The Biotechnology industry has seen phenomenal growth in recent years, with the Covid-19 pandemic propelling the sector to new levels due to an unprecedented surge of medical advancements.
As the sector continues to soar, so does interest in the industry, with more and more people considering a career in Biotech. And this growing market means that career opportunities are opening up worldwide, which is welcome news for all involved.
However, if you are just starting out in the field, the whole Biotech sphere can feel a little daunting, and you might not know what to expect. But don’t worry, we’re here to tell you all about what the Biotech life is actually like, with a peek into all those behind-the-scenes secrets, alongside our top tips for breaking into the booming Biotech industry.
What is it actually like to work in Biotech?
Salary and benefits
As you progress through the ranks in Biotechnology, the salary increases you receive should be worth all the hard work, time and effort spent entering the career. Typically, the Biotech field offers decent salaries and excellent benefits like work flexibility, generous long-term incentives and personal support.
The combination of reasonable wages and working towards a mission that resonates with you means that career and salary satisfaction are almost guaranteed working in this field.
Opportunities for growth and career progression
A buzzing field of innovation, excellence and groundbreaking advancements, the Biotech field is bursting with opportunities and prospects around every corner. As such, your career will never come to a halt. Fast-paced and always looking forward, it’s only natural that your career prospects will go the same way.
Also, when you’re surrounded by like-minded, bright people just like you, your knowledge and skillset will grow, and your new connections may provide further opportunities later down the line.
Biotechnology careers promise room for growth, and once you land that first job, the opportunities will come rolling in so you can start forging your own path towards a successful, prosperous career.
Freedom to relocate
Biotechnology is thriving, and that’s not just here in the UK. With the sector booming all across the globe, even more so in the US, it literally means that the world is your oyster.
On the other hand, if you want to work for a certain company but they are located too far away from you to make commuting possible, or you don’t want to relocate, the adoption of hybrid and remote working in the biotech sector enables you to fulfil that wish as you can work from wherever you are in the world.
So, no matter where you are in the world or wherever you want to be, the Biotechnology industry will be there to accommodate and welcome you with open arms.
Working towards something that matters
No matter which pocket of the industry you’re in, whether you’re on the Board, in the lab, in an office or even handling the phone calls, all your work contributes to something meaningful.
Your job is important, important to the lives of many. So, when you log off and return home after a day on the job, you know you’ve done something for the greater good. It’s engaging, fascinating and intellectually fulfilling work, all going on inside a high-tech, innovative environment that you can’t replicate anywhere else. This is a cutting-edge field, and no two days will ever be the same.
And again, if your company’s mission means something to you, you’ll benefit from high career satisfaction knowing you can turn up to the job every day with a positive mindset.
It can be overwhelming
When you’re just starting out in Biotech, it can all just feel a little, well, baffling. Industry jargon is rife, meaning there’ll always be many things to learn due to the nature of the field.
Consequently, when you first step into the industry, it might feel like you just want to step straight back out. But with a little time, perseverance and a lot of listening to your peers and your own online research, you’ll be there in no time.
In a world that relies on research, hypotheses and experiments, failure is pretty much just business as usual. Projects can be shut down at the drop of a hat, and all the hard work that goes into new drug development might not even make it to clinical trials.
Adaptability, determination and a genuine passion for the work you’re doing are all key factors to surviving in this industry. With many projects not making it past the research phase, you must be a lover of the research phase itself. And you never know; your next big break could be just around the corner.
Fast-paced and built on innovation, it’ll probably come as no surprise that time is of the essence in this sector. Many roles within Biotechnology revolve around deadlines and time constraints, so it’s likely that you’ll be working in a pressurised, often stressful environment. After all, these life-changing medicines and drugs are needed constantly, so it’s only right that scientists are given firm deadlines.
Despite this, as long as you’re an organised, efficient individual who is happy and capable of working under such pressure, you’ll have absolutely no trouble.
Rules and regulations
For those that like to work solo, slotting into the life of Biotech could feel like quite a shift from your usual workplace dynamic.
While independence is still necessary, the ability to work as a team is a must. But it’s not just your in-house team you’ll need to appease. The industry is strict, and everything you produce must meet specific requirements from the FDA and other agencies.
With so many hurdles to jump through, alongside lots of paperwork to process, things can sometimes feel a little overwhelming and a bit of a slog, especially if you’re incredibly independent. However, that’s only one small snippet of the industry.
How to break into the Biotechnology industry
The market is growing as we speak, and promising career opportunities are popping up everywhere, both in giant, successful corporations and small, entrepreneurial startups.
But with so much out there and so much to learn, it can feel incredibly overwhelming and intimidating. So, how do you even begin breaking into Biotech?
To land a role in the lab, you’ll likely need some qualifications behind you, such as an undergraduate degree in a relevant scientific subject. Also, postgraduate qualifications like a master’s degree or a PhD will be a welcome bonus to an employer, showing off your proficient research skills. Although university-level education is not necessarily a deadset requirement, it’s definitely handy to have as many advertised Biotech roles are bound to ask for an undergraduate degree.
Not only will a relevant degree be beneficial, but some work experience in the field will also go a long way. Experience working in a scientific laboratory is sure to impress employers, and many university courses in the sciences will include work placements as part of the course, ticking off two prerequisites in one.
You might want to consider applying to work for smaller biotech companies as they typically struggle when it comes to recruitment, increasing your chances of securing a job in the sector. Approaching these companies would be beneficial for both parties in this scenario, with everyone’s needs being met.
Working in Biotechnology typically means a lot of researching, analysing and repeat. So, with demonstrable research experience and up-to-date knowledge of the latest research developments, you’ll definitely be well on your way to nailing those job interviews.
And now we come onto the skills that you can’t pick up in the classroom. Typical traits and soft skills a Biotechnology company will look for when considering a new hire include:
- An avid problem-solver
- A lover of research, analytics and data
- Thorough, meticulous and has an eye for even the finest details
All in all, with the right drive, ambition and a diverse set of skills and knowledge in the field, the better your chances will be for landing that first job in Biotech. And as a result, you can get to work saving the lives of thousands.
Is a career in Biotechnology worth it?
Absolutely. Even though you’ll need to invest money into your studies and a lot of time and effort into actually landing that first job, the final outcome will be worth it.
With the industry booming and the world always needing new, cutting-edge scientists to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, your career opportunities are plentiful. And once your foot is in the door, the only way is up. Biotechnology provides a long-term career of growth, with opportunities waiting around every corner.
A career in Biotechnology is not just a career; it’s a shared mission towards one common goal: bettering the world for both the present and the future.