A woman working in a lab in a lab coat, mask and protective gear while using a pipette, highlighting pharma and healthcare careers.
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Pharma and healthcare careers rise in popularity, research shows

1 Jun 2021

A new employer index highlights how the pandemic has sparked greater interest in pharma and healthcare careers among Irish students.

While the world has naturally become more invested in the world of pharma, vaccines and healthcare over the past year, new research suggests Irish students have also become more interested in pharma and healthcare careers as a result of the pandemic.

An index of the most attractive employers in Ireland was carried out IrishJobs.ie in partnership with employer brand company Universum.

Surveying more than 10,000 students across business, IT, engineering, natural sciences, humanities, law and health in Ireland, the research revealed that students across all sectors are increasingly ranking pharma and healthcare companies as the most desired places to work.

In particular, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have been climbing the ranks across a variety of sectors.

Universum’s UK and Ireland business director, Steve Ward, said the growth in popularity of pharma and healthcare employers is “a very tangible reflection on how the pandemic has shaped the attitudes and aspirations of young talent in Ireland”.

“Clearly, the unprecedented contributions made by the health and pharma community in both the public and private sector has resonated with young people,” he said.

The biggest shift towards healthcare careers can be seen among business and tech students.

While the top employers for students in the business sector are predominantly tech and professional services companies such as Google, Apple, Deloitte and PwC, pharma companies have made significant gains in the last year. Pfizer moved up 18 places, hitting the 23rd spot on the list, while Johnson & Johnson moved up 12 places, landing in 27th place.

In the tech cohort of students, Big Tech held the top spots unsurprisingly, with Google, Microsoft and Apple being named the top three most attractive employers.

However, pharma and healthcare companies once again made surprising gains among tech students, with Boston Scientific, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson all cracking the top 30 for the first time. Pfizer made the biggest leap, jumping 19 places into the 29th spot.

“The increased interest in pharmaceutical and healthcare jobs is one of the biggest trends that we see emerging across all sectors, with multiple companies in this space climbing the rankings or entering the top 30 lists for the first time,” said Ward, noting the rise of interest in Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson in particular.

“Clearly the incredible work they have done in developing a Covid vaccine in a very short space of time has deservedly elevated their profile and positioned them as two of the most innovative employers in the Irish market.”

Last month, Pfizer confirmed that its Covid vaccine will be made in Ireland, creating 75 jobs in Dublin. This followed an earlier announcement at the end of 2020 that the pharma giant planned to invest around €300m in its Irish operations, creating 300 new roles over the next two to three years at its sites in Dublin, Kildare and Cork.

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.

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