The Pharma industry is a wide world, full of opportunities for anyone who is a little bit science-minded, with a bent towards helping people manage illnesses and other health conditions. Whether you’re a woman, a man, or a gender non-conforming individual, there are plenty of opportunities to find a lucrative niche in the Pharma world, all the while propelling the development of drugs that serve to lower the suffering of others.
That being said, the Pharma industry, and especially all areas that pertain directly to biotech, leave a lot to be answered for when it comes to gender diversity among their leading ranks. Female top executives in biotech accounted for less than 10 percent of the leaders across the industry in 2019, and there’s no reason to assume that much progress has been made in the past year or so. Seeing as biotech and Big Pharma firms have median salaries in the hundreds of thousands, that means that women are getting a significantly smaller slice of a very lucrative pie.
This means that if you’re a woman looking for great business ideas for women and think you may have a place in Big Pharma, there are plenty of great roles you can get involved in. You’ll be mitigating the suffering of others and bettering your industry, just by being a female executive. Read on for some great Pharma careers you should be considering, whether you’re a scientist or not.
It’s not enough just to make the drugs; you also have to sell them. This means that every major Pharma company, from Pfizer to Johnson & Johnson, needs salespeople. And those salespeople need training. If you’re a charismatic person with the self-confidence and savvy to sell ice in the wintertime, you may see yourself in the role of training salespeople to sell new drugs. After all, if you can sell products, then you can also sell your skills to students.
If, on the other hand, you’re not particularly interested in teaching, you can also offer your sales experience to Big Pharma companies as a consultant. You, as an experienced salesperson, know the sales training topic that should get the most focus. You also know what’s a waste of time, which is sometimes even more important. Don’t underestimate the value of your know-how. You can make a difference (and a great salary) just by consulting on sales for some huge corporations.
Similar to sales, all the Big Pharma firms have a marketing division as well. Are you more of a creative? Maybe your role in the Pharma industry doesn’t have to do with making the drugs but with making them look fabulous in stills and videos. Videos are of particular importance when it comes to marketing since they’re known to generate more clicks than stills, which is why many firms invest a lot in product video production. If you have an eye for a great frame or a talent for storyboarding commercial videos, you may be able to find a role working on video production for a new, life-saving drug. Getting the information about these drugs into the right hands in an accessible way can actually save lives.
Most firms have many different products that they’re working on, across many different teams, sometimes in disparate time zones and countries. It can get a little confusing. That’s why many firms, whether Big Pharma or otherwise, hire experienced project managers with a knack for administration to keep tabs on things. One framework that’s used by a great many large companies, and was actually pioneered by Google, is the concept of OKRs.
OKRs, or objectives and key results, provide a framework for project management that allows all teams to stay focused on the overarching company goals and to maintain an awareness of progress in real-time. As a project manager, your first order of business should be recommending that the firm your work for invests in some OKR tracking software so that they can start making adjustments as needed, instead of waiting until the end of the quarter. This can maximize returns in a huge way, and your new bosses will be thanking you very soon.
Of course, there’s always drug development, too. Even that area of Big Pharma could stand to be shaken up a little by some new executive ideas. Just because things have always been done in a certain way doesn’t mean they have to be done that way forever. For example, before the Coronavirus vaccine (which was developed in six months), the quickest vaccine to be developed was for the mumps. That took four years.
Another example is the inspirational work being done by Roivant Sciences. Vivek Ramaswamy, the CEO and founder of Roivant, has made it his mission to take as many smaller organizations (or ‘Vants’) under his umbrella organization as possible. He aims to revive abandoned drug trials and make them into functioning drugs for all kinds of ailments. Often drugs are abandoned because not enough people suffer from an ailment to make the drug lucrative or because the trial or study runs out of funding. Ramaswamy and the Roivant team aren’t interested in hearing those reasons. What they’re doing is inspirational and will help countless people.
You, too, can shake things up. If you have a background in biotech, this may be a great opportunity to get in there and ruffle some feathers. Show people that there’s more than one way to approach drug development and that you may be the executive who makes headlines for their firm—in the best way possible.
Whatever your background, there are plenty of ways to get involved in the Big Pharma industry. If you’re passionate about healing, but don’t want to be a doctor, this may be the perfect career path for you. Whether you end up in sales training, marketing, project management, drug development, or any other area of Pharma, you won’t regret that you spent time helping people feel better. After all, making the world a better place is what we’re here for, isn’t it?