As an increasingly globalised industry, with high demand for skilled workers, it can provide you with the opportunity to gain international experience working in a key regional market in Europe or internationally.
Some interesting statistics are presented in a 2016 report carried out by Hobson Prior - 'Global mobility in life sciences' (link on the right of this page). The report is based on a survey of 1,527 Life Science professionals, 48% from the UK and 56% working within the pharmaceutical industry.
The most popular reasons given for moving to work abroad were:
Of respondents from the UK included in the survey, a quarter had moved internationally for work. This is a smaller proportion than seen for most other European countries with 58% moving from France, 59% moving from Germany and 60% moving from Eastern Europe. This has been attributed mainly to language barriers (31% of UK professionals mentioned this as a concern).
Once you have moved abroad, what is the likelihood that you will be happy with your move? The same survey showed that the vast majority of life science professionals were happy for both career and lifestyle reasons.
It is an exciting opportunity, and does not have to be a permanent decision, with 6-12 month contracts giving you the chance to experience working abroad without making a permanent decision.
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The Hobson Prior report found that, of UK respondents who moved abroad:
Working outside of the EU will require a working visa, however if you have a job set up, or possess skills that are desirable to employers, this will be attainable. For more information on working outside the EU, as well as up to date information on working within the EU, please see
If you have an undergraduate or post graduate qualification, or have experience within the pharmaceutical industry, you will have skills and attributes that make you employable across the globe. In addition, with English being a widely spoken language, you may not need to learn another language. However, proficiency in speaking other languages could help open doors to more job opportunities.
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Pharmaceutical careers are available in all the usual capacities as in the UK. From the Hobson prior report, it was found that the most mobile pharmaceutical professions were:
As well as these, other professions, which saw 30%-40% of respondents work abroad, included clinical operations, medical affairs, regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance/drug safety and medical sales.
Specific information on pharmaceutical careers can be found on our page; working in the industry.
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At school I was very interested in health and disease but I didn’t want to go into medicine and work with patients directly.