With 100% of NHS trusts supporting opportunities for people to actively participate in clinical research according to the NHS National Institute for Health Research, it’s unsurprising that the field also offers many exciting science jobs for those in possession of a nursing, life sciences or medical sciences degree.

Clinical research associates are responsible for the coordination of clinical trials for new or current drugs, so that the benefits and risks of their use can be assessed. Employment is usually within a pharmaceutical firm or contract research organisation (CRO) working on behalf of pharmaceutical companies.

What are a clinical research associate’s day-to-day duties?

The exact tasks that one can be expected to perform in this role depend on the employer, but typically range from the writing of drug trial methodologies (procedures) and the identification and briefing of appropriate trial investigators (clinicians) to monitoring the progress of a trial and writing reports.

Clinical research associates also often need to present trial protocols to a steering committee, identify and assess which facilities are suitable for use as clinical trial sites, ensure that all unused trial supplies are accounted for and close down trial sites on the completion of a trial, among many other possible responsibilities.  

As stated by Rebecca, one clinical research associate profiled in a case study on the website of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, “No two days are the same. Every compound and every study is different, so each one has unique areas you need to look at.”

What qualities are required for this role?  

There is a wide range of attributes that tend to lend themselves well to a clinical research associate career, including a confident, outgoing personality, an ability to work independently and take initiative, teamwork, tact, attention to detail and good organisational and time management skills.

Great written and oral communication skills are also a must for building effective relationships with trial centre staff and colleagues, as is an enjoyment of travel, given the great amount of time that those in this job can expect to spend out of the office visiting trials.

What qualifications are needed?

To secure a role as a clinical research associate, you will almost certainly need to have a degree or postgraduate qualification in nursing, life sciences or medical sciences. This covers such subjects as anatomy, biochemistry, chemistry, immunology, pharmacology or physiology.

Those lacking a degree or who only possess an HND are unlikely to be able to break into this field. It may occasionally be possible for them to start in an administrative role – as a clinical trials administrator or NHS study-site coordinator, for example. However, even in this instance, considerable experience – if not also additional qualifications – would be required to progress.

Is a job as a clinical research associate right for me?

Those with a suitable science background who are interested in a role involving a high level of interaction with people and plenty of travel – potentially internationally – are likely to find a clinical research associate role highly rewarding.

However, this job does also have its negative aspects, including tight deadlines and a high degree of pressure, so it is important to consider whether you would thrive in this kind of environment – as well as whether you have the time management skills to look after what may be several trials simultaneously.

Finally, there is the matter of pay. With starting salaries of around £22,000 to £28,000, rising to as much as £60,000 in some senior roles, life as a clinical research associate can also bring decent monetary reward.

Start looking for the latest exciting clinical jobs here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions today, or enquire to our team to learn more about our highly informed and specialised science recruitment services. We can be your partner on your journey to success in your new science career. 


Having a job offer in your hand is an exciting moment to say the least. You’ve worked so long and hard to get it, and now, you’re in a position of what may feel like relatively rare control in your hunt for a lucrative and rewarding science role.

So, do you simply accept the offer?

Not necessarily. While the graduate job market undoubtedly remains an intensely competitive one – a recent report by The Telegraph suggesting there are still 39 applications for every graduate job – there are still some things that you should consider at this stage if you are to avoid making a decision you’ll regret.

Take a few deep breaths

Despite what may be your great eagerness for the role that may tempt you to accept the job offer by phone as soon as it is communicated to you, it’s highly recommended to get the offer in writing, not least so that you can examine the entire offer and all of its terms.

As with anything else that involves signing on a dotted line, it’s vital to know what you are committing to, which is why it’s also a good idea – if possible – to have a trusted advisor read the offer and give their opinion and guidance.

As alluded to above, this is an unusual stage of the job search process at which you really do have full control. Furthermore, the more professional and considered your response is to this job offer, the better it will reflect on you from the perspective of both your present and potential employer.  

Now could be a good time to negotiate

Sometimes, a job offer may not match your expectations – or you may have several offers from which to choose. You may therefore be in a position to negotiate that you will hardly ever encounter again in your career.

When contemplating and preparing a counter-offer, you should consider a wide range of factors relating to the offer presently in your hand, from the annual salary or hourly rate, right through to location, holiday time, training opportunities and whether you will be given a company car.

Naturally, your exact list of considerations will depend on the exact position and responsibilities and your personal priorities. The University of Brighton Careers Service has a useful and comprehensive guide to what else you should think about when evaluating a job offer.

Take care in your transition from your old role

As intimidating as it might be to approach your boss and tell them that you are leaving, this is a crucial professional courtesy to provide to your present employer.

It is certainly in your interests to make the transition as smooth and as amicable as possible, not just because of the potential implications for your professional reputation, but also because you can never guarantee that you won’t one day work for the same manager again.  

Once the formalities of notifying your present employer have been dealt with, it’s a good idea to send your new manager and HR manager a ‘thank you’ note and attend your new workplace in person as soon as possible. This will help to show your enthusiasm and eagerness to get started in the new role.

Finally, don’t forget to inform any other potential employers that have presented you with an offer of your decision, so that they can know at the earliest stage you have ruled yourself out of consideration.

Could our high-level know-how in such specialised science fields as biotechnology, pharmacology and CRO/CMO make all of the difference when you are on the lookout for the perfect role? Contact Hyper Recruitment Solutions today to learn more about our full suite of services as a science recruitment agency.  


‘Company culture’ may be an elusive thing to define at times, but neither employers nor candidates are in any doubt as to its importance.

A survey cited in The New York Times found that eight in 10 employers worldwide considered ‘cultural fit’ to be their top hiring priority. Meanwhile, ‘people and culture fit’ was the top thing that Millennials looked for in an employer, according to research cited in Harvard Business Review, above even ‘career potential’ and ‘work/life balance’.

So, once you have undergone all of the stress of applying for science jobs, passing through the interview and then finally securing your dream role, how can you ensure you are that ‘cultural fit’ your employer is likely to desire so much?

Thoroughly research the organisation

The more you know about the culture of your employer before you walk through its doors, the more proactive you can be in adapting to and embodying that culture – so be sure to do your homework well in advance.

Have you discussed the company culture with the contacts that you already have within the organisation, such as the HR staff that interviewed and hired you? Do your friends have any contacts that have worked for the company before and can give you some tips?

The Internet is also a good place to research companies, but be careful here – with Glassdoor reviews being anonymous, you can never be completely sure as to their authenticity. It may therefore be better to thoroughly immerse yourself in your new employer’s website first, paying particular attention to any ‘vision’ or ‘mission statement’ pages.

Take an open approach

It can take a while to fully acclimatise to the culture of a new employer, and organisations tend to be understanding of this. Indeed, in your early days, you should focus just as much on becoming accustomed to the company’s culture and people as you do on the work itself.

Be observant, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if necessary, of co-workers as well as your boss. Make any notes that you need to make of people’s names, job titles and contact details, as forgetting this information will be much more embarrassing later on than it will be during your first days and weeks at the company.

Maintain engagement over time

Don’t presume that you are automatically embedded into your company’s culture once the first week, month or even quarter has passed. The truth is that fitting in with the culture of your new employer will require continual effort, not least as culture naturally shifts over time with changes in workload and priorities.

So, take every opportunity that you can, even when you have spent a year or more in your new position, to ingrain yourself further into the culture of the company, such as by attending and participating in any weekly meetings, annual conferences and holiday parties.

The more steps that you can take to fit into the culture of your employer, the less likely you are to be among the 89% of hiring failures – according to one Forbes article from a few years ago – that are attributable to poor cultural fit.    

Are you looking to partner with a science recruitment agency with the strongest track record in enabling ambitious people like you to secure the best science jobs? If so, simply get in touch with Hyper Recruitment Solutions today, or read more about the many sectors in which we have hiring expertise.   

The pharmaceutical sector is one of the principal ones that we serve here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, with many employment experts in this field among our staff.

There’s also no question that the industry is a diverse, complex and potentially highly rewarding one for new recruits, with even starter pharmacologists typically earning between £25,000 and £28,000 a year, according to the National Careers Service.

But what do you need to know if you are to break into the sector for the first time?

First of all, make sure you have the right skills

There is a wide range of skills that will require in order to succeed in the pharmaceutical industry. These include strong IT skills, encompassing data retrieval and analysis, as well as good communication skills for giving presentations and writing papers and reports.

You will also need to be able to solve problems and come up with creative solutions in experiments, work collaboratively in multidisciplinary teams and organise yourself and manage your time well. Leadership potential is another key requirement.

What qualifications are necessary?

Although it isn’t unheard-of for school leavers to secure pharmaceutical jobs – according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) – this is not common and further career progress would depend on the possession of higher qualifications.

To stand the best chance of securing your first pharmaceutical role, you are likely to need a degree in pharmacology, although entry may be possible with a degree in another scientific subject such as biochemistry, neuroscience, microbiology or physiology.

For employment at the major pharmaceutical companies that receive an especially high level of interest from candidates, a relevant postgraduate qualification such as a pharmacology MSc or PhD may be essential, or at least highly advantageous.

What is the role of work experience?

Work experience can be invaluable for enabling you to see what life in the pharmaceutical industry is really like, as well as to talk to those already in the sector and start making useful contacts. The presence of work experience on your CV will also show to employers that you have a genuine interest in working in the sector.

Finding a relevant placement can be extremely difficult if you are under 16, but not impossible, with some pharmaceutical firms happy to provide local students with experience in an office.

If you are 16-18, you may be able to secure a one-week or two-week work experience placement during school holidays. However, such opportunities are rarely advertised, so you will almost certainly need to get in touch with companies directly.

When you are considering university courses, it is strongly advisable to choose a course that offers a ‘year in industry’ – also sometimes referred to as a sandwich or industrial placement year. If such a placement year is not possible, it’s a good idea to aim to obtain work experience during the long summer holidays.

How can Hyper Recruitment Solutions help?

When you are looking to secure that all-important first role in pharmacology, the assistance of the right science recruitment agency can be invaluable. Hyper Recruitment Solutions has long been that agency for a wide range of individuals seeking science jobs, with a high level of expertise in relation to the pharmaceutical sector.

Talk to our experts today about how we can serve you with our broad range of services geared towards the needs of candidates. 

  
Today’s candidates for science jobs in such fields as pharmacology, biotechnology and medical devices are generally savvy and understand the need to prepare well for an interview, including by researching their prospective employer.

The latter is vital not just for giving applicants a sense of what kind of company they could soon be working for, but also for helping them to confirm that this is definitely an organisation for which they would like to work.

After all, past research has indicated that 42% of workers are motivated by how well they get on with their colleagues, and 22% by how their manager treats them.

However, with even the most disreputable firms able to make themselves look good these days by having an impressive website designed complete with engaging written copy, the interview may be the first time you come into contact with your potential employer as they truly are.

In that case, what are the things that you need to look out for?

The premises

As you approach the site of your interview, you should consider the surroundings. Is the company’s office located in a decent area? Is the building itself well-maintained and presentable? What about the inside of the premises – are the bathrooms clean and is there somewhere to take a break at lunchtime?

Remember that you may well spend more of your waking hours at work than anywhere else, so it needs to be the kind of place where you can imagine yourself working comfortably for long hours.

The people

As you will need to do this anyway if you secure a role with this firm, it’s a good idea to talk to as many people as possible on the premises before you are called into the interview room, as this will give you a clue of the atmosphere there.

You should ask yourself whether the receptionist seems friendly, for example, or whether they seem overly busy, stressed out and inconvenienced by you being there. Look, too, at how other employees on site are interacting with each other – do these seem like people that you could work alongside for hour after hour?

The interview

How you present yourself at the interview is obviously vital, which is why we have previously blogged on such subjects as what your body language says during an interview. However, you shouldn’t become so focused on this that you fail to evaluate your potential employer.

You can gain a lot of clues about the company’s management culture by observing how the interviewer behaves. Did they turn up on time and seem relaxed, prepared and interested in you and your answers? Or did they leave you waiting and appear to be stressed and overwhelmed when they did finally arrive?

While you might not be working directly with this person if you do get the job, they are likely to be representative of the company’s broader culture, so any warning signs should be noted.

With as many as nine in 10 people expressing regret about rushing their career choice, it really is crucial to take the time at this stage to carefully consider your prospective employer’s merits. The interview may be the only time you directly interact with the company that could be your employer for many years to come, so you should be vigilant in keeping an eye out for good and bad signs alike. 

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