Merck Serono has provided an update on the redeployment of its Geneva-based staff, 100 days after announcing its decision to close the site. As of Sept. 28, job prospects have been clarified for more than 500 employees, or 40% of Geneva-based employees:
- 260 employees have accepted the offer to transfer to another Merck Serono site: 170 within Switzerland and 90 abroad. In addition, 35 employees have yet to decide on the offer.
- 170 employees have found jobs elsewhere, including 16 employees through Merck Serono’s program to support the creation of start-ups.
- 80 employees are taking early retirement.
Merck Serono said the number of staff who already have found alternative employment may be even higher, as employees are under no obligation to report their employment status to the company.
“Obviously, we hope that more employees will accept the transfer offers that we have made and that the various ongoing contacts and initiatives will rapidly lead to new jobs for the others,” said François Naef, chairman of the board of directors of Merck Serono.
Since the announcement of the plan to close its Geneva site, Merck Serono has implemented several initiatives designed to identify redeployment opportunities for its staff, in particular:
- Facilitation of contacts between its employees and other companies.
- Discussions with industrial partners and with local and regional authorities.
- A program to assist employees in setting up start-up companies (Entrepreneur Partnership Program), including the provision of a 30-million-euro fund.
- Participation in the task force set up by the Geneva Council of State.
The first results from these various initiatives have been announced, notably:
- A job fair, bringing together over 40 companies operating in French-speaking Switzerland, was organized at the beginning of September 2012. Targeted job offers are also available on Merck Serono’s intranet site.
- Quintiles, one of Merck Serono’s partners in biopharmaceutical services, has agreed to make at least 100 job offers to employees from the Merck Serono site in Geneva. So far Quintiles has offered 40 recruitment contracts to Merck Serono employees.
- Two companies, Prexton Therapeutics and Quartz Bio, have been set up as part of the Entrepreneur Partnership Program. Several other projects have reached an advanced stage of evaluation.