How to develop your career as a life science contractor

Posted Jun 13, 2023

There has never been a better time to further your career as a contractor. The industry is thriving in Ireland, with a wealth of roles and projects available that will challenge you and help you grow your experience.

Contracting is now a long-term choice for many. Most of the contractors in the LSC team have been with us for multiple contracts, some for over 15 years. And, as jobseekers continue to chase a higher level of flexibility, greater variety in their working patterns, and more autonomy over their careers, the hiring market is witnessing an increasing number of professionals who are seeking contracting jobs.

Sometimes people new to contracting can feel less certain about the opportunities for career progression. In our experience, people absolutely can progress, advance to senior positions, and continually challenge themselves as a consultant. At LSC, we have dedicated resources to help you achieve this. Our Consultant Success team are experts in this field and are always on hand to advise you throughout your contract with us.

Here are some of their top dos to progress in your career in life science consulting:


Do – take every opportunity to upskill!

Ensuring your hard and soft skills are up to date is one of the most important things you can do to develop your career.

When it comes to hard technical skills, client companies often offer training on systems and specific knowledge you need to work in their business. For technical skills that will really help you progress up the career ladder, you will normally need to fund your own learning. The heavily funded Springboard courses are an excellent way to upskill in the Life Science sector. All the courses offered lead to awards at certificate, degree and post-graduate level with the vast majority being one year or less in duration with flexible study options. The full program for 2023/24 is available at www.springboard

As you progress to more senior level contracts, communication can be a fundamental part of your role. Therefore, soft skills such as presentation skills and emotional intelligence can be equally as important as technical skills. That’s why we introduced regular soft skills training events, available free to our contractors. We bring in an external training provider, who specialises in life sciences, to update you on the latest soft skills topics, and you’ll earn continuing professional development (CPD) points by attending the sessions. This ensures you have the same opportunity to develop these skills as permanent employees do.

Building your CV

Do – Put yourself forward for interesting projects

In Ireland in particular, we’re lucky to have a flourishing life sciences sector, with opportunities to join exciting projects, including working on new greenfield sites. For those taking on projects like this, every new project can mean a huge step up in your career, as you gain valuable experience for your next role.

Even if you are long-term contracting, putting yourself forward for new initiatives will not only help build your CV, but also build your profile within the business. Ultimately, differentiating yourself in this way reflects well on you and puts you in the best position to progress to more senior roles.

PAYE or Ltd Company contractor?

Do – ask for advice

One of the considerations in planning out your career in contracting is whether to go down the limited company or PAYE route.

If you’re considering the limited company route, there are a number of factors to take into account before making this move, such as whether you want to use an umbrella company to manage your pay or set up a personal limited company. The important thing to note is that you should seek in-depth advice on your options.

We’ve supported many LSC contractors with advice on moving to Ltd or umbrella company solutions, including suggestions and recommendations for firms that offer the specialist services you would need.

Get in touch

At LSC, we are life science specialists, we don’t operate in any other space. Our Consultant Success Programme has been designed to reflect our deep knowledge of the sector and what it takes for consultants to thrive in their career. Our dedicated Consultant Success Coordinator is there to support LSC consultants with advice on your next career move, so get in touch with Regina if you need advice.

And, if you don’t yet work with LSC, but are looking for your next career move, submit your CV here or explore our available opportunities here