Pros and Cons of Working for a Big Pharma Company

Big pharma, a name that conjures up an image of a global corporation, whose focus is often the international mass development, manufacture, and sale of drugs and therapeutics. Although the differences between start-ups, mid-size pharma, big pharma, and even CRO’s can be vague, all offer pros and cons when it comes to working at them.

Below are several pros and cons of working for a big pharma company.  Depending on your point of view, the pros and cons will be interchangeable depending on your career goals.


  • Compensation and Benefits –  Most big pharma companies offer a significant base salary as well as numerous benefits such as company cars, bonuses, and stock options. 
  • Culture – Big pharma companies are frequently recognized for their team environment. Team and company goals are often at the center and forefront with a priority on employee-centricity.   
  • Technology and Innovation – Due to almost unlimited resources, big pharma companies tend to be more innovative with their cutting-edge technology and research. 
  • Scientific Excellence –  Excellence is expected.  The Life Sciences industry is extremely competitive for the development of new drugs and therapeutics.
  • Job Security –  As with any industry, there are many cycles in the pharmaceutical industry.  Unlike start-ups or CROs, big pharma companies are generally more stable and immune from mergers and acquisitions, can pivot with regulatory changes, and redeploy resources in the event of a faltering program.   


  • Size Does Matter – The hierarchy and depth chart can often mean decisions will be made by people you may never meet.   
  • Stay in your Lane – Big pharma does not always allow you the breadth to move from project to project, for some this can become stagnant. For others, this is appealing to work in-depth and become an expert in the project.
  • Calmer Pace –  This can make you feel as though work is not moving quickly.
  • Atmosphere – Historically, the larger any company gets, the more conservative it tends to become in terms of work culture.

Regardless of your point of view, big pharma companies can offer opportunities to boost your career track.  Recently it has become more common to toggle between small, medium, and large companies without repercussions.  Precision Life Sciences has relationships and experience within all company sizes.  We are experts in matching your skills and goals with the right company, regardless of the size.

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