Laid off by Big Tech? Big Pharma Wants You

Since the beginning of 2022, the tech industry has laid off more than 78,000 employees, according to tracker, with startups and Big Tech firms alike (including Snap, Tesla, Coinbase, TikTok, and Twitter) aggressively thinning ranks. While many of the affected workers have already shuffled, or will, into roles with competitors, there are indications that a growing number of Big Tech expats are finding greener pastures in a previously unexpected place: Big Pharma. There, say recruiters and industry analysts, demand for tech talent is surging, with data science and machine learning skills topping recruiters’ wish lists.

With the first batch of AI-designed drugs moving through clinical trials, drug makers are doubling down on their investments in that area—and waging a war for talent. As recently as July, nearly 43% of pharma companies were hiring for at least one AI position, according to business intelligence firm GlobalData. Some companies were hiring considerably more. Between July 2021 and July 2022, Johnson & Johnson posted nearly 2,500 AI-related job openings; AstraZeneca, more than 1,000 AI jobs; and Takeda, Novartis, and Pfizer each sought to fill 600-plus AI roles. In total, AI jobs accounted for 7% of all new job postings at pharma companies in July 2022, according to the GlobalData analysis, compared to 2% a year prior.

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