Young minds to fuel the growth of the pharma sector

By Abdallah Nabeel

Saudi Arabia is undergoing rapid transformation and is buzzing with new opportunities. The wheels of change have accelerated considerably in recent months, with innovation and new technologies being applied and driven largely by the sizable, highly educated and social-media savvy youth population. Positive reforms are ensuring that there is greater private and public sector collaboration across industries, including healthcare.

In the Kingdom’s 2020 budget, there is a significant focus on enhancing the healthcare industry while boosting employment opportunities in the private sector. Almost 40 percent of the Saudi population is under the age of 25, presenting an unbridled opportunity. The future of the economy is in the hands of this generation that holds the key to long-term business sustainability and growth. The healthcare industry on the whole can make tremendous strides if due investment is made in developing the skills and capability of these young ambitious minds.

For the past 40 years, we have been operating in Saudi Arabia, providing innovative solutions to patients by cooperating with the government, regulatory authorities and health providers through a range of programs and medical approaches to treating patients. To ensure that the pharmaceutical industry caters to the future and the needs of Saudi Arabia’s large millennial population, employers must empower this generation with a steadfast growth trajectory, mirroring both their personal ambitions as well as those of the national agenda.

Success in the pharma sector can only be achieved through focusing on building the capabilities of the individuals. Talent management programs must cater to those across skillsets, for example we have introduced special programs in Saudi Arabia that target fresh graduates, where we leverage partnerships with universities to meet students and young graduates and understand their needs better.

I am of the belief that for the company to be able to deliver their best to patients, talent management programs need to be designed to break away from siloes. Managers must enable closer connections and higher levels of engagement so that the next generation of talent is able to experiment while focusing on learning.

We have been working diligently to attract the brightest minds onboard with the aim of ensuring that the healthcare industry is guided by those that are served and impacted it the most, whilst addressing their unique needs.

Providing these young minds with knowledge and tools of high caliber to inspire innovation and research, nurturing their talents and sharpening their skills will make a big difference for the employer of choice. Such engagement is fundamental to our understanding of and response to the society’s expectations of our company.

This potential must be harnessed at the earliest in order to manage the increasing morbidity of lifestyle diseases, signaling the need for greater access to a wider range of treatment solutions. The local market is expected to be among the fastest growing pharma markets globally.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accounts for 59.4 percent the purchases of pharmaceuticals products in the Gulf region and is expected to reach $8.46 billion by 2023 according to a report published by Precision Business Insights. We need the best minds to protect and tap into this growth opportunity; to ensure that disease profiles are brought under control and that healthcare becomes more about wellness and improved quality of life.

To enable this, our team in the Kingdom is driving a number of campaigns and initiatives. We are today steadily building a team of diverse people who will support us in our mission to discover, develop innovative products and services that save and improve lives in Saudi Arabia and the world.

Investing in talent will enable our sector to deliver the most holistic, purpose driven and patient-focused programs so that we remain a key contributor to the pharma sector as well as to the country’s development.

— The writer is the managing director of MSD, KSA