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How to progress your Pharmaceutical Market Research Career?

What is Market Research?
Market Research is the process of gathering and analysing information/data about customers, competitors and the market itself. An essential component of business strategy, Market Research enables companies to gain a competitive advantage, identify new business opportunities and assess & mitigate potential risks.

Within Pharmaceutical Market Research, products can be categorised into Ethical, Over the Counter (OTC), Medical Devices or Consumer:

  • Ethical: products, i.e. drugs or medical devices, which are prescribed by healthcare professionals.
  • OTC: products which can be purchased from a pharmacy.
  • Medical Devices: a broad product range which encompasses high and low-cost equipment which healthcare professionals utilise in a medical environment. For example, pacemakers, bandages, hospital beds etc.
  • Consumer: products accessible in your local supermarket i.e. cough medicine, lozenges etc.

The role of Market Research within the pharmaceutical sector is to identify which products healthcare professionals, patients and consumers will require. In addition, the outcomes determined from this research will influence the key messages to be used in all marketing materials and the multi-channel approach needed to reach the target audience.

Traditional Pharmaceutical Market Research roles
Traditional roles within this sector are:

  • Research Associate / Analyst
  • Research Executive
  • Senior Research Executive

How can you progress your career in Pharmaceutical Market Research?

If you are looking to progress your career within Pharmaceutical Market Research, you will need to have excellent communication skills, be an analytical thinker and have strong attention to detail.

Although these key characteristics are a necessity within this sector, there are also several key tasks you could complete to help progress your career that much quicker:

  1. Gather industry experience/ complete an internship
    An internship is a brilliant opportunity for candidates to enhance their knowledge and skillset and gather relevant industry experience. An internship will also enable you to gain exposure to the industry itself, allowing you to identify which positions take your preference and gain a better understanding of the necessary requirements needed to be successfully selected. It is important to note that some pharmaceutical companies offer internships / work experience placements.
     
  2. Be ambitious, dedicated and have a strong work ethic
    Exhibiting these key characteristics is always positively received by senior-level team members. But more importantly, this demonstrates your commitment to your professional development which can lead to other career opportunities.
     
  3. Attend industry events (EPHMRA & BEHBIA)
    Regularly attending industry events will enable you to increase your network of contacts. This could potentially lead to better job opportunities later in your career.

    An internship is a brilliant opportunity for candidates to enhance their knowledge and skillset. An internship will also enable you to gain exposure to the industry itself, allowing you to identify which positions take your preference and gain a better understanding of the necessary requirements needed to be successfully selected.
     
  4. Obtain a degree in a relevant subject
    Obtaining a relevant degree, i.e. Life Sciences, Business, Marketing etc; is extremely valuable as it can put you ahead of your competition and improve your career prospects.
     

What are the obstacles to a career in Pharmaceutical Market Research?

If you are looking for a role within Pharmaceutical Market Research, you may need to overcome several obstacles to have a long and successful career within the sector.

We have highlighted a couple of them below:

  • The Pharmaceutical Market Research sector is primarily deadline-driven. As a result, candidates who aren’t accustomed to this sort of environment may find it difficult to perform well. Many professionals who work within this sector regularly encounter long or changeable working hours. If you’re looking for a stable 9-5 job this probably isn’t for you.
     
  • The pace of life within an agency is very fast. Essentially, as there are many different clients and projects who are at various points in the research process, you will be required to juggle several tasks at once.

Can you transition into the Pharmaceutical Market Research industry without previous experience?

If you are looking to transition into an entry-level Pharmaceutical Market Research role, it’s not a requirement to have prior experience. However, you will need to have been educated to a minimum of a degree level within a relevant field of study.

For more senior-level positions, previous industry (pharmaceutical or healthcare) experience is an essential attribute and many companies will often only shortlist candidates who have it. However, some companies will consider candidates who have worked in Market Research but in a different industry. As a result, candidates can sometimes transition into this sector, but it is important to bear in mind that the Pharmaceutical industry have significantly more regulations compared to other industries.

Typical Pharmaceutical Market Research career progression options

If you are looking to progress your career within Pharmaceutical Market Research, a typical career path many candidates choose is highlighted below:
 

  • Research Associate / Analyst
  • Research Executive
  • Senior Research Executive
  • Research Manager
  • Associate Director
  • Director

Conclusion

As previously mentioned, a Pharmaceutical Market Research role requires candidates to have excellent communication skills and high attention to detail. If you thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment then a career in this sector may be ideal for you.

If you are looking to progress your career in Pharmaceutical Market Research or would like an informal chat to discuss your career progression opportunities, our specialist consultants can help - get in touch with them here:

Alternatively, you can view all our current vacancies within this industry on our Market Research jobs page.