The Pros and Cons of Working in the Biotech Industry

Pictured: Scientists working in laboratory/Getty I

Pictured: Scientists working in laboratory/Getty I

Like any field, there are upsides and downsides to working in biotech, and educating yourself can help you make an informed decision if you’re considering a career in this industry.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in interest in biotech careers. Considering the emergence of COVID-19 and the number of people facing medical issues they could never have imagined, this is not surprising.

There are numerous jobs available in the biotech industry at every level, whether you’re an expert with a graduate degree or just entering the field. If you’re considering a career in this field, you might start to wonder whether working in the biotech industry is worth it or not.

Sure, it’s easy to look at the perks and upsides of the industry, such as working toward the betterment of society and having a hand in saving human lives. At the same time, there’s bound to be some cons to consider. After all, just because you have a passion or interest in something doesn’t mean that it’s the best path for your career.

Here is a list of the pros and cons of a career in the biotechnology industry to help you in your search.

Pros of Working in the Biotech Industry

There are several positive and rewarding aspects of the industry to note if you’re looking for a job or career change.

Making a Difference

No matter which sector of the biotech industry you’ll be working in, all the work you’re doing is geared towards helping people live happier and healthier lives.

Jeanne Nicholson, an executive at CBG Benefits and the founder of HR Biotech Connect, said it best when she told Business Insider that employees in this field are mission-driven. She said, “They’re not manufacturing nuts and bolts. They’re looking to cure incurable diseases.”

Not many kinds of work have such meaning attached to the labor, so your satisfaction with a career in biotech is bound to be high if that mission is meaningful to you.

Optimal Pay

Many biotech companies offer high wages along with good benefits, so the pay is not likely something you’ll have to worry about if you choose to work in this field.

Jared Auclair, director of the biotechnology and bioinformatics programs at Northeastern, states that the typical starting salary for one of their students with a master’s degree is [between] $75,000 and $85,000 per year, and he believes it will only increase in the coming years.

The starting salaries for different professions such as biomedical engineer, biochemist, biophysicists, biotechnology research scientists, microbiologists, and many others all start at a minimum of about $75,000 a year. Depending on which route you choose, the starting pay may be higher.

Opportunities to Advance

The biotech industry is filled to the brim with numerous opportunities you can take advantage of to advance your career to new heights. There’s rarely going to be a standstill in your role since the nature of the industry hinges upon changes in public health and safety.

The growing market indicates that more career opportunities will be available, regardless of whether you’re looking at large multi-millionaire corporations or entrepreneurial startups.

Suppose you’re genuinely interested in kickstarting your biotech career. In that case, it’ll be beneficial to pay attention to how the industry is currently in need of innovative leaders with the skillsets of cross-functional expertise, scientist, business strategist, and public policy advocate.

The more diverse skills, advanced scientific knowledge and intellectual flexibility you have, the better. With the right drive and planning, you will be able to pursue a global career in the biotech industry and save lives along the way.

Cons of Working in the Biotech Industry

For a well-rounded view of what you’re getting into, the negatives should also be taken into account. No career path is perfect, and working in the biotech industry comes with its challenges and downsides, like any other.

Strict Deadlines

Although it may ultimately depend on which sector of the industry you find yourself in, many jobs in the biotech industry are deadline-based. The phrase “time is money” goes into full drive here, since companies need to develop medicines and drugs in a set time frame.

The work environment can, therefore, become quite stressful, and it requires someone who can be organized and efficient in the workspace without getting too shaken.

Less Autonomy

If you’re prone to do things your way with plenty of freedom, you might struggle to assimilate into the biotech industry. There is usually a strong teamwork culture when working in biotech, and there are many rules and regulations to follow.

For example, the FDA and many other agencies have strict measures that biotech companies must adhere to for their products to be approved.

Since the nature of the work is directly connected to public safety and health, it is only natural for such guidelines to be in place. However, this means there will be times when you’ll have to put your own judgments aside and focus on what’s best for the team.

Extensive Travel

There may be many times when your biotech job will require you to travel long distances. This means taking time off may become more difficult, and your personal life may become strained.

It is always a good idea to research beforehand whether the position you wish to apply to will have such requirements or not if it is a problem for you.

Final Takeaway

If you’re considering a career in the biotech industry, it’s important to have a comprehensive and accurate view of the field. Like any field, there are upsides and downsides, and knowing them beforehand can help you make the most informed decision possible.