Biotech In-Demand Jobs: Project Managers
Although most people think of science-based jobs when they hear the word "biotech," there are plenty of related and essential careers that require a blend of both science and business skills. Which ones, you ask? Project managers are one of them. So, let's explore what the job consists of, as well as plenty of other related details.
Project managers in the biotech industry play an especially important role on a daily basis. They need to bridge the gap between the business world and the science one, and must have a solid understanding of what's needed to complete a project as far as hours and employees are concerned, how to obtain all of the required legal certificates and authorizations from the FDA and other agencies, and the science that goes into creating the finished product or project.
Want to know more? Here’s a quick overview of a project manager’s career:
Minimum Education Requirement: Master's Degree
Median Annual Salary (2020): $92,656
Expected Job Growth until 2028: 4%
As biotech project managers obtain more experience in the field, their salary may rise accordingly, especially as they work their way up the corporate ladder.
Job Description of a Project Manager
Project managers appear in many other industries, but in biotech, they often play a very vital and highly adaptive role. Not only are they in charge of the personnel who work on a specific project, the hiring and firing workers, and moving employees around to fill in certain slots while a project is in motion, but they also must handle the necessary paperwork involved with each task.
For example, a pharmaceutical project manager is typically also in charge of all the FDA paperwork, making sure that the administration approves the medication that they have created, etc. They also work with an attorney to ensure that any needed patents are awarded in order to protect the company's products.
Compensation and Job Growth
According to Salary.com, the median annual salary at the end of 2020 for a biotech project manager was $92,656. Some earn a little less, in the low-$70,000 range, while those with plenty of experience make six figures – roughly $118,000. Although the profession is only predicted to grow by 4% between 2018 and 2028, that may change as additional biotech companies open their doors.
Crucial Skills for Project Managers
A biotech project manager must have both science and business skills. Many have an undergraduate degree in a science-based field, as well as an MBA in business administration and a Master's in public health. This combination provides them with the management skills that they need to keep projects on track and communicate with everyone involved, as well as the science skills to understand exactly what each project entails. In addition, project managers need to be excellent communicators, well-organized and good with people.
Written and verbal communication skills are important for project managers. They need to complete paperwork and forms, write internal memos and status reports to keep bosses informed as to each project's progress, and compile lists of the steps needed to complete a certain project. In addition, verbal communication is necessary, as project managers need to discuss tasks, plans and results with those working on the project, as well as conduct presentations as needed.
A project manager not only needs to be a good communicator, but they also must be highly organized. Ongoing biotech projects involve several moving pieces, from employees to technology, research, experiments and more.
To keep everything on track, the project manager is often in charge of hiring and firing employees, updating Kanban boards and other organization tools, and keeping a calendar to track deadlines and ensure that the proper paperwork is submitted on time.
Project managers spend the majority of their time working with others – so they must be “people persons” to say the least. They check in with employees to see how the project is coming along and ensure that one team working on a particular task checks in with another. Not only do they have to keep track of their workers, but they also must discuss updates and run issues by their bosses. It's important that a project manager enjoy being around and working alongside other people.
Project managers are the glue that keeps projects in the biotech industry running smoothly. They are team players who ensure that the right hand is communicating with the left hand, and vice versa. If you have an aptitude for both science and business and are a highly organized individual with great communication and people skills, a career in project management just may be the highly in-demand job you’re looking for.
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