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How to Progress your Career in Market Access

What is Market Access?

Market Access is a long, multifaceted process pharmaceutical and biotech companies must go through to ensure their product is available to patients, in as many countries as possible, at the correct price.

The process requires pharma and biotech companies to gather important data on the health economic impact and cost-effectiveness of their product. Once the data has been gathered, the company in question needs to present this information in a convincing format to the appropriate public authority in charge of providing national guidelines and best practices to improve health and social care. In the UK, this is the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), who play a crucial role in determining whether a product is cost-effective.

Typically, a pharma or biotech company will appoint a Market Access consultancy to guide them through each step of this long, and often arduous, process.  

Typical Market Access roles

Within the Market Access sector, job roles are traditionally categorised into two separate paths: consultant and pharma.

Typical roles within this sector can be:

  • Research / Business Analyst
  • Senior Analyst
  • Consultant
How can you progress your career in Market Access?

To have a successful career within Market Access, candidates need to be enthusiastic about working within the industry. In addition, they are expected to have strong communication skills and be able to work efficiently to tight deadlines.

They'll also need to consider the following:

  1. Attain a high-level understanding of the sector

Conducting regular research of the industry can help you increase your awareness of industry regulations and best practices to be successful within your job role.

  1. Complete an internship

Internships are fantastic ways for candidates to gather relevant industry experience and develop their skillset. Furthermore, an internship will help increase your awareness of the different job opportunities available to you.  

  1. Obtain a broad skillset

Obtaining a broad skill set will lead to greater job opportunities later in your career and help you climb the hierarchical ladder much quicker.

  1. Be commercially focussed

Many companies within this sector look for commercially focussed candidates. Demonstrating this key trait shows your employer that you are committed to the company and understand the steps required to take to be successful.

What are the obstacles to a career in Market Access?

There are several obstacles candidates may need to overcome to enter the industry:

  1. A Life Sciences degree is required to be considered for a Market Access position. If your degree is in another subject you may need to complete a PhD in a Life Science in order to progress.

  2. Work within this industry is predominantly deadline-driven. As a result, candidates who do not possess strong project management skills may find a career in this sector very difficult.
Can you transition into the Market Access industry without previous experience in the sector? 

Truth be told, you can’t unless you possess a Life Sciences degree. Furthermore, candidates need to demonstrate they have a high-level knowledge of the industry and posses relevant experience.

Typical Market Access career progression options

A career in Market Access can be very challenging, yet highly rewarding. It’s important to note that pharma teams tend to be much smaller than consultant teams, meaning there are fewer job opportunities down the pharma path. Most candidates tend to take the consultant career path as a result.

Typical career progression opportunities within the industry could look like:

Consultant path

  • Analyst
  • Senior Analyst or Associate Consultant
  • Consultant
  • Senior Consultant
  • Director

Pharma path

  • Market Access Associate
  • Market Access Manager


A career within Market Access is fast-moving and, at times, can be very demanding. However, continual development opportunities and lucrative salaries are available to individuals who demonstrate a willingness to learn and commitment to progressing their career. As a result, it can be a very enticing career for many.

Looking to progress your career in Market Access?

If you would like an informal chat to discuss your career progression opportunities, our specialist recruitment consultant, Emily Shaw, will be happy to help. She can be contacted on:

+44 (0)1625 361 076 /