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How Much Do Pharmaceutical Scientists Make in the UK?


Pharmaceutical science is the study, formulation, development and manufacture of new drugs.

The primary focus of pharmaceutical science is creating new medications, but there are a wide variety of different careers that fall under the umbrella of this industry - and your salary will depend on the nature of the job you're doing.

Read on to find out how much pharmaceutical scientists earn in the UK. If you want to know a little more about what pharmaceutical companies actually do, we've got a separate blog post on that very subject:

What Do Pharmaceutical Companies Do?

There are many different sources of information pertaining to the average salaries of pharmaceutical scientists. The figures below are taken from two trusted sources: Prospects, an online careers guide for students and graduates; and Glassdoor, an international website offering useful insights about the job market.

As with most careers, a pharmaceutical science salary in the UK is primarily determined by three key factors:

  • Experience
  • Qualifications
  • Location



Experience is probably the factor that has the biggest influence on one's earnings in the UK pharmaceutical science industry.

The average starting pharmaceutical scientist salary in the UK for graduates and entry-level workers is between £18,000 and £25,000.

The overall average salary for a pharmaceutical scientist in the UK is approximately £42,000.

Experience doesn't just mean what you did in previous job roles; it can also refer to your experience within the company itself. Some pharmaceutical employers pay approximately £40,000 a year (again, depending on previous experience), but once you've settled in and established yourself as a competent member of the team, salaries can move closer to the £60,000 mark with time.



Securing a job in the pharmaceutical sector is virtually impossible if you don't have any relevant qualifications. Potential employers will look at the number of qualifications you hold and - more importantly - the level to which you're qualified when considering whether or not you're a good fit for the role.

According to the aforementioned survey from The Institution of Chemical Engineers, those who graduate without a PhD are looking at a lower starting salary than those who graduate with one.

Your qualifications can also determine what areas of the pharma industry you might be qualified to work in; some jobs require a specific, specialised qualification. Always read job ads carefully before you apply.

(Of course, there's always value to be had in using a specialist recruitment company like Hyper Recruitment Solutions. Our highly-trained life science recruitment specialists can help you to find a career that's perfectly suited to your qualifications, experience, and salary expectations.)



The cost of living varies across different parts of the UK, and the average salary for a given location usually reflects the local norm. Location is less important than experience and qualifications, but when applying for pharmaceutical jobs, it's worth considering the cost of living in each area and weighing that against the salary you'd be starting on.

Overall, it's clear to see that - regardless of your qualifications, location and experience - you can expect to command a very good salary as a pharmaceutical scientist, even if you're just starting out. If you're after a financially lucrative career, pharmaceutical science is a good industry to explore.

If a career in the pharmaceutical industry sounds good to you, why not take a minute and browse the many pharmaceutical vacancies currently available throughout the UK?

Browse Pharmaceutical Jobs

Kickstart Your Pharmaceutical Science Career Today!

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the UK pharmaceutical industry, speak to a member of our specialist recruitment team today. Our experienced life-changers will help you to take the first step on this exciting new journey.

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READ MORE: How to Get a Pharmaceutical Job