According to new research by Novartis, the healthcare and pharma industry has become a more desired career destination for tech talent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The drug giant has released a global research report, Powerful Pairing, which studied the perception shifts of the tech industry in the wake of the pandemic.

Its research involved 2,502 tech professionals in the US, UK, Germany, China and India, and showed that the two industries they would consider switching to are healthcare and pharma (49% for each).

Also, healthcare and pharma were found to be considerably more attractive than traditional sectors for tech professionals, with only 28% willing to consider the switch to finance and banking or 24% to telecoms.

According to the findings, reasons for the interest in a switch to healthcare and pharma included the opportunity to innovate through tech (52%), improve quality of care and make systems more efficient (49% for each), and to solve real-world problems (48%).

Also of note, the report found that the healthcare and pharma response to COVID-19 has lifted the reputation of the sector amongst tech professionals, with 73% saying that their opinions have improved due to its reaction to the pandemic, and that the application of data science has been a crucial factor in this (85%).

However, it also highlights that while tech professionals want to work in the industry, many fear they lack the knowledge to do so, with 40% reporting they wouldn’t apply to a job in the sector due to their ‘lack of industry knowledge’ and 20% saying they ‘don’t feel qualified to work for a pharma company’.

“COVID-19 has caused a seismic shift in the adoption and scaling of digital technologies in our sector, at a pace never seen before,” said Bertrand Bodson, Chief Digital Officer of Novartis.

"Our existing investment in core platforms has enabled us to respond rapidly to the needs of patients, physicians and our associates – as well as dial up our work rethinking how we discover and develop new medicines; work smarter; and create better customer experiences. Attracting and nurturing highly sought-after tech talent into the sector is now critical to grasping the clear opportunity that comes with combining the power of data, science and technology.”