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November 06, 2018 | 5 min read
Pharma Mergers + Acquisitions: 4 Ways To Navigate Your Career After A Buyout


If the recent acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer is any indication, the pharmaceutical industry is experiencing a lot of merger and acquisition activity. The $60 billion deal, which was announced in September 2016 and got the official greenlight last May, is just one in a series of mergers and acquisitions that has supported EY’s projection that the M&A volume in life sciences for this year will exceed 2017’s $200 billion annual volume of deals.

While this is a strategic business move for many companies, it does ultimately cause new challenges for employees. When an organization undergoes a merger or acquisition, there are a lot of uncertainties ahead. Is your job secure? Are the responsibilities going to change? Will you like the new work environment?

“As research and development costs soar, patents become more competitive, and more innovative therapies are introduced, M&A has become a key business strategy for many big pharma companies,” explains Melissa Beauchamp, Vice President at ES Pharma, a division of The Execu|Search Group. “While this may not have been a common occurrence a decade ago, today, mergers and acquisitions are a more efficient and cost-effective way for companies to expand their therapeutic focus or add a new drug to their pipeline.”

As a result, mergers and acquisitions are something that professionals in the life sciences field have to prepare for. If you are one of the many that anticipate their job being affected by this trend, it’s important to stay calm and level headed throughout this transition. If your pharma company is being acquired, here are four tips for getting through it:

Do your homework

Get ready for the acquisition by first doing some company research on your potential new employer. Just like you would prepare for an interview, check out the key players, search for past news stories, explore their website and social media, and read up on their current employees’ experience on sites like Glassdoor. This will help you learn more about the organization’s mission and values, the company culture, and their reputation in the industry. It can also help you make a strong first impression with your new manager.

Explore your options

An acquiring company may or may not be transparent about your future with the organization. And if they say your job is secure, know that this decision may change as time goes on. In some cases, you may even decide to leave after realizing that the new culture is not the right fit for you.

If you are unsure about your future with the company, it’s never too early to start putting feelers out by reaching out to your network, connecting with a pharma recruiter, and exploring new job opportunities. This is especially true given the fact that you will be competing with other talent across the pharma industry as more mergers and acquisitions take place.

Take stock of your career goals + personal needs

Change, while unsettling, can also present new opportunities for career and personal growth. “Now is the perfect time to reflect on your career and look towards the future,” advises Melissa. “Are you still passionate about your work or do you want to do something different? What type of work environment do you thrive in? What’s more important: a higher salary or more flexible schedule? These are all questions you should be asking yourself.”

Update your resume

Even if you are not actively job seeking, it’s important to get into the habit of proactively updating your resume to ensure it’s current.

Read also: 5 Creative Ways To Refresh Your Resume Design—Without Overdoing It

“This can be a little more complicated to do when your company is acquired, especially because you don’t want to give the impression that you’ve jumped around a lot,” says Melissa. “If you’ve been let go due to an acquisition, this is also something to note on your resume.” To get started, Melissa recommends using one of the following formats on your resume:

Option 1: List your new company, but note your original company in parentheses

  • COMPANY A (acquired Company B in October 2018)
  • COMPANY A (formerly Company B)

Option 2: Show your career growth by stacking your job titles

  • COMPANY A (acquired Company B in October 2018)
    • VP of Regulatory Affairs, 10/18 to present
    • Director of Regulatory Affairs, 5/10 to 10/18
    • Regulatory Affairs Specialist, 1/08 to 5/10
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