Skip to main content

5 best-paying jobs in drugs and pharmaceuticals industry

Specialty and biologic drugs will make up more than half of industry sales by 2020

5 best-paying jobs in drugs and pharmaceuticals industry

Drugs and pharmaceutical industry sales are projected to grow 5.1 percent annually to 2020, when worldwide sales will reach the trillion dollar mark, according to the 2015 Pharm Science Strategic Outlook. Specialty and biologic drugs will make up more than half of industry sales by 2020 and therapeutic vaccines are also a significant new opportunity.

Here are five of the best-paying jobs in the drugs and pharmaceutical industry. 

Biotechnology Senior Research Scientist | Median Annual Salary: $98,527

Salary outlook: Biotechnology senior research scientists assess new technologies, their future applications and propose, plan and manage research projections and report findings. They also participate in research formulating and writing with other staff. These scientists need a varied skill set, including bioinformatics, clinical research, project management and biotechnology if they want pay that's above average. Genentech, Inc. pays particularly well for this role, closer to the $160K range on average. It is noted that individuals with five to 10 years of experience begin bringing in $97K whereas those early on in their career start at $90K. San Francisco pays this position 12 percent above the national average of $97,998. 

See what drugs and pharmaceutical biology senior research scientist jobs are available and apply today. 

Research Scientist | Median Annual Salary: $82,452

Salary outlook: Research scientists write grant proposals for external research funding and are responsible for staying on top of developments in their field. For those working in a laboratory, employers are looking for experience with laboratory procedures, computer analysis and setting up and implementing experiments. For those seeking research scientists for field work, classwork experience with field techniques, data collection and observational studies is needed. Candidates need excellent analytical skills, meticulous attention to detail, patience and determination, in addition to excellent writing skills and an ability to clearly present their findings for writing research papers, reports, reviews and completing funding applications and bids. Best-paying companies include Amazon.com, IBM and Genentech, which all pay more than $120K on average. San Jose pays its research scientists 50 percent above the national average of $75,479. High-paying skills include software development, data mining/data warehouse, data modeling, engineering design and Matlab. 

See what drugs and pharmaceutical research scientist jobs are available and apply today. 

Pharmaceutical Field Sales Representative | Median Annual Salary: $71,981

Salary outlook: Pharmaceutical field sales representatives are responsible for selling an organization's technical products to a customer base or new prospects and are required to attend special trainings of products and services so they are better equipped with knowledge on the technical aspects of solutions. These sales reps prepare and maintain records for sales leads and progress status of accounts. Actacvis is one of the best-paying companies with salaries at $106K, on average. Based on PayScale data, these reps make $97K following one to two decades on the job. 

See what drugs and pharmaceutical field sales representative jobs are available and apply today. 

Pharmaceutical Outside Sales Representative | Median Annual Salary: $66,000

Salary outlook: Pharmaceutical outside sales representatives mainly make sales calls to potential and existing clients, which may require travel. Social skills and sales experience are a must for these positions, which must also monitor market conditions, product innovations and competitor's prices and sales. National sales managers can make $88K annually. Some of the best-paying companies include Anixter, ABC Supply, and Paychex, all paying in the $60K to $70K range. High-paying skills include technical sales, strategic sales and account management. Approximately one fourth of final earnings come through commissions. Sand Francisco and New York pay these roles more than 20 percent above the national average of $51,068. 

See what drugs and pharmaceutical outside sales representative jobs are available and apply today. 

Pharmaceutical Financial Analyst | Median Annual Salary: $60,025

Salary outlook: Pharmaceutical financial analysts evaluate potential investments, develop forecasts and analyze financial data. They work to determine how stable and profitable various businesses, stock and bonds are, providing recommendations to a company's management team. They may also work with various departments to cut costs. A bachelor's degree in a field related to finance, business or statistics is often required. Many companies pay in the $60K to $70K range, including, but not limited to, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank and Goldman Sachs. High-paying skills include cardiology, account sales and technical sales. Pharmaceutical financial analysts in San Francisco make 24 percent above the national average of $56,762. 

See what drugs and pharmaceutical financial analyst jobs are available and apply today. 

Note: Data is based on PayScale survey data. 

Liz Torres can be followed on Twitter @etorres446.  


Back to top