11 th Jul Pharma need to know their Baby Boomers from their Generation Z’s
Pharma need to know their Baby Boomers from their Generation Z’s
Whilst demographers and generation researchers differ with exact dates and terminologies, this generation guide is perhaps the most popular and relevant for our pharma colleagues:
1. Born during the 20 years following World War II, the Baby Boomers include Pfizer’s CEO, Ian Read, Steve Jobs and Bill Clinton. In the UK this generation is the first to experience the benefits of cradle to grave welfare with the free NHS and from the Beatles to anti-Vietnam war protests, this is a generation that became synonymous with the political and social change they brought about.
2. Following the Baby Boomers (but prior to Millennials) are Generation X (or the Gen Xers) that includes Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, GSK’s CEO Emma Walmsley and co-founder to The Regulatory Affairs Consultancy , Jonathan Trethowan. Born in the mid 60’s to late 70’s; this generation was dubbed ‘Thatcher’s Children’ as they grew up during ‘a time of social flux and transformation’ and came of age to MTV and LiveAid. The Gen Xers were the first to grow up in an era of internet-available health information, direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and their early careers saw the famous ‘blockbuster era’ of pharmaceuticals.
3. Now progressing into management positions within the pharmaceutical industry, Generation Y (or the Millennials) were born from the early 80’s to the late 90’s. A self-confident generation, it includes Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and Pakistani human rights activist, Malala Yousafzai. Millennials are the first generation of digital natives, renowned for their increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies. With their strong sense of environmental and social responsibility Millennials have posed significant challenges to how pharma recruits for their Millennial workforce and the future of pharmaceutical products.
As the digital age has transformed the healthcare and business world in which we live and work, pharma has been notoriously conservative in embracing these changes. Whilst we’ve seen positive investments from Merck’s Global Health Innovation fund, Sanofi’s efforts around diabetes solutions, and J&J’s Masterclass in Europe, the wider industry have not fully committed to take on any meaningful leadership role. We’re yet to see wide scale partnerships from pharma with new digital health entrepreneurs and start-ups that are short on funding and regulatory expertise, but big on ideas and innovation. Considering the legacy of new digital technologies fast becoming obsolete, beside the many years it takes for a pharmaceutical company to bring a product to market, there are perhaps clear reasons for pharma’s slow growth in this area.
But with Post-Millennials (or Generation Z) quick on the heels of Millennials (as pharma’s incoming workforce and market) this is an entrepreneurial generation that, like Millennials are hungry for information and the solutions that their digital future promises.