After a year of living in a global pandemic, it has become clear that a career in the life sciences industry is both exciting and extremely fulfilling. The healthcare industry is also extremely resilient to financial pressures and economic changes, as it has proven in the past three global recessions.
Many global pharmaceutical, medical technology and biomanufacturing companies have called Hong Kong SAR their home in Asia Pacific. There is also a steadily growing number of start-ups that focus on health tech and novel medicines. Our supply chain infrastructure, talent community, as well as pro-business and innovative environment, are highly attractive to companies that are looking to expand their presence and grow their market share in this region.
life sciences careers and salary
Here are the seven most sought after jobs in the life sciences industry in Hong Kong SAR in 2021, and the skills and work experience that employers often look for in candidates.
1. medical laboratory technologist / technician
The demand for medical laboratory technologists has hence increased drastically as they are required to process large volumes of COVID-19 swab tests. However, you do not need to be concerned about job security at all, as there remain plenty of job opportunities for medical laboratory technologists even after the pandemic.
The talent demand for medical laboratory technologists has risen significantly in recent years as Hong Kong SAR seeks to boost its diagnostics capabilities and capacity. This is in line with rising disease awareness as more people take charge of their physical and mental health. Such proactiveness enables people to receive earlier medical intervention, which would usually result in better chances of recovery and survival.
Download the report to find out more about the work responsibilities, job requirements and salary benchmark of a medical laboratory technologist.
2. research scientist
There are countless therapeutic areas in life sciences that need scientists, from respiratory to neurological diseases, general medicines to rare disease. Scientists are instrumental in researching and developing new healthcare solutions or expanding the use of existing medicines to improve patients’ lives. Even if the research is inconclusive, it serves to help their peers understand more about the disease and its reactions (or non-reactions) to determine the next step in science innovation.
The talent demand for research scientists is highly dependent on the organisation’s priorities. Across the world, we see higher labour demand for research scientists in the field of oncology, particularly in pharmaceuticals.
The number one cause of death in Hong Kong SAR is malignant neoplasm, or otherwise known as a cancerous tumour. With this haunting statistic, it is not surprising that millions of dollars are being invested in healthcare to better diagnose and manage cancer.
According to the latest market data and market demands, a research scientist’s base salary is between $20,000 to $35,000 a month. The more niche and specialised your field of study and work is, the higher your salary will be.
3. clinical research associate / assistant
Companies that hire clinical research associates or assistants tend to be in pharmaceuticals, life sciences, health sciences and medical devices. Clinical contract agencies and research organisations that sometimes play a role in clinical trials and drug development processes may also employ the skills of a clinical research associate.
Perhaps not surprising, in that light, daily responsibilities for most clinical research associates are closely tied to clinical trial life cycles. Those duties include:
- Act as a primary point of contact for end-to-end clinical trials or as lead support in a specific clinical trial stage
- Support research portfolio activities and stay ahead of the latest clinical research protocols
- Gather and manage data, patients and regulatory overseers
- Adhere to safety protocols and regulatory guidance across the entire clinical trial lifecycle
Radiographers, also known as diagnostic radiographers and medical radiation technologists, mostly work with specialists in different departments within the hospital such as oncology, gastrointestinal and neurology to advise their findings in the images.
Through exposure to more patients and experience, radiographers may also contribute towards analysing the captured images to recommend or develop treatment plans for patients who are in need of care.
However, it is important to note that a radiographer works in a rather high-stress environment, especially in trauma centres where quick diagnosis is critical to the patient’s outcomes.
Radiographers must have a genuine interest in patient care and healthcare. Before becoming a diagnostic radiographer, one must obtain the following education and scientific background:
- Bachelor degree or diploma in diagnostics radiography
- Certificate of registration Part II or above (Category D) with valid practicing certificate issued by the Radiographer Board of Hong Kong
5. medical device sales manager
The job of the medical device sales manager is more complex and sophisticated than it sounds. They have to know the inside-out of a medical device and make recommendations to healthcare specialists and surgeons on the most suitable product that will lead to better patient outcomes. In some cases, they can even be found in operating theatres to provide surgery support.
You can only imagine how busy the medical device sales job is! Here’s what a typical day of a medical device sales manager would look like:
- Network and build relationships with surgeons and healthcare professionals
- Develop and conduct training sessions with healthcare professionals on product efficiency and safety
- Participate in conferences and symposiums to stay up-to-date with the latest medical technology
- Work with their team to drive and meet sales targets
6. product specialists
While product specialists are not required to provide surgical support like medical devices sales professionals, they will need to keep up with the latest scientific research and share relevant literature review papers with healthcare professionals. These research papers can help build confidence in healthcare professionals to recommend and prescribe life-saving drugs to patients who need new treatment plans.
The product specialist jobs also require to network frequently with the medical community to gather insights and understand any new concerns or challenges they are facing at work. The intelligence that the product specialists provide not only helps improve sales & marketing strategies, it also enables stakeholders to make informed decisions on their research & development investments.
Your salary would depend on your diagnostic field, level of expertise, work experience and job responsibilities.
A product specialist earns a median salary of $20,000 to $30,000 every month, excluding travel allowance and sales commissions.
7. medical writer
Medical writers are modern-day scribes in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. They have a key role to play in communicating critical scientific information across important channels and influencing diverse stakeholders.
That means they have to be capable of wielding their pens to engage with a wide range of different audiences. This is also a role that you can usually carry out remotely, which is a key consideration in light of COVID-19 restrictions.
Medical writers are sometimes referred to by a host of different names on today’s job boards. These job titles include:
- Medical editors
- Freelance medical editors
- Regulatory editors
If you aren’t seeing what you’re looking for when browsing for jobs, you may want to sprinkle in some of these other keywords to expand your search.
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