The best path to a career in the pharmaceutical industry

The best path to a career in the pharmaceutical industry

Getting into any industry can be a challenging task at a time of high unemployment, but the pharmaceutical industry offers many different paths that can attract all kinds of people. The range of jobs in this sector is probably one of the biggest draws to it, but what is the best way to get a job in the pharmaceutical industry?

Well, it probably depends on what part of the industry the applicant wants to be involved in. The main path to the pharmaceutical R&D side is through a science degree, usually biological sciences, chemistry or a combination of the two, said Margaret Holbrow, careers advisor at Graduate Prospects. Holbrow noted that math and information technology degrees are also relevant for some jobs in this field.

A degree may be a requirement for a number of entry-level positions in many pharmaceutical organizations and the place of study can have a significant impact on applicants’ chances of breaking into the industry. This is perhaps underlined by a recent study from Roskilde University in Denmark, which indicated that master’s degree students in the institution’s natural sciences programs have a good chance of getting a job in their chosen field once they graduate. A master’s degree study at Roskilde University showed that more than a quarter of people graduating from an educational institution with a master’s degree in natural sciences begin their scientific career as a PhD fellow. The study revealed that those who do not transfer to a doctoral program usually work in the pharmaceutical industry or in the education system.

“We are more than satisfied with the result,” said Michael Pedersen, Head of Science, Systems and Models at Roskilde. “It clearly shows that our natural sciences programs prepare students for a demanding job. We believe that a critical component of this success is our teaching methods that give students the opportunity to participate in real-world projects with talented researchers starting on day one.”

Ms. Holborough also endorsed graduate degrees as being particularly valuable to those looking to enter pharmaceutical research and development because they help improve subject knowledge and develop research skills.

The career advisor noted that some major pharmaceutical companies offer graduate training schemes, which are more competitive at the moment when the graduate market is shrinking. “They will be looking for a combination of excellent academic achievement and strong transferable skills,” she said.

“Any graduates who have gained some work experience while studying will be in a better position to secure available employment if they have the other skills required,” Holborough said.

Manufacturing roles also offer more opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector, Holborow concluded, and these rely on scientists, engineers and other specialist personnel and business roles such as finance or marketing.

But what about just working in pharmaceuticals? According to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), those looking to enter the industry should start by asking themselves what they enjoy most. While there is a clear link between pharmaceuticals and science, some may not have any interest in physics, chemistry, or biology, ABPI noted. The organization explained that the wide range of options in the sector means that those looking for a position in pharmaceuticals can think about what they want to do rather than the ways in which they should shape themselves to fit certain roles.

Author: ZeroToHero

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