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How Contracting Could Advance Your Life Sciences Career

15 September 2021

By Jay Freeman

How Contracting Could Advance Your Life Sciences Career

The life sciences sector is dynamic, innovative, and growing year-by-year, which makes it a popular option for individuals who want to expand their knowledge in a fast-paced and stimulating environment.

Whilst previously a permanent role may have been considered as more desirable, the emergence of contract roles has offered an equally beneficial alternative.

Changing attitudes towards employment in the life sciences industry means that there has never been a better time to consider contracting in order to advance your life sciences career.

Let’s take a look at how contracting can advance your life sciences career.

Changing trends

The combination of increased remote working due to the pandemic, combined with the globalisation of life sciences, has meant that workforce trends are changing.

Whilst previously the life sciences sector may have favoured full time permanent employees, now there is a necessity for contractors to meet the project-based model of working.

This means that a short-term approach is more valuable and efficient for businesses than a long-term one, so hiring a contractor can offer the flexibility that meets the predominant model of working.

You may find it much easier to begin working in your chosen or preferred area through a contract role than you would to wait for a permanent opportunity due to the competitiveness of permanent roles.

An argument can be made that contracting is lacking in job security, yet with the rising popularity of contract roles, being in a contract role can in many ways be more secure when compared to the threat of redundancy as a permanent employee.

Higher pay than permanent staff

One of the most common selling points when it comes to contract work, higher pay is possible through contracting due to the ability a contractor has to leverage their experience and skillset.

By doing so, a contractor can charge higher rates that mean they are better compensated than a permanent employee who is doing the same job. 

The high demand for life sciences contractors also contributes to their ability to charge more, particularly during a period of skills shortages.

However, it should be noted that even though there is the benefit of higher pay, this also comes with the acknowledgement that contractors aren’t entitled to the same benefits as permanent staff.

Sick pay, holiday pay, and maternity and paternity leave are not covered for contractors, which means funds have to be set aside for periods of absence – with some proactive planning for the future this can be accounted for, though.


Do you find yourself worrying about how restricted you may be in a specific job role?

Contracting is perfect for those who want to be able to complete specific tasks and projects in line with specific goals.

Rather than being embroiled in decision-making and aspects of permanent work that aren’t central to the job, a contractor can choose the contract length, location, and even the client, and focus specifically on their project.

This flexibility doesn’t mean a lack of security or stability either, as a notice period can be added to a contractual agreement should a client or the contractor wish to end the contract early.

As a result of this flexibility, a contractor can build upon the skills that they prioritise, and build their experience alongside them.

Accelerate the development of your skills and experience

Permanent staff will of course accumulate a variety of skills after a couple of years working, though this will be generally limited to the same working environment and client base.

Contractors have the benefit of being able to work on multiple projects per year, meaning that they can develop multiple skills at a faster pace, diversify their skillset, and adapt to different client bases.

In this regard, it will be much easier for you to build a diverse portfolio of skills and experience in a contract role than it would be to do so in a permanent role.

As part of contract work, you might also have the opportunity to secure international contract jobs and gain exposure to different markets – experience that is highly sought-after due to globalisation and the need for greater flexibility from the life sciences workforce.

Getting exposure to some of the newest technology is also a perk of contracting, so for those looking to expand their skills and experience, it’s an opportunity to be innovative and to determine where you might wish to specialise later on!

Focus on your strengths

The freedom and flexibility of contracting means that you can focus on building your strengths and therefore, also focus on your interests.

When a life sciences company looks to hire a contractor, they will be looking at the expertise they can bring to the project – the focus is on your ability, which means you’re far likelier to receive recognition for professional achievements than a permanent worker.

If you find yourself attracted to a specific specialism or skill, you can pursue or build on it and move to a position that fulfils your interests and strengths.

Not being entangled in office politics and side jobs means you can focus entirely on your own development in whichever capacity suits you best – you have complete ownership of your career.

In conclusion

Contract jobs aren’t going away anytime soon – in fact, they’re only likely to increase in popularity due to the need for greater flexibility from life sciences businesses.

For those who value more freedom in their career to develop skills and experience at an accelerated pace, contracting is an ideal career option.

Working with a range of clients on a variety of projects, higher pay, and the potential for international work are all appealing elements of contract work.

With the ever-changing nature of life sciences, having such a diverse portfolio of work and experience can only be beneficial towards professional development and the trajectory of the sector.

As even more cutting-edge technologies are implemented in the sector as it continues to innovate, there’s never been a better time to consider if contracting could advance your career in life sciences.

Find out more about the exciting opportunities in the life sciences sector by getting in touch today.

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