While the benefits and rewards medicines provide are huge, so too is the effort and investment that goes into developing and making a new medicine that can save lives or radically improve people’s quality of life. By the time a new medicine reaches patients, it will have typically been in development for up to twelve years, from the initial stages of identifying and isolating molecules to three phases of testing, and an ongoing phase of ‘pharmacovigilance’ that ensures its ongoing safety and ever-improving performance.

In Ireland, over 25,000 people are employed in the pharmaceutical industry in roles from manufacturing to marketing and from research to patient education. In the journey to developing and delivering a medicine, a whole number of skills and professions are involved along the way, including chemists, pharmacists, researchers, doctors, engineers, marketers and machine operators. Every step of the process has to be managed carefully and adhere to strict regulations, generating many jobs in compliance and quality assurance throughout every process.

Despite the prolonged economic recession, the industry here remains relatively resilient and requires a constant stream of science graduates at secondary, third and post graduate levels. The continuing take-up of science in schools is critical to sustaining the country’s competitiveness. Industry has invested heavily in recent years promoting science and the results are startlingly evident with the increase in the number of students taking science subjects.

There are good reasons to consider careers in Ireland’s pharmaceutical sector. In addition to a wide diversity of career opportunities, statistics from the CSO show that workers in the sector earn on average almost 30% more than the national average. The industry provides a stable and secure career environment for graduates to gain multinational experience right on their own doorstep and to participate in the global effort to improve and prolong people’s lives.

Ireland’s success in attracting biotechnology companies here adds another exciting dimension to the careers on offer. Biotechnology uses biological systems or cells to make or modify products that can be used as medicines, and will generate many more medicines in the future, many of which will be personalised for individual use.

As the industry here moves towards being increasingly knowledge-led in all its activities, the prospects for employees and the economy are considerable and growing.


Jobs and Career Opportunities
The following lists broad categories of activities in the industry outlining some of the jobs and career opportunities available.

IPHA is a member of -


For medicines and clinical trials information visit -

medicines.ieself-care.ieICTRP Portal