A Guide To Getting Into The Pharmaceutical Industry

For anyone thinking of a career in pharmaceuticals, there are many wide-ranging options with excellent career prospects and salary. Here’s all you need to know to enter this sector.


Since there’s such variation in the pharmaceutical sector, entry requirements can vary depending on what role you want to pursue. You stand a better chance of career progression having a degree, however. Subjects such as pharmacology, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, molecular science and computing science are highly regarded.

Many employers in the pharmaceutical sector seek graduates with a PhD and several years’ postdoctoral research, especially if you want to work in research and development. Having a relevant PhD opens up more opportunities in the long term, and gives you the experience to lead projects and take on more challenges.


As well as relevant qualifications, entrants to the pharmaceutical sector should possess a variety of skills. According to Pharmaceutical Journal good communication skills are vital, as you often work in cross-functional teams. With pharmaceuticals becoming increasingly globalised, communication and teamwork skills are becoming pre-requisites for working in this sector.

Other essential skills include time management, preparing presentations, creativity, problem solving and meeting deadlines. Proving that you’re productive and reliable is vital if you want to work in research and development.

Getting Started

There are many opportunities to work in the pharmaceutical sector, so it’s important to decide which area you want to pursue. Gaining work experience during your studies, such as a placement with a pharmaceuticals firm, can boost your chances of future career prospects. Having previous industry experience can also help to increase your network of contacts and references, which is beneficial for career progression in this sector.

You might want to consider contacting scientific staffing solutions companies, such as G and l scientific, to find out what opportunities are available. Proactively contact organisations in the pharmaceutical sector and send them your CV. Don’t just focus on the major players, but consider smaller organisations too.

It can be worth attending industry events to get a feel for who is recruiting, and to network with relevant individuals. Join industry organisations to demonstrate your commitment to this career, and make use of forums such as the Royal Pharmaceutical Society forum, to focus your career search and gain the necessary information you need to set you on this path.