Working in Life Sciences
Working in Life Sciences

Working in Life Sciences

Working in life sciences

Life sciences conjure up images of people working in research and development, product testing and other lab-based tasks.

However, the field also has a wide array of roles in project management, business development and sales.

Working in the life science sector can open doors to a rewarding career, advising and enabling research which could potentially lead to the discovery of life-saving medicines. Life science roles can be challenging, but a career can also be incredibly fulfilling with the right attitude and commitment.

166 survey respondents who work in life sciences

Jenny Hill, Director, Cpl Life Sciences

Jenny is a Director within the Science, Engineering and Supply Chain team. Jenny is a qualified chemist with a technical background in recruiting and managing large projects within the Biopharma & Pharma space. Jenny is also a qualified coach and is passionate about working closely with clients to find the best solutions for their needs. She is committed to building and maintaining strong relationships with both clients and candidates to achieve lasting partnerships

Jenny Hill, Director, Cpl Life Sciences

What are the best pathways to a career in life sciences?

The best way to start a career in the life science sector is to complete a university degree in a scientific discipline, such as biology or chemistry. After obtaining a degree, candidates should pursue a graduate or internship programme with a pharmaceutical firm or in a patient-facing role. Gaining work experience will not only introduce you to the working world of life sciences but will also put you in a position to gain advice and experience from people who work in roles you aspire to achieve in the future. Reaching out to a life science recruiter can also give qualified candidates further insights into the talent market, including which skills are most in demand.

What are the top soft skills needed for a career in life sciences?

Life science jobs offer a broad range of exciting opportunities, from research-oriented work to roles in the business sector. Life sciences touch on many different aspects of life, including healthcare, environment, genetics, stem cell research, and many more.

Some of the top soft skills required include communication skills, teamwork, adaptability, and workload management.

Soft skills are necessary for academic qualification to qualify for life science jobs. These skills include communication, teamwork, adaptability, and workload management. Candidates should always ensure that their soft skills are up to date to meet the industry's evolving trends.

What benefits can life science candidates expect to be offered?

Employees in biotech and pharmaceutical jobs can expect several benefits from their employers. The most common benefits include company pension contributions, medical insurance, and up to a 10% annual bonus. Some employers also offer an on-site gym and subsidised canteens, which are exclusive to employees.

128 survey respondents who work in life sciences

What flexible working arrangements can a life sciences candidate expect?

Over the past few years, many organisations have embraced flexible working arrangements, and the life science industry is no exception. Many life science jobs only require employees to be on-site for three days per week. However, work flexibility depends on the company and the position.

How does company size affect life science salaries?

Smaller employers try to match the salaries offered by larger organisations. It can be a struggle for these smaller firms to match the benefits offered by more established enterprise organisations.

However, candidates must consider all aspects of the role and their career aspirations beyond the initial remuneration package. Many smaller employers allow for a far wider array of responsibilities in a role. This breadth of experience can greatly benefit individual learning and one’s career in the long term.

​How do years of experience affect life science salaries?

As a general rule of thumb, the more years of experience an employee has, the higher their salary will be. In many life science roles, candidates can expect a minimum increase of €5,000 per annum for every additional year of experience.

How does higher education or other learning and development affect life science salaries?

Upskilling positively impacts the earning potential of any employee since it equips them with more skills, required to take on more responsibilities at work. Candidates with a master's degree receive better starting salary offers, usually between €2,000 and €3,000 more per annum.

What are the expected salary growth levels in life sciences?

As the life science industry in Ireland continues to expand, so do salaries in the field. As such, the general rate that SMBs are increasing their employees’ wages by €1,000 to €2,000 per annum. While employees at enterprise organisations can expect annual salary growth of approximately €5,000.

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