Life science consulting can be a rewarding career and the job outlook is promising for the future.
Perhaps you have heard of life science consulting jobs but do not exactly know what type of work is involved, or the education and experience needed to become a life science consultant.
Life science consultants often work closely with a company in a life science industry — the company is referred to as the consultant’s client. The consultant is expected to help their client achieve specific operational and financial goals. A consultant will typically work with many companies during their career and will build valuable experience and expertise in various business and operational areas in the life science industry. The career outlook for life science consulting is promising as the size of the consulting market worldwide was $132 billion in 2020, according to the Statista Research Department.
Before working with a new client, a consultant must sign a consulting agreement with the client, which includes the project description, payment conditions, contract length and more. The services of the life science consultant may be needed until a specific date, until the project is completed or ongoing for a longer length of time.
Consulting can be a rewarding career as it involves helping clients find solutions to their unique business questions and problems. A consultant must use analytical thinking to gather and analyze data to solve problems, and finally present the results to the client in a manner that can be applied to their business.
Read more about life science consulting jobs below to get a better understanding of the kinds of services a life science consultant provides, the education and experience requirements and the salary range.
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Life science consulting is a service-based, client-facing job where a consultant is hired by a client to help them solve a problem or reach a certain goal. Clients in the life science industry can include those from pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech companies, among others.
There are many services in different areas that a life science consultant may provide. Here are some examples:
- Life science research: A consultant in this area supports a client’s pursuit of innovation in research. In this role, a consultant may design a laboratory research project and plan the resources needed to make it happen. A consultant may review the different types of laboratory technologies a company site has on hand and suggest better management and use of them.
- Data analytics and digital transformation: A consultant in this role would work to help a client transition to using the latest big data analytical methods and incorporate digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning and augmented/virtual reality. Such technologies have much promise in many different applications, including clinical trial monitoring, identifying outliers in data more quickly, assisting in profit forecasting and more. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of digital technologies in the biopharma industry as most companies had to rapidly switch to conducting a lot of business remotely or virtually.
- Regulatory compliance: This involves assisting a client to meet regulatory requirements. A consultant may provide regulatory services such as ensuring regulatory requirements are met for products, helping prepare for inspection audits or assisting with implementing software that manages quality and regulatory information.
- Product development: In this area, a consultant helps a client launch a new product. This can involve working through all stages of product development, from discovering new product opportunities to cutting the time needed to bring a product to the market. Products can include pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biotechnological products.
- Commercial strategy: Building a commercial strategy involves strategic planning to optimize success on the market. Consultants may need to study market trends, devise product launch plans and anticipate sales and profits under different scenarios.
Much of the work of a life science consultant involves gathering and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data from sources like research publications, surveys, interviews, reports and national/international statistical data. The consultant will then use their findings to prepare professional reports, presentations and proposals for their client.
Education and Experience Requirements
People with formal training and education in a life science field, such as biochemistry, pharmacology, ecology and many others, can pursue a career as a life science consultant. Companies typically look to hire individuals with either a bachelor’s degree or graduate degrees (MSc or PhD) in the life sciences. People with post-secondary education in business, management and law are also hired because consultants may need relevant business experience for certain projects; for instance, if performing management consulting for a life science company.
It is important to note that some life science consulting jobs may not require advanced business knowledge, especially for projects that require a deep knowledge in a specific life science discipline. Most entry-level consultants, including new hires with a PhD, are often employed by larger consulting firms that can provide good training to their entry-level employees. It is still a good idea to learn business concepts and have a sound understanding of commercial operating models in the life sciences. If you have a life science degree and want formal education in business, there are many colleges and universities that offer a certificate in business program that can be done part-time or full-time.
Regarding experience, most job advertisements for life science consultants request internships or work experience in a life science field, such as medical affairs, biotechnology and pharmaceutical processes among others. Preferred candidates also have experience with supporting sales, marketing enablement, analyzing data from companies and industries, making policy recommendations and implementing strategies for teams.
The salary of a life science consultant depends on a combination of experience and educational training. The average annual salary of a life science consultant can range from around $60,000 to over $180,000 per year. In the US, the average annual base pay for a life science consultant is approximated to be $107,000 per year.
Like many jobs in the life sciences, salary is related to work experience and education. Industry-wise, major global consulting firms are usually able to pay more than smaller consulting firms.
While life science consulting jobs generally pay well, a higher consulting salary usually comes with unpredictable and long working hours, including working on some weekends to meet deadlines. Prospective applicants should be able to manage their time well and consider what an acceptable work-life balance would be for them.
It is never too late to start applying to your ideal job. Visit Xtalks Job Search to see all the exciting new openings in the pharma, biotech and medical device industries.