A-Z of Employers PFIZER

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The Independent Culture
Age: 150 in US, 48 in UK.

History: Pfizer's parent company was founded by German emigre cousins, Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart, in Brooklyn, New York. It made its reputation in America as a bulk chemical manufacturer but during the Second World War saw off larger rivals by perfecting deep-tank fermentation of penicillin - world's first mass-produced antibiotic. Pfizer now one of the world's largest pharmaceutical firms, specialising in research, development, manufacture, sales and marketing of human and animal medicines.

Address: UK commercial and manufacturing, and European R&D HQ, in Sandwich, Kent.

Ambience: Highly ambitious, "exciting and progressive", with aim to be premier healthcare firm by 2001. At UK HQ, investing heavily in state of the art labs, technology.

Vital statistics: Nearly 50,000 people employed worldwide, with 4,500 in UK. Last year, global sales were $13.5bn, with over $2.2bn invested in R&D.

Lifestyle: Average hours 9am to 5.30pm, with 4pm finish Fridays. Contracted bus service from local towns and villages.

Easy to get into? Most graduates recruited into central research division, with either chemistry, biochemistry, molecular sciences, pharmacology, computing sciences, statistics, maths, biology or pharmacy degrees. Last year Pfizer took on 43 from 1,500 applications. It wants up to 50 this year: details at www.pfizer.co.uk/researc. Other graduates are recruited into medical sales, engineering, manufacturing and commercial support. Pfizer also runs six and 12-month placements, with 22 places for 1999. The main Pfizer website is www.pfizer.com.

Glittering alumni: Pfizer employee Dr Ken Richardson OBE was recognised in the Queen's birthday honours list. And, in 1997, Dr Simon Campbell was the first non-American to get the Hershberg Award and the Achievement Award of the Washington-based Industrial Research Institute.

Pay: "Pfizer pays very competitively compared to both the industry and the local average," says a spokesperson, but would not give figures. There is private health cover, a pension scheme, social club and fitness facilities.

Training: All employees attend an induction and health and safety course. There's a training centre and an open learning and resource centre at Sandwich. Staff can also study for accredited external qualifications.

Facilities: Restaurant, canteen and social club.

Who's the boss? In UK Ken Moran, who started as a medical sales rep in Australia. Senior VP of medicinals R&D is Dr David McGibney, who joined in 1982.

Rachelle Thackray

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