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2016 – An Irish Pharma Year in Review

2016 was a great year for Ireland’s pharmaceutical and medical technology industries. There were some massive job announcements and some huge predictions for the future of the sector.

Let’s first take a look at the highlights of 2016 before taking a look ahead to what 2017 will have in store.

A Year in Review – Irish Pharma’s 2016 Highlights

This year saw over 3000 new jobs announced around Ireland. Some of the biggest announcements included:

We also saw some companies opening new sites and expansions. Some of these were:

And there were also a few firsts in 2016:


The Year Ahead – What We Already Know About Irish Pharma’s 2017

After such a strong 2016, what can we expect from 2017?

Well, there are a few things we already know we can expect from the year ahead:

  • GE should begin construction of the GE BioPark Cork. Once completed, this project is expected to bring 500 new jobs
  • BMS are expecting a big spike in recruitment as they look to fill 230 jobs in 2017
  • Fort Wayne Metals should complete their Mayo expansion
  • Shire is expecting to begin recruitment for their Meath expansion after planning permission was granted

In case you haven’t already seen it – this year we also launched a new Job Announcements Infographic that we’ll be updating over 2017.

Infographic showing the latest pharmaceutical job announcements in Ireland organised by county

This page is the best place to keep up to date with all the industry’s jobs announcements.

All the announcements currently listed on our infographic are continuing recruitment so there should be some great opportunities coming in 2017. There are a few that we know are looking to have their recruitment complete over the next year:

  • Alter Pharma is adding 80 jobs in Dublin by 2018
  • Mallinckrodt are expecting their 70 new jobs in Dublin to be filled in 2017
  • ZELTIQ Aesthetic’s 60 new jobs in Galway should be filled by the end of the year

We also know that demand for certain roles is likely to increase or remain high over the next year.

The National Skills Bulletin 2016 identified several positions as having an ‘acute need’ or shortage relative to demand across Ireland. These included:

Science Roles –

  • Scientist
  • Analytical development chemist
  • Microbiologist
  • QC manager/QC analyst
  • QA specialist
  • QA/QC/validation technician

Engineering Roles –

  • Automation engineers
  • Validation engineers
  • Commissioning engineers
  • Quality/QC/QA engineers & other regulatory affairs professionals
  • Chemical/chemical process engineers
  • Mechanical engineers (polymer engineering & injection molding)
  • Electrical engineers

Technician Roles –

  • Quality assurance technicians
  • Injection molding technicians
  • Polymer engineering technicians
  • Biotechnology technicians
  • Extrusion technicians
  • Process technologists
  • Maintenance technicians

In addition, Silicon Republic recently published an article in conjunction with the recruitment firm Hays. They identified the following jobs as in high demand for Ireland’s industry in 2017, reflecting the front line experience of recruiters:

  • Biologics Engineering
  • Scientific R&D
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Senior Quality Professionals
  • Quality Control or Lab Analysts


Ireland is incredibly optimistic about the future of its pharmaceutical and medical device industries. In fact, this year also saw the IMDA launch its plan to make Ireland “The Global Medtech Hub” by 2020. But it has also been noted that having a sufficiently skilled and large enough pool of talent is extremely important moving forward. The Irish Times reported that Ireland could secure over 8,000 jobs over the next 5 years, but the workforce needs to be ready.

Given that, 2017 could be a great chance for you to reskill into this industry. If you’re interested in making a mid-career change, contact us to discuss your circumstances and receive advice on the best first steps for you.

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Take this FREE Certificate in eBioPharmaChem and Retrain for a New Career in Ireland’s Booming Pharmaceutical Industry in Only 8 Months. 

Already Working but Still Thinking of Changing Careers?

Feel free to check out our Manufacturing Safe Medicines & Medical Devices (Intro) course which will help you get a start on a career path into the pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing industry.

Contact Us

If you are thinking of re-skilling into this sector and would like more information, contact us for details.

Or call Sinead: +353 (0)21 240 9013

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