In the past, large pharmaceutical organisations have had a tendency to operate with
the global headquarters’ in-house talent acquisition function. Over the last year
however, there has been a notable shift with 5 out of the 10 largest global
pharmaceutical organisations making the change from in-house recruitment teams
to utilising Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) – both on a global and multi-
country scale. Pharmaceutical companies in India are increasingly turning to RPO
businesses due to turnover rates as high as 25%.
As per a recent report, 58% of Life Sciences organisations stated that they utilised an
RPO provider – a stat I can only imagine will get bigger over the next few years.
Indian pharma companies are seen to increasingly connected with Recruitment
Process Outsourcing agencies. Companies see a big difference in the ability to hire
faster and get high quality candidates. Particularly in the pharma industry where
attrition is a pain point, RPOs are seen to bring in more value addition, control costs
and save time.
Indian RPO industry is valued at Rs. 400 crore in 2016-17 and sighted to grow over
32 to 35 per cent year-on- year.
Any industry including pharma is able to get a 90 per cent conversion ratio in hiring
the right candidate. The companies are struggling to get people on time. If there are
dedicated experts having the competency in measuring recruitment which is not
merely giving away candidate profiles but engaging with the organisations to make
sure that the hiring is more sacrosanct.
Almost 90 % of hiring by RPOs is for medical representatives. The remaining 10 % is
for regulatory affairs, production, quality control and R&D. On an RPO platform, the
entire hiring is based on key matrixes including psychometric tests to reduce the
recruitment timeline. Most of the time, the pharma companies which were doing it
on their own were finding it extremely difficult to reduce the time of hiring. This is
because of no access to a virtual bench of candidates or a pipeline. Instead, under the
RPO model, a good pipeline of candidates can be created for any position, Kumar
told Pharmabiz.
Further, RPOs, can clearly articulate on which location there are candidates and be
able to connect with companies in the shortest possible time. .
Indian pharma companies are seen to increasingly connected with RPO agencies.
Companies see a big difference in the ability to hire faster and get high quality
candidates. Particularly in the pharma industry where attrition is a pain point, RPOs
are seen to bring in more value addition, control costs and save time.
Almost 90 per cent of hiring by RPOs is for medical representatives. The remaining
10 per cent is for regulatory affairs, production, quality control and R&D. On an RPO
platform, the entire hiring is based on key matrixes including psychometric tests to
reduce the recruitment timeline. Most of the time, the pharma companies which

were doing it on their own were finding it extremely difficult to reduce the time of
hiring. This is because of no access to a virtual bench of candidates or a pipeline.
Instead, under the RPO model, a good pipeline of candidates can be created for any
position, Kumar told Pharmabiz.
Further, RPOs, can clearly articulate on which location there are candidates and be
able to connect with companies in the shortest possible time. “So there is clear and
predictive hiring happening rather than in an arbitrary manner. At certain times
there is always an expectation of attrition. For instance, during the post appraisal
phase, the sector reports 17 to 20 per cent attrition,” said Kumar.
Another positive for companies going to RPOs is the reduction of ‘job offered’ drop
outs. In the pharma industry, going by the number of openings, makes a prospective
candidate to decline the job decide on offers that are higher for a few thousand
rupees. This is where RPOs engage with companies with technology tools which are
both mobile and web based. Here companies share the video or text to engage the
candidate. For instance, a tool like the ‘post offer follow up’ where from the notice
period given to the earlier employer, the candidate gets friendly-sociable messages
from the new employer. So the candidate responds and this is tracked too gauge the
interest level to join the company.
Therefore, the RPOs sector is here to stay in Indian pharma, going by the saving of
cost and time saving besides the higher positive conversion rate in hiring, said
Kumar.
Another positive for companies going to RPOs is the reduction of ‘job offered’ drop
outs. In the pharma industry, going by the number of openings, makes a prospective
candidate to decline the job decide on offers that are higher for a few thousand
rupees. This is where RPOs engage with companies with technology tools which are
both mobile and web based. Here companies share the video or text to engage the
candidate. For instance, a tool like the ‘post offer follow up’ where from the notice
period given to the earlier employer, the candidate gets friendly-sociable messages
from the new employer. So the candidate responds and this is tracked to gauge the
interest level to join the company.