What the people do

Process engineer

“When I first came into the business I wasn't sure I'd enjoy working on the shop floor, surrounded by humming machinery; but I've surprised myself. I'm loving every minute of it.


I'm working on a project that aims to reduce the costs of our production - this is no easy task!  Over the past few weeks I've been working with operators on a machine that gives us the biggest down-time, and looking at ways to improve its performance.


One of my favourite things about my job is that I not only get to work with project engineers, but also operators and fitters; it gives a really good insight into the whole picture of manufacturing.”  


Manufacturing operator

“I work in the manufacturing department. I am responsible for a machine that converts granulated mixtures of raw materials into tablets.


Once they have been made, some types of the tablets go off to be coated, others go to be packed in blister packs or are exported in bulk.”


Engineering apprentice

“There are probably more males than females here, but although I was a bit daunted at first, everyone has a great sense of humour and it’s easy to get along. To be honest, I was very surprised with the environment because I thought it would be unclean, smelly or dingy. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.


Some areas such as the Clean Room, where the fan blades are assembled, are reputed to be cleaner than an operating theatre!”


Shift manager

“It is 3am and I am sitting in my office, calculating how long it will take me to pack six tonnes of Cadbury Mini Eggs before the morning.  This is not your average job...


It feels great to be participating in discussions on issues that have dogged the department for years, but have never been properly addressed.  


I am certainly beginning to see where I can leave a positive impact, even if it's only talking about some of the previously undiscovered problems that operators face daily.”


Engineering Operations Manager

I have had 7 different roles across 4 different sites... By working in the pharmaceutical industry you are doing something to make people better and improve their quality of life and that is very important to me.


I had two job offers to choose from in my final year at University, I selected this one for the reason above. Oh and it paid a bit more money!!”



“Working internationally means we’re often not working when the US or Philippines are working. Spreadsheet design and analysis tool creation also takes up some of the day. This is where you can really use your skills to create tools the team can use.”


Science business

If you want to get to the top in a company, then the usual route is through sales or accountancy. Physicists working in research or product development might expect to be able to reach positions as departmental heads. But a move to sales, possibly via marketing, is probably necessary for further progression.


Sales and marketing

“We seek intellectually bright people but we have a range: people who don’t have a degree, for example. We accept people who can prove that they have a strong track record of achievement.”


Software engineer

One of the advantages of working with the company is the variety. “You can work on so many projects, both civil and military, with time scales of anything from six months to several years. Your personal choice is respected — some people work only on civil projects.”


Client services executive

“Much of my job is visiting clients, so I’m a hotdesker, which is good because you get to sit with different people in the hotdesk areas. And you’re given a place to store your things.


The company recognises the people who put in the added effort. It offers once-in-a-lifetime incentive trips, and recently I organised a sailing trip for my team. My career goal is to be part of the senior management team.”


Public Relations

“Each day is completely different and sometimes can be completely unexpected!  For example, a major healthcare story can break in the morning – so we have to react to as quickly as possible and reply to questioning journalists with informed statements.


On days with no unexpected developments, I am involved with: meetings with the marketing teams, teleconferences with PR agencies, meetings with the medical team and writing media materials.”


Shift team leader

“Nothing quite compares to this - a room full of people, a challenging production target and a tight deadline (no one can move Easter for you!). I have not managed a large team of people before. Team Leader placement is the only way to really understand the day to day running of a production line, the problems faced and how what happens in the office directly impacts how the factory operates.”


Human resources

“I support the business from the people side of things - employee relations, team building, team events, salary review and talent management. There are many specialisms within HR, e.g. compensation, training and recruitment. I am a generalist so I cover everything.


I deal with people from different sites so I often have to travel for meetings. I deal with different requests and individual cases, liaising with a variety of people.  There are also different annual initiatives throughout the year that need to be prepared for.”


Employee health

“We ensure that employees are fit to do their jobs and that nothing they do at work is going to make them unwell.  If someone is off work we try to negotiate ways to get them back to work as quickly as possible.


If someone is at work but not fully fit we advise how the workplace can be adapted. We look at ways to reduce stress so employees can work to their full capacity.


We also run training sessions on ergonomics, and for employees working with specific types of compounds.”  


Manufacturing process improvement

“Each day is variable which is one reason I like the job. A typical day might be running through a process step or reaction as part of an assessment of a new manufacturing route, and organising teams to investigate or troubleshoot plant issues.


Desk time might be researching alternative catalysts for a process or talking to suppliers who are running a process developed in our lab.”


Manufacturing executive

These come in two types: production line executives and wholesale sales representatives.


Production line executives coordinate production on the factory floor. They supervise production employees, check inventory levels, make certain sales representatives’ orders are being filled, and oversee equipment maintenance and employee needs. They are based in manufacturing plants, where they work closely with employees and put in predictable hours.


Wholesale sales representatives, who make up over 70% of manufacturing executives, are salespeople. They spend most of their time on the road, meeting with clients, recruiting new business, and checking shipments and customers’ inventory levels.


Manufacturing executives also generate sales reports, analyze figures, and file expense reports, so any work experience that demonstrates comfort with numbers is welcomed.


Former wholesale sales representatives hold most of the upper-level management positions at manufacturing companies.


Multi-product manager

“I am responsible for a production of several products, from obtaining the raw materials through to manufacture and packaging of the tablets and capsules. I manage a team of 50 people - operators, first line managers, technical staff and planners. It’s my job to ensure the continuous supply of products to tight deadlines.”


Medical sales rep

“I am a senior rep; my role is to promote my company’s medicines to health care professionals within a given territory. I have sales target that I have to meet, and regularly monitor my business plans to achieve this.


“My other duties include being a mentor to new reps, and caretaking the team in my manager’s absence. I see doctors in the morning, pharmacists in the afternoon, then twice a week team meetings.”


Procurement analyst

“I am adjusting to the fleet-footed pace of a small business. My role will be to support the Procurement Manager in developing relationships with ingredient suppliers. This is a world away from managing a shift on the Cadbury Mini Eggs production line.


I will soon be travelling across Europe to visit suppliers and discover how they produce their goods for us using organic farming methods.”


Sales and marketing

“The transition from field sales into the office has been a challenging one. On a day-to-day basis the two roles really couldn't be any more different and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't somewhat of a culture shock.


However I really value the time I spent in field sales and I firmly believe that there is no better introduction to the business.


My new role is in Consumer Marketing as an Assistant Brand Manager working on our permissible indulgence agenda. It's a really exciting place to be...”


Project and process engineering

“I knew I didn't want a job that meant I was based at my desk all day and provided me with variety. Well I got one!


Yesterday I spent the whole day up and down the 100+ stairs of the factory many times, following process lines to ensure diagrams are correct, peering inside milk tanks and measuring cleaning chemical strengths in the lab.


The day before that I was in and out of meetings all day. As a process engineer one of the key attributes is to be accountable; never believe what you are told, always go and check it yourself and always follow up the work you start.”


Manufacturing engineer

Manufacturing engineering graduates generally begin their careers working in teams with other engineers to design a process or a production system for a phase of a manufacturing process.


With experience they may work as a production engineer who integrates the different processes and parts needed to create a finished product. Or they might take a wide view of the entire process, including supplies, distribution, cost control, resource management and marketing.


Throughout their work manufacturing engineers are concerned about creating a quality product that meets customer needs in an efficient, safe and cost-effective way


Manufacturing/operations manager

8:00 a.m.: Check in with people in the lab; review tasks for the day to understand what issues are on the table.

9:00 a.m.: Have a weekly two-hour meeting to review general project status.

11:00 a.m.: Meet with one or both senior direct reports to review the progress of their research

12:00 p.m.: Check in with BS/MS direct reports and redirect resources, as needed.

1:00 p.m.: Meet with program management or IT to discuss ongoing data programs.

2:00 p.m.: Attend a cross-functional meeting with representatives of other departments to ensure workload is properly staffed and that work is moved from one department to another smoothly

3:00 p.m.: Meet with my entire group for presentation of data and goal-sharing

4:00 p.m.: Catch up on email, approve orders, do paperwork, check inventory, talk with purchasing or quality about ongoing issues,

5:00 p.m.: Meet with clinical trials staff to discuss timelines and preparedness for clinical trials

6:00 p.m.: Commute home

8:00 p.m.: Read journal articles and keep up with literature.


Further information




The people