I am a transition-year student and have started to think about university options. I really enjoy science subjects and think I have an aptitude for this area.Can you explain in simple terms the options open to me in this sector in Ireland?
Let me reassure you – any student who is contemplating a course in science/life science/biosciences or engineering and who is focused on a career in the pharmaceutical sector will not be disappointed. You may ask the question, “Well that is now – will the demand still be there by the time I complete university in five or six years’ time?
Well, let’s look at a IDA report taken from Accountancy Plus in March 2012: “The importance of FDI to the Irish economy remains highly significant. In addition to exports, FDI accounts for a total of 250,000 jobs (one in every seven jobs) in the Irish economy. Companies who have chosen Ireland as the location for their FDI operations include nine of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies and 17 of the top 25 global medical device companies.”
The pharmaceutical sector is extremely broad and for greater clarity and understanding needs to be described up the four main sub-sectors – all of which offer significant career opportunities – short and long terms and definitely within Irish shores. The four sub-sectors are:
Secondary pharmaceutiPrimary pharmaceutical
• Secondary pharmaceuticals
• Diagnostics and
This week I will discuss primary pharmaceutical in more detail and over the next two weeks will focus on the other three sub-sectors.
Primary pharmaceuticals (chemicals)
These companies are involved in chemical manufacturing, producing active pharmaceuticals ingredients supplying the secondary manufacturing sector. This sector in Ireland consists of many of the top global players.
Chemistry and chemical engineering graduates are most likely to find opportunities in this sector and people lucky enough to break into these companies will tend to have excellent career prospects.
Most scientific graduates joining these companies will commence their career within the quality control or process support functions and depending on their desired career path will move into production management, quality or technical/ process development.
Currently, as with all companies in the pharmaceutical sector, there is a constant demand for candidates in the three- to 10-year experience bracket with expertise in areas such as validation, equipment/ process engineering, quality assurance/ regulatory affairs, process development and technical production management.
Next week I will look at secondary pharmaceuticals (final dosage form and packaging).
Tanya Thomas is a Recruitment Manager with Morgan McKinley. She is based in offices in Kilkenny and Waterford. Readers can submit questions to her at JobDoctor@morganmckinley.ie