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As a continuation of my post last June, a complement to understand the distribution and function segments of the Spanish employment in the health sector we are going to use different data.  Data from the past 15 years of our executive search professional experience in EuroGalenus, in recruiting senior executives for our clients.

Pharmaceutical companies


Hospital products and devices








The positions of General Manager and similar in Spain represent a 11% of the total and point two tendencies: an increase of territorial responsibility, including Portugal or other countries to become Iberia or South Europe. Another tendency is the reduction of competences of the Country Manager,  losing areas like Manufacturing, R&D, Logistics or Clinical Research, with regional or HQ reporting or external outsourcing companies.

All the technical positions represent a third of the total and they are in clear ascent. Medical Affairs, Clinical Research, Market Access, Business Intelligence, Regulatory Affairs or Pharmacoeconomics are some frequent ones.

Another interesting information of this study is that, although the Pharmaceutical Industry is the biggest industrial employer, is not the only one. It has demanded a 41% of all the missions undertaken,  complemented with another 12% of the segment without prescription: OTC/EFP, that includes Cosmetics, Nutrition, Toiletries and related.

Hospital Product companies and Medical Devices meant a 20% of the total in the period and those of Biotechnology/Diagnostics – in clear ascent a further 14%. Biotech and Diagnostics share some characteristics: high scientific contents, specialists target and Hospital or Lab environment. However, we must bear in mind that some Diagnostic products are not obtained through Biotechnology and also that many Biotechnology products are not designed for the Diagnostics market.

The current growth of the recruitment within the Health and Science Industries is taking place in the Services companies. Those that develop activities that the manufacturing companies used to perform previously in-house, like Marketing/Advertising, Market Research/Business Intelligence, PR/Communications, Editorial/CRM, Events, Human Resources and even Sales.

healthcare-specialist The number of Spaniards who work, directly or indirectly, in the Health Sector exceeds one million.  Some authors even venture two million, counting more indirect employees.  Surpassing the figure of one million is simple if we consider not only medical and pharmaceutical care, but related segments like elderly patients care, cosmetics, nutrition or animal health. 

An increase in the next decades can be foreseen, given the continuous demand of health on the part of the population. The key of this increase in Spain is that, -unlike what happened in previous generations-, more and more citizens are willing to pay from their own pocket a complement for some treatments, on top of the contribution via taxes. Every day we see a growing tendency to use dentists, paediatricians, ophthalmologists, gynaecologists, hearing aids, plastic surgeons, etc. All this growth is translated into an increase of the employment in the sector.

A differential characteristic of this personnel working in Health is the professional qualification, that is remarkable with respect to other sectors, arriving to have almost 600,000 registered professionals. Farmaindustria esteems that more of 40% of the personnel employed by the pharmaceutical industry has a specific qualification, and there, University degrees are more than a half.

Employment in this sector shares three vectors that condition their careers: 1) permanent innovation that forces to a continuing update of knowledge, 2) specific legislation and regulatory subjects – a formidable challenge for outsiders, and 3) the role of the prescriber, -not in all cases the doctor-.

In Spain the biggest employer in health is the public sector. However, that no longer consolidates numbers in which was denominated INSALUD, since from the beginning of the century our 17 autonomous communities (CCAA) have HR competences transferred and count on his own personnel (SAS, ICS, Osakidetza, Sermas,etc.) and to collect homogeneous data is now a titanic task. As a last consolidated reference, -at the end of year 2000-, INSALUD counted 29,310 physicians, 68,225 non-physicians and 38,195 non-sanitary, totalling 135,730 people. It seems likely that in these ten years the CCAA will be using more personnel, although the total figure is now imprecise.

The data of registered sanitary professionals by theINE in year 2007 offers another valuable reference with nearly 600,000 professional registered, although some could be professionally non-active.





ATS and DUE (Nurses)








Odonto and Estom.







Source: INE. Registered health professionals in 2.007

On another segment, the Pharmaceutical Industry employs more than 39,100 people according to Farmaindustria data of 2007. A tendency observed is the encouraging growth of R&D activities , employing 4,616 professionals almost a 12% of the total. In traditional Pharmaceuticals growth is coming from hospital specialties like Oncology, Transplant, orphan drugs, etc, with reductions now widespread in Primary Care, and therapeutic areas already well covered  like Digestive, Ostheoarticular, Respiratory, etc.

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