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Agile L&D Transformation: A Game-Changer for Pharma

Pharmaceutical Industry July 21, 2023

Agile L&D Transformation: A Game-Changer for Pharma


  • Technological advancements are reshaping the industry, creating new job roles and demanding changes in Learning and Development (L&D) approaches.
  • Approximately 1.2 million jobs are projected to be displaced by AI by 2025, while around 2.4 million new jobs will be created due to Digital Health Technologies.
  • Agile Learning and Development (L&D) practices are crucial for addressing skills gaps and adapting to the changing job market.
  • Agile L&D involves continuous upskilling and conscious reskilling of employees.
  • Agile L&D leads to a 53% increase in the economic value of employees compared to traditional L&D methods.
  • The world is no stranger to technological disruption. As innovation continues to push boundaries, industries across the globe are experiencing radical transformations.  

    The Pharmaceutical Industry, a sector primarily focused on research, development, and distribution of life-saving drugs, is no exception to this phenomenon.  

    Technological advancements are reshaping the landscape of this critical industry, generating new skills, and demanding a significant shift in Learning and Development (L&D) approaches.  

    In this insightful whitepaper, we will explore how technological disruption impacts the Pharmaceutical Industry, the challenges and trends it faces, and why embracing agility and adaptability in learning strategies has become paramount. 

    Pharma roles Disrupted by Technology 

    The continuous advancement of technology is causing significant disruptions in traditional Pharma roles, while simultaneously generating demand for New Age roles. 

    The scale of this disruption is evident through two crucial statistics: 

    • Approximately 1.2 Million jobs in the pharmaceutical industry are projected to be displaced by 2025 due to the adoption of AI.
    • Conversely, around 2.4 Million new jobs are expected to be created by 2025, driven by the implementation of new Digital Health Technologies.

    This indicates that the number of job roles being created will be twice the number being disrupted, showcasing the profound impact of technology on the job market. This transformation is observed in both established and emerging technologies. 

    In-Demand Technologies: 

    In 2023, some of the In-Demand Technologies include Artificial Intelligence, Robotics & Automation, Digital Health Technology, Blockchain, and 3D Printing.  

    These technologies have disrupted traditional job roles, leading to changes in positions such as Data Entry Clerks, Laboratory Technicians, Traditional Sales Representatives, and Supply Chain Managers.  

    Simultaneously, they have given rise to next-generation job roles like Clinical Trial Designers, Automation Specialists, ML Engineers/Data Scientists, and Process Engineers. 

    Emerging Technologies: 

    Similarly, emerging technologies such as Gene Editing, Nanotechnology, Quantum Computing, and Bioprinting have also followed a similar pattern.  

    Job roles such as Genetic Counselors, Biopsy Specialists, Computational Chemists, and Manufacturing Technicians have been impacted by these technologies.  

    New roles such as Nanoparticle Engineers, Quantum Algorithm Developers, Tissue Engineers, and Biomedical Engineers have also emerged as a result of this disruption. 

    New-age technologies = Skills Gaps 

    The rapid advancements in technology are causing significant disruptions in the talent landscape. As technology evolves, the existing workforce is facing a skills gap. 

    Employers are increasingly becoming aware of the pressing issue, with 87% acknowledging that they are already experiencing a skills shortage or anticipate facing one in the near future. 

    Nearly 1.2 Million Jobs will be displaced in Pharma by 2025 due to AI but 2.4 Million new job roles will also emerge by 2025 due to new Digital Health Technologies. 

    To enable effectively address skills gaps and develop new-age job roles, organizations are realizing the importance of adopting Agile Learning and Development (L&D) practices.  

    Agile L&D: A New-age approach for Pharma 

    Agile Learning and Development (L&D) is becoming increasingly crucial for organizations to address skills gaps efficiently and save costs in the long term. L&D leaders play a significant role in guiding companies through disruptions caused by technological advancements. 

    A staggering 94% of organizations recognize the criticality of Agile L&D in bridging the skill gap and ensuring that their workforce remains relevant and competitive. 

    So, what sets traditional and Agile L&D apart?  

    The key difference lies in the economic value of an employee. 

    In a traditional L&D system, an employee typically undergoes basic training, followed by formal and intermediate generic training. However, after completing this initial training, there is often little to no further growth in skills, despite the rapidly evolving job market, leaving the employee lagging behind. 

    On the other hand, Agile L&D takes a proactive approach to employee development. It involves continuous upskilling and conscious reskilling. 

    Continuous upskilling: This refers to constantly adding New Age skills to an employee’s skillsets, aligning with demands of the market.  

    The process includes identifying skill gaps, defining learning objectives, selecting appropriate learning methodologies, developing targeted learning content, and evaluating the effectiveness of the learning program. 

    Conscious reskilling: This comes into play when an employee’s current job role no longer adds value, even after upskilling efforts. In such cases, the employee is reskilled to transition to a new role that aligns better with market demands.  

    The process involves assessing the employee’s current situation, setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives, designing a customized L&D program, delivering the Agile L&D program, and evaluating and refining the reskilling process. 

    The results of Agile L&D are remarkable.  

    Research shows that organizations implementing Agile L&D experience a 53% increase in the economic value of their employees compared to those relying on traditional L&D methods.  

    This heightened economic value translates to a more skilled and adaptable workforce that can better meet the challenges of a rapidly changing business environment.

     Agile L&D

    Reskilling Case Study: ‘Laboratory Technician’ to a ‘Bioinformatician’ 

    The swift evolution of technology demands the incorporation of new-age skillsets into employees’ portfolios. Moreover, this integration opens up opportunities for companies to establish emerging job roles internally. 

    In this case study, we will explore how a Laboratory Technician can be turned into a new-age role of a Bioinformatician.  

    To achieve this, it is critical to incorporate specific skills into their skillset including: 

    1. Data Analysis: Proficiency in handling and interpreting large datasets is essential in the era of digitalization. Understanding data analysis techniques is crucial for extracting meaningful insights from the collected data. 
    2. Machine Learning: Familiarity with machine learning algorithms empowers the technician to apply advanced analytical methods to automate processes and uncover patterns and trends in the data. 
    3. Statistics: Sound knowledge of statistics is vital for designing experiments, assessing data quality, and drawing statistically significant conclusions. 
    4. Bioinformatics: Gaining expertise in bioinformatics tools and techniques enables the Laboratory Technician to analyze biological data, such as DNA sequences, and contribute to research in genomics and other bioinformatics-related fields.

    Reskilling Case Study

    By the end of the reskilling program, the employee undergoes a notable transformation, adapting to the digitalized and AI-driven landscape. This turns the Laboratory Technician into a Bioinformatician. 

    But why take the path of Reskilling? Why can’t one hire a Bioinformatician directly? 

    Here’s why: 

    • Reskilling reduces attrition by providing viable career paths to disrupted job roles. 
    • Cost of Reskilling an existing employee is ~1/3 the cost of hiring for same skills. 
    • 69% of talent professionals believe Reskilling can help improve DEI&B. 

    Hiring a “bioinformatician” costs around $114,000, while reskilling a laboratory technician to become a Bioinformatician costs only about $74,000.  

    This substantial cost savings of $40,000 per full-time equivalent (FTE) can lead to substantial savings, especially in larger teams. For instance, in a team of 40 FTEs, companies can save around $1.6 Million per annum by opting for reskilling over direct hiring. 

    Draup’s Reskilling platform further streamlines the process by identifying specific skills gaps within the workforce. By analyzing a vast dataset of 700 Million profiles and 280 Million job descriptions, the platform can suggest targeted learning and development modules to address the identified skill gaps effectively.

    Lead the future with talent intelligence. Get in touch with us today.