A cartoon of a bunch of people with items representing medicine and life sciences, including a large pill bottle, a syringe and a beaker.
Image: © microstore/Stock.adobe.com

Top tips for advancing your career in life sciences

29 Nov 2023

Hays’ Chris Smith examines the evolving life sciences sector and shares his expert tips for those looking to progress their career in the industry.

Click here for more Future Health Week stories.

The life sciences jobs market has continued to grow steadily in recent years, remaining largely unaffected by the cuts that took place in the tech sector.

In fact, the latest quarterly jobs monitor from Morgan McKinley, released last month, indicated that the life sciences sector in Ireland experienced a 24pc increase in hiring demand over the last quarter.

To gain a greater insight into the life sciences landscape and more specifically the jobs and skills that are most in demand, SiliconRepublic.com spoke to Hays’ Chris Smith, who is responsible for leading Hays UK and Ireland recruitment for the life sciences industry.

“The biggest area of recruitment is R&D, so scientific laboratory-focused positions,” he said. “Within the high-demand areas, obviously, senior principal scientists who have advanced therapeutics understanding are still in pretty high demand but also technical operations people who have a commercial and production angle.”

The needs of life sciences and pharma companies have become clear through some of the major jobs announcements that have happened over the last year. At the end of 2022, pharma giant Pfizer announced a major investment in its Dublin facility with plans to create hundreds of roles.

In 2023, professional services company Cognizant announced plans to expand its operations in Ireland with a boost aimed mainly at its life sciences division, while Japanese company Astellas Pharma signalled plans to build a new state-of-the-art facility in Tralee, Co Kerry.

Smith added that scientists who understand how to commercialise and people who are involved in process development have also been in high demand.

Advice for life sciences candidates

So, when it comes to advancing your career in the life sciences industry, what can jobseekers do? Smith said that along with the usual positive assets such as showing progression within previous roles, employers are looking for people who have a rounded skillset.

“[Employers want candidates] who can understand the commercial aspects behind the science, who can work in multi-stakeholder project teams and deal with that kind of matrix environment,” he said.

“I think it’s really important to understand the difference between the academic scientific side and what it means commercially for businesses and to be able to present the sort of skills that you have in a way that is going to be beneficial from a commercial perspective.”

Smith added that jobseekers should stick to the areas that they’re passionate about and directing their efforts towards organisations that work within those passions. This is how too ensure you stand out from other candidates and will be more effective than throwing CVs at the proverbial wall and seeing what sticks.

“If you follow what your real passion is and what your interest is, then that’s going to come across to employers.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading