17th Annual Global CEO Survey: CEOs from the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry share their thinking on a variety of issues, including growth strategies, skills shortages, technology innovation, changing demographics and economic trends.

Pharmaceuticals and life sciences CEOs believe that technology is transforming the sector and they're using strength in innovation to make the most of it. They're also focused on regulation and integrity. Facing the talent challenge is a key priority too, particularly with demographics and shifts in wealth also radically reshaping the sector.


Technology, demographics, and shifts in wealth are transforming the sector
Pharmaceuticals and life sciences CEOs are even more convinced than their peers that technological advances will transform their businesses in the next five years. And they're more conscious than other CEOs of the huge role demographics will play – 72% see it as a transformative trend, compared to 60% across the sample. More are also expecting a big impact from global shifts in economic power.

Pharmaceuticals and life sciences CEOs believe technology will help more than hinder
Only around a third of sector CEOs are concerned that the speed of technological change may negatively impact growth, compared to nearly half of CEOs across the overall sample.

Innovation is a top priority – and protecting intellectual property a worry
Sector CEOs are already transforming their R&D function to cope with transformation – 38% say they've completed or have in progress a programme to change their R&D and innovation strategies, more than across the sample as a whole. And the same number believe that their R&D departments are well-prepared for the challenge.
They're not as confident about their ability to benefit from their discoveries, though. 64% of pharmaceuticals and life sciences CEOs are somewhat or extremely concerned that an inability to protect intellectual property will hamper growth, far more than across the sample as a whole.

Too relaxed when it comes to cyber-security?
A surprising 57% of pharmaceuticals and life sciences CEOs are not concerned that cyber threats including lack of data security could threaten growth. That's despite a boom in big data and data analytics – 79% agree there's a need to change strategies in that regard, although just 23% have already started.

Regulation is not all bad
The pharmaceuticals and life sciences industry is highly regulated, and nearly half of CEOs (47%) are extremely concerned that over-regulation could put the brakes on growth. That said, a full 72% believe that their production and/or service delivery quality standards improved over the past 12 months as a result of regulation.

Integrity is a big issue
The industry is taking safety seriously; more pharmaceuticals and life sciences CEOs strongly agree that it is important to them to ensure the integrity of their supply chain (76% vs 58% overall). And sectors worry about the impact of bribery and corruption. 61% believe it could slow down growth, compared to 52% of CEOs overall.

But sector CEOs are positive about facing the talent challenge
Only around half of pharmaceuticals and life sciences CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills, this year, far fewer than their peers across the sample. Fewer are concerned about rising labour costs in high-growth markets too. That may be because many have already taken steps to revamp their talent strategy to capitalise on major trends – 43% say they've already begun or completed a change programme, compared to 32% overall.

Source: pwc - PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP