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How to Progress your Pharmaceutical Supply Chain and Procurement Career

What is Pharmaceutical Supply Chain?

Pharmaceutical Supply Chain can be defined as the collection of key business processes involved in the production and distribution of a product or service to consumers – often medicines, consumer healthcare products or medical devices. The supply chain itself is the entire system between a company and its suppliers to develop a specific product. As products produced within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry often have health and safety implications on the lives of the consumers, working in the supply chain sector within pharma can be more demanding than across other industries.

Typical Supply Chain roles 

Typical roles within the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain sector are:

  • Procurement / Supply Chain Advisor, Officer or Assistant
  • Procurement / Supply Chain Management, Director or Head of Department
  • Demand & Inventory
  • Customer Services
How can you progress your Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Career?

If you are looking to progress your career within Pharmaceutical Supply Chain you’ll need to possess adaptable skills, work well as part of a team and have strong commercial awareness.  

In addition to these characteristics, the following aspects will also help you to advance your career:

  • Improve your industry knowledge and experience

Within the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain sector there are many different job opportunities available. To help you select the career path you want to progress down it would be beneficial to enhance your knowledge, skillset and experience of the industry. This will provide you with insights into each of the different roles and responsibilities within this sector.

In addition, having good experience in and an understanding of current regulations and legislations is hugely beneficial for a role within Supply Chain and will help to define your skillset.

  • Look at the different companies you could work for

The career path an individual chooses to go down within this sector depends on their characteristics, skillset and what they enjoy most about their role. Some people will prefer to work for a large company whereas others will gain more out of working within a smaller one. Essentially, it all depends on the individual, with both options providing different benefits.

For example, one person may have a desire to increase their knowledge, skillset and gain as much exposure as possible to different aspects of supply chain. As a result, they may choose to work for a smaller company where there will be fewer people and the role itself will most likely encompass many different aspects. However, others will enjoy working as part of a larger team where they’ll gain more specific experiences and the chance to specialise within an area.

Can you transition into the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain sector without previous experience?

Yes, you can. If you have experience of working within a highly regulated industry such as consumer health or aerospace, then you can transition into a similar role within the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain sector. It’s also important to mention that jobs within Quality and Supply Chain often overlap with one another, so there may be opportunities for you to transition between the two sectors. 

Typical Pharmaceutical Supply Chain career progression options

Unlike other sectors, it’s quite difficult to pinpoint a typical career path within Pharmaceutical Supply Chain. There’s an abundance of job opportunities available within this sector and each career path will be different for each individual. Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain all interlink with one another and some companies will require you to work across all three aspects within a singular role.


A career within Pharmaceutical Supply Chain is a fascinating one. There’s a large variety of therapy areas one could specialise in and the opportunity to work with many different products. To be successful you’ll need to build a good network and reputation within the industry and gain a solid understanding of general practices and regulations. Demonstrating these key characteristics will help you progress your career within this sector. 

Visit our jobs page to find out more about the current vacancies we have available. Alternatively, get in touch with Katrina Hughes, our specialist consultant: 




Looking to progress your Pharmaceutical Supply Chain and Procurement career?

Submit your CV

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

01625 541 040 / katrina@carrotpharma.co.uk