, assurance of high quality and standards, and impact on the overall management of performance. Therefore, the research outlines the approaches and methodologies used to assess the HRM Ps and challenges experienced in the European pharmaceutical industry with an aim of providing critical measures to enhance the performance of the HRM.

Problems Prevalent in the Pharmaceutical Industry

The HRMP in the pharmaceutical industry is marred with various challenges that affect the overall HRM performance. The pharmaceutical industry as a highly reliable sector requires enormous commitment to resolving and upgrading HRMPs to ensure the continued performance and competitiveness as per the growing needs and dynamics. The most prevalent problems experienced in the pharmaceutical industry can be categorized as follows; ability challenges that constitute of challenges endured in staffing, managing the staffing processes, and finding adequate professional candidates. Also, due to the constantly challenging health dynamics, European pharmaceutical industry is posed with a continuous challenge of training and developing its HRMP. More financial investments are critical to ensure HRMP in the pharmaceutical industry constantly advance with the changing needs of the sector. As a result, talent management posit of the key challenge pharmaceutical industry is faced with to ascertain talent retention, promotion, and implementation of successful development plans. Due to high competitiveness of the industry, continued motivation and increment of the compensation packages is essential for the industry. Furthermore, communication and the processes and mechanism of sharing information form one of the core HRM and recruitment challenges in the pharmaceutical industry. Thus, collaboration, coordination, and continuous improvement of the communication and information sharing approaches is essential to link with the changing health care system dynamics.

Research Aims

The research aims at identifying key challenges that affect the performance and transformation of the pharmaceutical industry in Europe. This is significant to provide key measures that can be utilized to enhance the performance of the industry. As well, it is fundamental to building the performance capacity vital to addressing the constantly changing needs of the contemporary healthcare needs. The HRM and recruitment processes in the pharmaceutical industry is vital to securing a healthy future of all mankind across the globe. Thus, the conduct of the research is highly relevant and essential to resolving contemporary needs and demands.

Research Questions

  • What are the key HRMP and recruitment challenges experienced in the pharmaceutical industry?
  • How do the identified challenges affect the performance and competitiveness of the pharmaceutical industry?
  • What measures are vital to enhance and transform of the HRMPs in the pharmaceutical industry based on research findings?

Research Objectives

  • To examine the key HRMP and recruitment challenges experienced in the pharmaceutical industry?
  • To determine how the identified challenges, affect the performance and competitiveness of the pharmaceutical industry.
  • To identify key measures vital to the enhancement and transformation of the HRMPs in the pharmaceutical industry based on research findings.

Literature Review

In Europe, like any other part of the world, the pharmaceutical industry has experienced profound challenges in the HRM and recruitment practices. The existing literature asserts that due to the rapidly growing populations, high demands for the pharmaceutical products, urgency in global needs for pharmaceutical products such as mass COVID-19 vaccines, and the expanding burden of rampant chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular, cancer, among other diseases pose enormous challenges to the sector. The health care systems posit a high demand in the cost of the development of the necessary and right drugs to treat, prevent, and relieve patients off the pain endured due to increased chronic diseases. Boon, Den Hartogc, and Lepak (2019, 2498) asserts that the constantly changing health care demands and increase in chronic diseases present the HRMPs in the pharmaceutical industry with a heavy burden in managing the HRM needs and financing of the cost of drugs development. Ramakanth, Singh, Maji, Lee, and Gaikwad (2021, 1) argues that the urgency of the development, packaging, distribution, and storage of COVID-19 vaccines posit a high challenge for the HRMPs. Europe as a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry is tasked with rapid building of capacity and competence to enable the human resources actively meet the high demands from the changing global health care needs (Ramakanth et al., 2021, 2).

The pharmaceutical industry is characterized by high demand for highly knowledgeable and technologically based practices that are embedded in the human resource practices and capacity. The performance of the human resources is one of the main challenge of the pharmaceutical industry. According to Suksod and Cruthaka (2020, 77), the human resource practices requires a high commitment on enhancing the skills of the employees in the sector to meet the required demands be it in the management of corporate mergers and acquisitions of pharmaceutical companies, market penetration and new products introduction, maintenance of the compensation standards, diverse recruitment processes, communication and utilization of technology. Oliveira, Sousa, Silva, and Santos (2021, 75) emphasizes that to meet the growing HRMPs and resolving the challenges experienced in the sector – open innovations are critical to develop new strategies that facilitate the sector to meet contemporary needs.

Kerdpitak (2020, 555) focuses on the need to establish a conducive environmental management for the HRM practices essential for the operations and performance of the pharmaceutical industry. Kerdpitak (2020, 555) notes that HRMPs plays an integral role in embracing the changes associated with administrative transformations originating from the diversification of the management practices that originate from the business models. Pharmaceutical companies’ merger, acquisitions, and expansions is a key component that affect the performance of the human resource management positing further challenges to enhance the HRMPs with the changing needs. According to Otoo (2020, 2), the phenomenon aligns with the need for “mediating the role of the employee competencies in the new structures and functional mechanisms.” As a result, aggressive measures are essential to enhance the HRMPs capacity in adapting to the new environment and ascertain high performance capacity.

In a research conducted by Otoo, Otoo, Abledu, and Bhardwaj (2019, 2), it finds that the “human resource development practices influence organizational performance through their impact on employee performance.” The HRMPs including recruitment posit key challenges that affect the performance capacity of the employees in the pharmaceutical industry. This is in line with the inclusion of job involvement for the employees that work in the sector (Sriviboon Jermsittiparsert, 2019, 234). The capacity of the employees to perform optimally is embedded in the conduct of effective recruitment and hiring processes, retention, employee motivation, inclusion and involvement, among other HRM practices. It is paramount for the pharmaceutical companies to emphasize on enhancing the HRM capacity to ensure all employee issues are adequately addressed to transform into high performance. Otoo (2020, 5) assert that the capacity to effectively mediate on the employee competence is integral to the culmination of high performance and competitiveness of the sector. Therefore, research emphasizes on the high value placed on expanding the role of HRM to impact on the performance and competence of the pharmaceutical company amid the extensive challenges undermining the sector’s competitiveness.

In a qualitative descriptive study conducted by Babapour, Gholipourb, and Mehralian (2018, 224), it finds that the implementation of human resource practices is vital to the performance of the pharmaceutical industry in any part of the world. Babapour et al., (2018, 224) asserts that the HRMPs are vital to conquering the contemporary dynamic atmosphere of the pharmaceutical business operations. This helps in the enhancement through influence and building capacity of the employees’ “knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavior.” The building of capacity among the employees impacts on raising of knowledge and competence of the human resources in the pharmaceutical firms. Muller, Fournier, and Lomba (2017, 41) examined the impacts of low-skilled workers in the knowledge-based economy of the pharmaceutical industry in both France and Belgium culminating on the fact that continuous development is essential for the optimal performance of the sector. The capacity to effectively deal with the HRM and recruitment challenges in the sector gives the pharmaceutical a competitive front to meet the diversified global problems.

The problem of low-skilled workers is extensive in the knowledge-based economy such as the pharmaceutical industry (Muller et al., 20176, 42). The industry requires high skills, competence, capacity, and functional prowess that originates from the knowledge-based demand. As a result, this puts a high emphasizes on the HRMPs to enhance the skills, competence, and capacity of the employees in the sector. To ascertain the realization of the intended results based on the changing dynamics and industry’s demands, Mohan, Prasad, and Poonguzhali (2015, 83) present that there is need to change and diversify the role of HR managers in the pharmaceutical industry. This is associated with the need to build the capacity of the employees transforming their skills and capacity into knowledge-based as per the requirements of the sector. High sophistication is essential to ensure that the employees perform to their level best facilitate the industry’s capacity to meet the growing health care needs. The contemporary challenges in the changing health care needs requires subsequent enhancement of the HRMPs to build capacity and competence of the employees (Mohan et al., 2015, 84). The HRMPs and the recruitment process must, therefore, upgrade based on the growing needs and demands exerted on the sector by the world health dynamics and phenomenon.

Furthermore, with the advancements in technological developments, human resource management and recruitment challenges in the pharmaceutical are embedded in the communication and information sharing (Babapour et al., 2018, 224). Also, the recruitment practices such as crowd sourcing for pharmaceutical industry presents a challenge of building knowledge-based workforce and enhancing its competence (Tursunbaveva, 2019, 2). According to Tursunbaveva (2019, 2), there is a high concern on the “current and future major staff shortages that is continuously increasing” presenting an enormous challenge in meeting the growing HRM needs. The incorporation, integration, and use of technology posits a profound for the pharmaceutical industry to transform accordingly. This is critical to meet growing and diversified needs of the pharmaceutical products in a rapidly changing health care systems and problems. Therefore, there is a challenge to adopt and adapt with the technological changes presented in the sector to ensure the capacity to meet the varying needs of the health care among the global population.

Research Progress

Research Philosophy, Research Approaches, and Methodologies

There is an extensive range to examine the role, significance and value of HRM and recruitment practices in the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, the research takes a holistic approach to examine the impact of effective HRM practices on the performance of the pharmaceutical industry in Europe. Europe with a high number of competitive and large pharmaceutical companies serving as global leaders in the sector portrays critical practices that are vital in transforming and setting pace for the future of the industry. The HRMPs can be examined based on their impact to the recruitment, retention, human resource managers, inclusion and involvement, compensation, employee skills and capacity development, training, and motivation of the employees among other features.

It is fundamental to ensure that the research in the pharmaceutical industry involves both qualitative and quantitative research to determine the significance of HRMPs in enhancing the recruitment process and challenges experienced. It is imperative to note that HRMPs are integral to the overall performance of the sector. Therefore, the qualitative research methodology will be used to outline the core practices that impact on the employee behavior, attitudes, and overall commitment to the industry resulting in high performance. This is emphasized by the prevalence of knowledge-based aspect that determines the continuity and performance of the professionals in the sector. The quantitative research methodology is vital to evaluate the role, significance, and value of various practices in impacting on the employee performance to the overall sector. Therefore, in line to the research philosophy of defining the role, value, and significance of the HRMPs on the recruitment process and approaches utilized in dealing with the associated challenges.

Methods of Data Collection

In order to acquire qualitative data from the employees in the pharmaceutical sector, interviews were conduct on randomly selected employees working in different companies. The random selection of the employees was based on the need to acquire holistic view on the conduct and performance of the sector. Also, this proved to be vital in minimizing the potential biases of examining employees from only one company. As a result, the results were objective and were expected to provide a general outlook of the sector. The approach is critical to ascertain the significance, value and role of the HRMPs in creating efficient recruitment processes and enhancing the capacity to deal with the challenges affecting employee performance.

To acquire the quantitative data, the research focus group approach on specific companies to examine the human resource practices utilized to enhance the employee performance. This is critical as respective pharmaceutical company’s performance impacts on the overall performance of the sector. To change the course of the pharmaceutical industry performance through enhancing HRM practices, it is vital to examine the policies and their implementation. This impacts on the determination of how the HRM practices affect the quality of performance of the employees. Therefore, the HRM practices will provide a roadmap to the approaches and mechanisms that can be utilized in ascertaining the continued competitiveness of the sector.

Furthermore, the use of empirical secondary resources is essential to complement the primary data acquired through the qualitative and quantitative approaches. The secondary resources entail the use of existing researched literature by other scholars and professionals to outline the value of the HRM practices in creating an effective recruitment process. The secondary sources are vital to create a clear understanding of the concepts and best practices utilized in making the pharmaceutical industry in Europe highly competitive.

Population and Sampling Methods

The qualitative research approach constituting of pharmaceutical industry employees from different companies utilize the random sampling method. The approach is used to minimize the level of bias that can be attained by using employees from only one company. Therefore, the research will provide a holistic view on the approaches and practices utilized in the HRM recruitment processes and dealing with the challenges encountered in the sector.

The selection of the key companies used in the quantitative research approach will constitute a focus on the five best performing pharmaceutical companies in Europe. This will provide a wide array of the HRM practices and issues experienced in different capacities. As a result, the approach will provide an overview of the best HRM practices utilized to enhance the performance of the employees.

The secondary sources selection will constitute of the recent seven-year limit to acquire up-to-date information that most relevant to the subject of study.

Ethics, Reliability, and Validity Measures

The research requires a clear guideline to ensure compliance with ethical standards. This will be provided by the existence of the ways to verify any information or data used in the research. Also, a compliance form to take part in the research will be filled by the selected population. Being involved in the research process, the selected population will give consent to the use of the acquired data. As a result, this provides clear and reliable information compiled in the final report on the research.

The participating companies will give consent to the research to acquire and examine any data acquired in the process. In any point requiring further clarification, the involved company will assist and provide additional information where necessary. This will be critical to verifying and authenticating the acquired information.

Resources Access for Primary and Secondary Data

Resources and Arrangements Made to Access for Collection of Primary and Secondary Data

For the acquisition of primary data, the creation and production of consenting forms will be vital to the access of the information. This will allow the participating individuals to give official compliance in gathering information from them. The participating companies will, also, provide a consenting form to provide reliability and authenticity to the acquired information. Recording devices will be vital to storing the information for further analysis.

For the secondary sources, access to the internet is vital as it requires online search and review of the existing literature. This will require internet search skills and capacity to compile the acquired information into a one report.

Furthermore, the research will require 14 days to cover the basis of the study and 14 days for the compilation of the final report.

Research Plan and Timeline of Thesis Submission

(Source: Author, 2021).

References

Babapour, J., Gholipourb, A. and Mehralian, G., 2018. Human resource management challenges to develop pharmaceutical industry: evidence from developing countries. Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research: IJPR17(Suppl2), p.224.

Boon, C., Den Hartog, D.N. and Lepak, D.P., 2019. A systematic review of human resource management systems and their measurement. Journal of management45(6), pp.2498-2537.

Kerdpitak, C., 2020. The Effects of Environmental Management and HRM Practices on the Operational Performance in Thai Pharmaceutical Industry. Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy11(2), pp.555-565.

Mohan, A.C., Prasad, B.V.S. and Poonguzhali, P., 2015. Changing Role of HR Managers in Pharmaceutical Industry. Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res30(2), pp.83-87.

Muller, S., Fournier, P. and Lomba, C., 2017. Low-skilled Workers in the Knowledge Based-Economy: The Case of the Pharmaceutical Sector in France and Belgium. Low-skilled Workers in the Knowledge Based-Economy: The Case of the Pharmaceutical Sector in France and Belgium, pp.41-57.

Oliveira, M., Sousa, M., Silva, R. and Santos, T., 2021. Strategy and human resources management in non-profit organizations: Its interaction with open innovation. Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity7(1), p.75.

Otoo, F.N.K., 2020. Measuring the impact of human resource management (HRM) practices on pharmaceutical industry’s effectiveness: the mediating role of employee competencies. Employee Relations: The International Journal.

Otoo, F.N.K., Otoo, E.A., Abledu, G.K. and Bhardwaj, A., 2019. Impact of human resource development (HRD) practices on pharmaceutical industry’s performance: The mediating role of employee performance. European Journal of Training and Development.

Ramakanth, D., Singh, S., Maji, P.K., Lee, Y.S. and Gaikwad, K.K., 2021. Advanced packaging for distribution and storage of COVID-19 vaccines: a review. Environmental Chemistry Letters, pp.1-12.

Sriviboon, C. and Jermsittiparsert, K., 2019. Influence of Human Resource Practices on Thai Pharmaceutical Firm Performance with Moderating Role of Job Involvement. Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy10(2), pp.234-243.

Suksod, P. and Cruthaka, C., 2020. The Effects of Human Resource Practices on Employee Organizational Commitment: Findings from the Pharmaceutical Industry in Thailand. Sys Rev Pharm11(3), pp.77-86.

Tursunbayeva, A., 2019. Human resource technology disruptions and their implications for human resources management in healthcare organizations. BMC health services research19(1), pp.1-8.

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