Indian API Industry’s Manufacturing Leadership Talent

A report by WalkWater Talent Advisors

Key Highlights:

· India emerges as the world’s third-largest API producer and the API market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 13.7%

· Strategic M&A and PE/VC Investments driving consolidation in the Indian API industry. The industry has seen the emergence of several large PE owned platform companies.

· API industry is seeing robust action in leadership hiring space, particularly in the manufacturing function.

· Serious concern on diversity as there are no women leaders in the manufacturing function across all API companies studied for the report.

· The demand supply gap for leadership talent in the manufacturing function is leading to high talent churn, ageing leadership talent and increased compensation levels in this industry.

26th February 2024, National: WalkWater Talent Advisors, one of India’s top Executive Search firms has released a comprehensive report shedding light on key trends and talent insights which are driving leadership hiring in the manufacturing function in India’s Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) industry.

India’s pharmaceutical industry is set to soar to USD 65 billion by 2024, with the API sector contributing a substantial 35 percent share. Positioned as the world’s third-largest API producer, India supplies 57 percent of APIs listed on the WHO prequalified catalog, showcasing its pivotal role in the global pharmaceutical market.

Commenting on the report, Rahul Shah, Co-Founder & Director at WalkWater Talent Advisors said, “The report offers crucial insights into the trends and talent dynamics driving leadership hiring in the manufacturing function of India’s API industry. In the midst of India’s growing role in API Manufacturing in the global pharmaceutical scene, this study acts as a compass for industry stakeholders navigating the dynamic and ever-changing talent landscape.”

The report highlights that the Indian API market is projected to grow at an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.7 percent in the coming years. With a robust domestic market, advanced chemical industry, skilled workforce, stringent quality standards, and competitive operational costs (40 percent lower than in the West), India has become an attractive destination for investors.

For this report WalkWater researched 51 API companies and included 120 candidates at leadership level in manufacturing role.

Key Findings:

1. Lack of Diversity in Leadership Talent: All companies studied have 100% male leadership in manufacturing roles, raising a serious concern about the lack of diversity in this industry. In an era of focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, it’s crucial for industry leaders to take urgent actions, promoting better representation and creating a more inclusive environment for talent growth.

2. Chemistry Dominates the API Industry: According to the data around educational backgrounds, 95% of leadership talent in manufacturing roles are Chemical engineers or Chemistry graduates, with 41% holding full-time Masters/Doctorates.

3. Clear Emergence of Talent Clusters in India’s API Manufacturing Leadership: AP & Telangana, Maharashtra, and Gujarat are the 3 emerging talent clusters, constituting over 82% of leadership talent. One can expect these clusters to attract a significant portion of future investments in the sector.

4. Talent Demand / Supply gap is leading to high talent churn: There is a high talent churn of 40% in the manufacturing leadership talent and this trend is expected to grow in the coming years given the demand supply gap in this sector as the industry attracts continued investments. As manufacturing networks becomes more complex, leading companies have beefed up hiring of COO candidates to provide leadership and strategic direction to manage the growth of the manufacturing operations.

5. Ageing Leadership in Manufacturing: The industry is experiencing ageing leadership and there is a need for effective talent management strategies to groom younger leaders. Companies are extending the retirement age to cope with the shortage of leadership talent in the short term.

6. High talent churn and demand supply gap is leading to increase in compensation levels: In the manufacturing function, compensation levels for leadership talent have increased in this industry and surprisingly the median CTC across levels are today comparable to CTC trends in FMCG industry for similar talent.

Commenting on the findings, Prakash HS, Vice President, Pharma & Lifesciences at WalkWater Talent Advisors, said, “Our study offers crucial insights into leadership hiring trends, serving as a guide for decision-makers in navigating the industry’s complexities particularly in the manufacturing function. Hence, the report is a compass for informed strategies, ensuring sustainable growth.”

This report by WalkWater Talent Advisors highlights hiring challenges at leadership level in the manufacturing function within the API industry, emphasizing the importance of addressing talent-related issues to sustain industry growth.

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