8 Skills You Need to Work in the Pharmaceutical Industry

If you are excellent at science and math you may have considered a career in the pharmaceutical industry. However, you will need other skills to really excel in this career. Here are eight skills you will need to work in the pharmaceutical industry.

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A Thirst for Knowledge

You never stop learning when you work in the pharmaceutical industry, and if this is something you enjoy, it can be a great career for you. There are thousands of people involved in research in this industry all over the world and they are always discovering new things meaning that you have to keep your knowledge up to date to keep up with the industry. You can do this by taking CfPIE training courses and reading industry journals.

Research Skills

Even if you are not directly involved in research you could make scientific discoveries and you will need to know what you are looking at to realize what you have found. For example, scientist Alexander Fleming was researching staphylococcus. He went on holiday and left his Petri dishes for someone else to clean. On his return, he found that nobody had washed up and the dishes were moldy. However, he had inadvertently discovered penicillium. If he wasn’t curious about what he saw and didn’t research it further, he might have just washed them up and never made the discovery.

Good Interpersonal Skills

Many people in the pharmaceutical industry work as part of a team. You aren’t going to be able to do everything by yourself so working as part of a group is imperative if you want to do well in the industry. This will matter even more if you want to climb the career ladder and manage a team of scientists yourself. You may find yourself having to explain your skills to people outside of the industry. For example, you may need to talk to government officials or explain to an anxious mother why you are suggesting they try a product for their sick child. To do this you will need to be able to explain yourself in a language that can be understood. This can be difficult as the industry is full of jargon and things that only people with a scientific background would understand. This is where your interpersonal skills come in.

Ability to Prioritize

In the pharmaceutical industry, a lot of things can happen at once and you need to be great at prioritizing your workload. This is a fantastic skill to learn in any industry, but it is especially important in the pharmaceutical industry because whether someone gets their drugs or not could be a matter of life and death.


Organizational skills are important if you want to have a great career in the pharmaceutical industry. Having a calm, structured, and organized mind will get you a long way as it will stop you from making mistakes and help you to prioritize your workload.

Attention to Detail

You will need to have superb attention to detail because this is an industry where there is no room for error. Mistakes can cost lives and it is important that patients don’t get the wrong medication or a different amount of medication than they were expecting. Mistakes can lead to patients overdosing or not getting the medication that they desperately need, and you could find yourself at the end of a lawsuit very quickly if you aren’t accurate.


One way of making sure you don’t miss anything important is to be methodical. If you are the sort of person who naturally wants to work through problems stage by stage rather than getting creative and thinking outside the box, then this career would suit you. The industry can often involve getting your head down and concentrating for long periods of time so the ability to be methodical will save you from getting lost in what you are doing and allow you to keep on top of your work.

IT Skills

Most information is recorded online or in a computer program and so it is good to have some IT skills to help you with your job in the pharmaceutical industry. Understanding different programs will mean that you don’t have to spend hours learning different things and you can find the information you need at the touch of a button. Most businesses require their staff to have reasonable IT skills, but it is especially important in the pharmaceutical industry because you are often looking at numbers rather than letters which can be more difficult to interpret and easier to input incorrectly.

These are the main skills you will need for a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. Consider whether you have these or not if you want to follow this career path and be successful.

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