How do I get into Pharma?

Ian Kinsella 14.07.2015

As a consultant on the Supply Chain desk at Morgan McKinley there is not a day that goes by without me being asked the question “How do I get into Pharma?”

It’s no secret that the Pharma industry, particularly in Ireland, is currently experiencing significant growth. It’s also no secret that salaries and benefits in the pharma industry are often ahead of their competition from other industries.

For these reasons many job-seekers that I speak with from the FMCG, Electronics and even Med Tech industries are adamant that Pharma is the move for them.

From my experience here are 3 things that should be considered before attempting to make the move across.

1. Think your decision through

Many candidates see the Pharma Industry as a glamorous industry where there are plenty of opportunities for growth and career development. In many instances this is true, however people often overlook their own personal needs as they strive to get a growing Multinational Pharma company on their CV. Candidates who move from smaller FMCG companies can often find the pace of Pharma much slower. As the Pharma companies are often MNC’s the candidates may also feel slightly pigeonholed or restricted in their new role. Thankfully, Pharma companies are now looking to improve the quality, speed and scope of their Supply Chain processes but the important message is to qualify the company’s intentions with your consultant before you accept any position.

2. Sell your Skill-set

Many candidates feel that a Pharma company is not an option to them as they do not have previous Pharma experience. This is a preconception that has been created by traditional Pharma employers’ requirements over the past decade. It was an absolute fact that often Pharma companies mainly wanted Pharma people. However, from meeting with a number of our Pharma clients recently it is clear that the tide is beginning to turn.  In relation to planning for example skills such as customer service, relationship building and strong forecasting skills are beginning to outweigh industry experience as more and more Pharma companies outsource their operations to CMO’s internationally.

3. Open up to Contract/Temp Roles in Pharma

We have seen recently that Pharma companies have now opened up to other industries as they feel that people from the faster moving environments can actually bring a fresh approach to their Supply Chain. However, some companies when recruiting for more technical positions will still need some form of experience in Pharmaceutical processes, particularly when it comes to having some understanding of regulatory restrictions and guidelines. If you are missing this experience the solution may be a contract position. As contract roles normally require somebody who is immediately available it usually narrows the pool of candidates you will be competing with. Alongside the experience gained, a contract role is a great networking opportunity and more often than not, if you can prove yourself to be an indispensable member of the company you will often guarantee yourself a permanent role.

As mentioned above my team and I are currently working with a number of Pharmaceutical companies that have high volume requirements in Procurement, Planning and Logistics.

If you are interested in any of the opportunities advertised on our website or just want a general consultation on making of move into Pharma (or any other industry!), please do not hesitate to contact myself or a member of the Morgan McKinley Supply Chain Team.

Ian Kinsella's picture
Director - Technology Recruitment - North America
ikinsella@morganmckinley.ca

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