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July 5, 2022

Filings buzz: tracking the future of work mentions in pharmaceuticals

We've analysed companies' annual reports and other filings to see which key issues are receiving the most attention.

By Data Journalism Team

Mentions of the future of work within the filings of companies in the pharmaceutical industry were 373% higher between April 2021 and March 2022 than in 2016, according to the latest analysis of data from GlobalData.

When pharmaceutical companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. The future of work is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether the future of work is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of pharmaceutical companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned the future of work at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 56% compared to 14% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to the future of work.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the pharmaceutical industry, IQVIA was the company which referred to the future of work the most between April 2021 and March 2022. GlobalData identified 10 future of work-related sentences in the United States-based company's filings - 0.18% of all sentences. Novartis mentioned the future of work the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.08% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high future of work mentions included Thermo Fisher, Roche and J&J.

Across all pharmaceutical companies the filing published in the first quarter of 2022 which exhibited the greatest focus on the future of work came from Novartis. Of the document's 1,725 sentences, seven (0.4%) referred to the future of work.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on the future of work and how important the issue is considered within the pharmaceutical industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning the future of work more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into the future of work have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises the future of work mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the first quarter of 2022 was 'workflow management', which made up 83% of all future of work subtheme mentions by pharmaceutical companies.

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