Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
New AMA with a US police officer (he's back!). You can ask your questions here

Whats it like working in the Pharmaceutical industry?

  • 20-07-2020 10:01pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 275 ✭✭ sweet_trip


    I see some of the huge plants around the south east, namely MSD, Alby Pharma, Boston Scientific, Sanofi Genzyme, Abbott Vascular and Pinewood to name a few.



    I know somebody who is making over €100k a year + expenses working for one of them as a rep. I also a know a few who are working on production line and operators.


    I hear mixed stories. Some people say it's the most boring work imagineable with ****e pay, others say it's grand and if you're willing to work hard there's good pathways to promotion and climbing the ladder.



    I hear some people work their way up the chain without a degree. Others tell me you won't get a decent role in the industry without a good qualification.


    Any insights into it? Often thought about it as a career change option.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,130 ✭✭✭ lawrencesummers


    Depends what side of it you want to get into, production / ancillary / support.

    The application process can be very thorough.
    many places hire through agencies for a lot of roles
    Pay rates vary depending on the company.
    Benefits can be good.
    Work by its nature is boring.

    There are always places in the sector expanding or contracting and make sure to talk to as many people as possible who work there before making up your mind. There is a big difference between a job on the floor for Boston than MSD.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 12,451 ✭✭✭✭ pwurple


    I've worked in pharma for decades, I absolutely love it, I find it fascinating. Loads of room for growth if you're interested, but with any sector, there are roles in there not suited to some personalities.

    You need to be able to follow process and procedure to the letter, especially in operations or labs. A slip up can mean a whole batch of medicine , worth millions, can end up in the bin, delaying treatment for the patients.

    There is room for creativity in pharma, if you're in r&d or marketing, but not in supply chain manufacturing. If you like to wing it, you might find it very frustrating.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,790 ✭✭✭✭ rob316


    I've friends in Stryker and Boston on production they love it but it sounds like the most boring job imaginable. It just wouldn't be for me. They'd all be on 40-50k, more with shift work and with good benefits.

    A relative is contractor to big pharma as a process control engineer, doesn't work much, big house, drives a range rover sport, he's bringing in north of 150k easy I'd say.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,292 ✭✭✭✭ Thargor


    Its the most repetitive job you'll ever do by its nature, Good Manufacturing Practice means the chance for wiggle room is absolutely zero, you'll spend most of your time checking and rechecking everything and chasing down other people to check and sign off on your work for every single step and doing the same for others, and God help you if you ever deviate from the procedure or make a mistake, you'll be writing non-conformance reports and explaining yourself to the managers for the next month on top of your regular workload, I know some people that are still working on reports on mistakes they made last year. Ive seen plenty of people reduced to tears by the bureaucracy of it all. Always some utter cnuts to deal with aswell.

    I love it though, 30% shift premium on top of your wage means working in any other job seem a bit pointless, dirt cheap food in the subsidized canteen, flexi-time, shift patterns that often leave you with 4-5-6 days in a row off to go climb Carantouhill or take a mini break without wasting any actual holidays. Doubletime overtime whenever you want it if you want extra cash. With the shift pattern if you time it right with a bank holiday or two you can take a month off for the same investment in holiday days that would only get you a week or two off in a 9-5 job. Before Covid we had a free gym, showers, personal trainers, free classes in lifting/yoga/spinning etc. We get free breakfast Fridays, health/dental/stock options. Then again my first couple of jobs in the industry had none of that so it depends where you end up. You also have to keep job-hopping if you want a raise, the more company names on your CV the better.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 275 ✭✭ sweet_trip


    Thargor wrote: »
    Its the most repetitive job you'll ever do by its nature, Good Manufacturing Practice means the chance for wiggle room is absolutely zero, you'll spend most of your time checking and rechecking everything and chasing down other people to check and sign off on your work for every single step and doing the same for others, and God help you if you ever deviate from the procedure or make a mistake, you'll be writing non-conformance reports and explaining yourself to the managers for the next month on top of your regular workload, I know some people that are still working on reports on mistakes they made last year. Ive seen plenty of people reduced to tears by the bureaucracy of it all. Always some utter cnuts to deal with aswell.

    I love it though, 30% shift premium on top of your wage means working in any other job seem a bit pointless, dirt cheap food in the subsidized canteen, flexi-time, shift patterns that often leave you with 4-5-6 days in a row off to go climb Carantouhill or take a mini break without wasting any actual holidays. Doubletime overtime whenever you want it if you want extra cash. With the shift pattern if you time it right with a bank holiday or two you can take a month off for the same investment in holiday days that would only get you a week or two off in a 9-5 job. Before Covid we had a free gym, showers, personal trainers, free classes in lifting/yoga/spinning etc. We get free breakfast Fridays, health/dental/stock options. Then again my first couple of jobs in the industry had none of that so it depends where you end up. You also have to keep job-hopping if you want a raise, the more company names on your CV the better.




    I like challenging fast paced work with strict standards and guidelines, so not sure if it would be for me, even if the work is strict, it just sounds like I'd be in a production room looking at a conveyor belt pressing the same buttons over and over again and not allowed to look sideways or enjoy myself.


    Also, I presume all these benefits and pay are reserved for those with the good level 8 degrees? I've no degree in the area. One user above said pay of 40-50k.

    I earn 40k presently in my current job and I'm not happy with it so I think there'd have to be a lot more incentives.



    Sounds like an industry you have to work very hard to break into.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 17,292 ✭✭✭✭ Thargor


    Yeah the degree is mandatory tbh (but not a masters or pHd), you do come across the odd legacy person who worked their way up from total brain dead production line work they took up after the leaving cert back in the day but their in their 40s earning the same as people just out of college. 40k is usually someone with a couple of years experience having started fresh from college on 32-35k. Or then again they might have done a year on 32k out of college then job-hopped straight into 40k for the same role in another company. Bear in mind though that most places are shift work so the 40k jobs are actually 50k with the shift premium, throw in a few night shifts and you're at 55k, and you'll be getting a pension aswell which doesnt really happen in other sectors anymore.

    And you wont be stuck pulling a lever over and over again, human pharmaceuticals are complex products, I dont know what Ill be doing until I look at the production schedule in the morning, it could be any combination of 20-30 different tasks, 12 hours flies by like you wouldn't believe then Im off for 3-4 days, Ill never be able to go back to 5 day weeks and 2 day weekends.

    All depends on the company though but again, job-hopping is practically encouraged in the industry, Im always saying goodbye to people and training newbies, and getting contacted by recruiters myself. I have 9 years experience now and 3 big names on my CV though and tbh that has dried up a bit since Covid. Pharma is still definitely hiring though, our lab of 40 people has lost 3 in the last month and hired 2. I wouldnt feel secure in any other industry at the minute.

    EDIT: And its not that hard to break into, plenty of people career change into it with a 1 year Springboard course in Biotech/QC/Biopharma.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,790 ✭✭✭✭ rob316


    Circa 50k with zero third level qualification is very good money. I've considered it but I just don't know would I like that environment. No stress though to be fair.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,292 ✭✭✭✭ Thargor


    rob316 wrote: »
    Circa 50k with zero third level qualification is very good money. I've considered it but I just don't know would I like that environment. No stress though to be fair.
    Thats the upper limit after multiple years experience for the rare ones that do it without a degree plus a shift premium though, not possible for the vast majority and probably impossible for someone starting off today, its a degree profession just to get in the door. Literally 9/10 jobs are going to mention a minimum degree requirement with the other 1/10 saying "may substitute relevant experience" etc.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 47,598 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Retr0gamer


    It kind of depends where you work.

    My own experience is doing QA as a 6 month placement and absolutely hating it and thinking I made a massive mistake taking science as a degree. Ended up taking the PhD route so as to never work in pharma again.

    Well I finished my PhD at the height of the recession. No research funding. Nobody hiring phds. On the dole. Retrained making videogames and nobody would pay me despite being great at it. Got a job as entry level in a QC lab to get my foot in the door. The place I went to said they took a massive chance on me as I had a PhD. Thought I'd be there a year and find something else better. Ended up really enjoying the job and made loads of friends. Worked my way into the technical department.

    I'm now in a pretty high up technical/development role working with a team of experts and really happy with where I am at the moment.

    However I have heard horror stories from places with qc people being treated terribly and places not being able to hold on to staff with average staff turn arounds of 6 months.

    Honestly if you get somewhere and hate it stick it out for 6 months to a year and move on. With the pharma job market so healthy you will find something and probably get a pay bump as well and it's not uncommon for people to keep moving jobs after 12 months to get better wages.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1 coralconolly


    The pharmaceutical industry has a competitive environment. To rise above other brands, pharma firms reach out for the most effective strategies available to them. Last year, we started using these omni channel pharma marketing services to help our brand campaigns. They helped our products become widely recognised through the strategies they employed.   



  • Advertisement
Advertisement