Chemical engineering within the pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry in the UK is strong, with a large number of companies working on treatments for a range of diseases – including Covid-19. There are a wide range of engineering roles available and skill sets utilised within the pharmaceutical industry, ranging from hands on mechanical engineering through to compliance and quality engineering.


lab flasks


Why is chemical engineering important?

The pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated by regulatory bodies such as the FDA and MHRA. With such heavy regulation there is a need for engineers who can ensure the processes on site adhere to applicable regulations including GMP. This needs to be done on both a manufacturing level and at laboratory stages such as R&D and QC testing.

With such a wide range of chemical processes and manufacturing equipment used, it is no wonder that chemical engineers play an important role in the development and manufacture of pharmaceutical products. There are a number of departments that benefit from the skills a chemical engineer can bring to a team including applicable transferable skills when working with production and packaging equipment. If a plant based role is not something you are interested in there are a number of laboratory and office based roles within the scientific industry that would be suitable.


The types of roles chemical engineers work within

Chemical engineers can work within a number of different roles in the pharmaceutical industry, as they are needed at every stage of a number of processes. Some of these include:

  • Process Engineering / Plant Engineering
  • Product Development (device)
  • Research and Development
  • Testing/ Quality Control
  • Manufacturing/production Engineering
  • Quality / Validation Engineering
  • Project Management
  • Design Engineering


Why get into chemical engineering?

The pharmaceutical industry is seen as a safe bet during unstable markets due to the need for new medicines being essential. With this in mind it has never been a better time to take a role within the pharmaceutical sector. As the pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated, engineers with experience working in the sector have a large number of transferable skills for less regulated sectors such as parts of the chemical industry.


Search engineering jobs


You may also like to read:

Graduates: consider a career in chemical engineering

How to job hunt online

How to use LinkedIn for your job search

Advice Centre

Research and Knowledge

‘A day in the life of’ Interviews

Free Resources