Just graduated and interested in working in Pharma?

Here are some career paths to consider.

Finishing university and finding your first job in Pharma as a graduate is a challenging period for most. With so many options available to you, how do you choose which roles to apply for?

To help you make that all-important decision, we have asked real life pharma experts to give us a bit of insight into their job roles and explain how they got there.

A Research Scientist

We recently interviewed Harpal, a research scientist Graduate working for a global biopharmaceutical company.

His job involves performing and optimising biochemical assays for analysing compounds. He chose a career in research as he wanted to be involved in discovering new concepts.

Although the job is very technical, planning and executing experiments, analysing data and writing reports, there is also an element of team work. Harpal liaises on a daily basis with his team and line manager to discuss progress.

Are you also interested in pursuing a career as a Research Scientist?

Prior to becoming a Research Scientist, Harpal completed a PhD and then found relevant industry experience in his field of research. He adds that if you are interested in performing biochemical assays, it’s important to understand FRET biochemical assays and data interpretation.

A starting point for becoming a Research Scientist might be to look at PhDs in the subjects that interest you the most. By doing a PhD, you would gain that valuable lab experience.

A Stability Analyst

Katie works for a pharmaceutical company as a stability analyst, measuring the stability of different products manufactured at the facility. She tests different batches at different time points and conditions, to assess whether there are any changes in the content.

The role is fast paced and involves a lot of focus, so is ideal for someone who enjoys working under pressure and has a keen eye for detail.

Interested in becoming a stability analyst? Recruitment managers would typically look for someone with a chemistry degree or pharmaceutical sciences as well as prior experience in an analytical pharma laboratory.

A Laboratory Analyst

Anthony is a laboratory analyst, working for a company who develops vaccines and healthcare products.

He is responsible for conducting all quality testing on products, writing up data and reporting the results. These results are then used to determine the quality of the product, and make decisions on whether the product is deemed safe to be used by patients.

Anthony finds his job particularly satisfying, knowing that he is contributing to helping people’s quality of life.

Interested in this role?

To apply to this type of job, you would be expected to have a chemistry qualification or pharmaceutical sciences and specific experience in the use and maintenance of HPLC systems. Anthony gained his qualification and relevant experience through an Apprenticeship scheme, proving that the typical university route is not the only way to a successful job in chemistry.

An Associate Scientist

Sarah works as an associate scientist for a company that researches and develops pharmaceutical products.

Her role involves collating information to create knowledge transfer packages for clients. She uses a variety of systems to search for product information, to compile comprehensive reports.

She chose this role as she enjoys the challenge of piecing together information as well as the customer interaction.

Sarah explains that this type of role is ideal for someone analytical, who wishes to work in science but also be customer facing.

Interested in this role?

To get to this position, Sarah did a degree in chemistry and additional training in project management. She then gained experience in product delivery within a contract manufacturing organisation.

A Regulatory Affairs Associate

Alaa is a contractor currently working for a science-led global healthcare company. As a Regulatory Affairs Associate, he ensures Over the Counter Medicines (OTC) are maintained, renewed on time and regulated by Health Authorities in different countries globally.

His day-to-day involves liaising with affiliates from different markets globally to meet deadlines, as well as working with internal stakeholders to improve processes for the company.

According to Alaa, a Regulatory Affairs Associate role would suit someone who is target driven, enjoys helping people but doesn’t need to be micro-managed.

Prior to this job, Alaa graduated with a degree in Forensic Biology and has a variety of experience from lab work to project management roles.  He also worked abroad, which helps him stand out from the crowd.

A life science or pharmaceutical science degree would also be considered for a career in regulatory affairs.

Feeling inspired? Why not read the interviews in full, as well as many others on our careers section. You can also have a look at available jobs or create a CK+ account, to find jobs tailored to your experience.

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7 Alternative Career Paths for Scientists

What happens when you have worked so hard to get a science degree and even a Ph.D., only to realise that you don’t want to follow the expected research trajectory, and instead you want to try something new?

The good news is scientists are not confined to the lab anymore. In fact, candidates with a science degree and a science background are becoming increasingly desirable in other fields.

We’ve compiled a list of seven popular alternative career paths for scientists looking for a change.

 

  1. A career in scientific writing

Writing requires many of the same skills you learn whilst studying a science degree; analysing a lot of information and presenting it in a way that is easy to understand.

The best writers are the ones who know first-hand about the topics they discuss in their writing. Consequently, writers with a science background are always in high demand for scientific writing.

Writing opens up a world of opportunities including journalism and writing about science and science novelties for the general public, or technical writing and presenting science findings for patents and authority bodies.

Alternatively, if you love reading and writing, a science degree can help you get a job for a specialist publisher such as Bloomsbury Sigma or IOP, whether that be in production, editing or proof reading.

 

  1. Working in intellectual property law

If you are interested in the legal side of science, becoming a patent attorney could be an interesting option. Patent law is already a well-established career path for scientists, as companies recruiting trainee patent attorneys usually ask for a degree in science or another STEM subject. This is because to draft a patent, you need to understand the research and technology behind it.

 

  1. Turning to consultancy

Moving into consulting is another popular move for scientists looking for a more client-facing role.

Big consultancies such as BCG, Accenture and Deloitte will have a dedicated science department recruiting analytical candidates with science backgrounds, to head projects for clients in the science and clinical space. Alternatively, there are also opportunities at a number of specialist scientific consultancies like IQVIA and Alacrita.

 

  1. Working for a funding body

If working in an office seems more appealing than working in a lab, but you still want to stay up-to-date with the latest science news, then working in funding could be a great option. You might want to look at organisations such as Research Councils UK (for example, the BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC and the STFC) and major funding bodies like the Leverhulme Trust and the Wellcome Trust.

 

  1. Sales and marketing for Pharmaceutical companies

Why not explore different areas of the value chain, and look at jobs selling and promoting products, rather than creating them?

Being knowledgeable on the product you are selling is particularly useful when presenting products and answering client needs and questions. These jobs tend to be less about pure selling and more about becoming a product expert.

 

  1. Recruitment

If you enjoy using your people skills, then specialist recruitment companies like CK Science are always looking for recruitment consultants with science backgrounds.

Good knowledge of the science world helps recruitment consultants not only understand the jobs they are recruiting for, but also understand which skills are needed and which types of candidates would be better placed in each role.

 

  1. Teaching

Science teachers at all levels are in high demand right now in the UK, as great initiatives are being taken to close the current STEM skill gap. So, if you have a passion for science and sharing your knowledge, teaching might be something to consider.

Thinking of trying out something new? At CK we offer a range of different jobs for experts with a science background. Why not have a look at our jobs here or get in touch for recommendations.

Posted in Articles, Careers Advice, Homepage Candidates, News

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