If you’re an analytical thinker and problem solver with a natural curiosity and inquisitive mindset, a career in science and pharmaceutical could be for you.

Science and pharmaceutical jobs are available in a variety of disciplines from research and development, clinical trials and medical sales to forensic science, pharmacy and science writing. There are dozens of specialities and new emerging technologies coming to the fore all the time.

That means there’s high demand to pursue a career in STEM related subjects and turn your passion for discovery and understanding how things work into a reality. Whether you’re looking to solve issues caused by climate change or unlock the secrets of the universe.

Labour Market Information

In recent times, it’s safe to say the science and pharmaceutical industries in the UK and worldwide have been pretty busy. They’ve played a huge role in the fight against Covid-19, ramping up research and vaccine development. The release of the Pfizer and Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccines contributed to the biggest vaccination programme in our history.

As a result, the science and pharma industries have had a high public profile and there is a growing need for a skilled workforce. Whilst there’s been increased awareness of the role that the sector plays, there’s also been other impacts – such as higher levels of university applications but challenges to the learning and lab experience for current students.

There’s therefore an increasing focus amongst Stockport’s science and pharma employers on apprenticeships and graduate schemes, which could play a key role in closing the skills gap and producing industry-ready employees who have more hands-on experience and practical skills to support our local economy.

Starting Salary

£12-15 per hour or £18-25,000
per annum

Typical Salary Range

£28,000 – £82,500
per annum

Working Hours

35 to 40 hours per week, between 8am and 6pm

LMI Infographic from GMACS

GMACS have produced a range of helpful infographics to summarise careers in the Life Sciences sector and the current employment landscape in Greater Manchester. According to the stats, the most in-demand roles are as a Lab Technician, Biomedical Scientist, in Sales & Business Development or in Research & Development (R&D) and you may find yourself working for one of 300+ life sciences employers such as the NHS, Qiagen or Lighthouse Labs Network for example. You’ll be joining 6,000 GM residents who work in this sector earning an average of £35,894 and you’ll need to demonstrate creativity, entrepreneurialism and communication skills.

You can view the full infographic and click on the links for more information by selecting the button below to view as a PDF.

Working in Science & Pharmaceuticals

There main types of jobs in science and pharmaceuticals include working in areas such as:

  • academic research
  • chemicals
  • food science
  • forensic science
  • geoscience
  • healthcare science
  • life sciences
  • marine biology
  • materials science
  • meteorology
  • nuclear
  • oil and gas
  • polymers
  • toxicology

However, science and pharmaceutical organisations will also employ people in operational roles such as finance, IT, marketing and procurement. There are also science-related careers in other sectors such as healthcare, marketing and engineering.

To pursue a career in the science and pharmaceutical sector, you will need to be able to demonstrate skills like:

  • Creativity
  • Analytical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Active learning
  • Flexibility and agile working
  • Confidence and communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Innovation and initiative
  • Problem solving
  • Technology design and system analysis

Like most industries, there are opportunities available to start your career at all levels and with any level of qualifications. However, for many of the specialist or advanced roles within science and pharmaceuticals, a degree may be essential and you’ll therefore need to gain a Level 3 qualification first (like A-Levels or T-Levels).

Most employers will look for graduates with qualifications in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering or Maths. However, some roles require a more specific degree discipline – such as forensic science or pharmacology. Postgraduate qualifications like Masters degrees and PHDs are also highly valued to further specialise in your chosen field.

However, apprenticeship pathways are also growing in popularity and prevalence. They last between one and four years and can allow you to gain a qualification equivalent to studying a degree at university, whilst also gaining hands-on skills and practical experience. Many larger firms will therefore offer apprenticeship programmes for those leaving school or after studying at college.

A job in scientific or pharmaceutical industries can make for an excellent career path with many intriguing avenues to explore (and who knows where they’ll lead in the future!). Better still, with the entire science industry built on constant change and cutting-edge technologies, investing in developing the skills and qualifications required could lead to an exciting and potentially lucrative career.

In the future, some aspects of science fiction may become reality with key areas of research and innovation including robotics, drone technology, space exploration, augmented and virtual reality, green energy, biotech, sustainable farming solutions and science ethics.

With such rapid development, future science and pharma professionals will need to keep pace with changing skills requirements and applying their knowledge to multiple disciplines.

More Career Guides