Real Staffing

The importance of having a Qualified Person in permanent positions

Across the industry, it’s clear that there’s a distinct lack of Qualified Persons sitting in permanent roles. While the enticement of a contract role for QP’s is obvious, due to the monetary reward, if the industry is to flourish, organisations need to find a way of obtaining skilled QPs on a permanent basis. We spoke to Sarah Irvine, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Real, to find out more.

Why are there not enough permanent QPs?

The main answer is money. Quality assurance pay is lucrative and as a contract QP, you can earn up to £1,000 a day. Sarah clarified this for us, “Many skilled professionals are enticed by the idea of working as a contractor within the QP arena for numerous reasons; you can earn more money, there’s more job variety, and you can also enjoy the freedom of flexible working.”

So, why not make this move?

When you consider this, who could be blamed for wanting to make the move into the contract market? However, it’s a lot easier said than done. We recently spoke about what it takes to succeed as a QA contractor; if you’re going to move from a permanent QP to a contract QP, you need to have built up a lot of experience over a number of years. While permanent positions may not offer as varied a range of job responsibilities, and the pay may not be quite as lucrative as a contractor, sticking with a company offers an excellent grounding for your career.

Why is permanent experience so valuable?

Working as a permanent employee in a Qualified Person role allows you to really get to grips with a company’s processes, development lifecycle, and gives you comprehensive experience of working across a full quality audit. Sarah expands on this, “Once you’ve established these highly sought after skills, and developed a wealth of experience over a period of years within permanent positions, you’ll be exceptionally attractive to contract hiring managers, should you decide a move into this field is right for you. However, if you make this move too soon, it’s likely that you won’t be accepted by a contract hiring manager – and even if you are, moving into the market too soon could be a damaging career move.”

Why are more QPs needed?

Sarah explains, “It’s recognised across the industry that there simply aren’t enough permanent QPs in the market, and the industry is suffering as a result. When there’s a requirement for contract QPs, they’re often brought in to work on niche projects in tough conditions. They’ll be working on complex projects and using their skills to solve tricky problems. However, working in a permanent position is a very different story. Pharmaceutical organisations need people who can come in and really get to know their products. It also provides stability for the QA department and gives the MHRA peace of mind that there is an onsite permanent QP should there be any complications. If you’re working on the day to day quality assurance of a drug, you need to make sure there’s people in the team who really understand the product and can appreciate the processes; rather than coming in on a contract basis and having industry-wide knowledge, knowledge is needed for that specific company, and drug.

So, why should you stay as a permanent QP?

There’s numerous reasons you should stay as a permanent QP, one of them being to benefit the industry as a whole, as they need people who really know a company’s processes and life cycle. But even for personal reasons, it can really benefit your career. When you’ve established solid experience as a permanent QP, you’ll reap the rewards throughout your career.

As a QP, you’re legally responsible for the drug verification procedure, and it’s essential that you’ve built up the skills, experience, and confidence to ensure patient safety.

Maybe you’re ready for your next role?

It could be that you’ve reached the stage in your career where you’ve built up experience as a permanent employee and you’re ready to move on and try your hand at contract work. Or perhaps you’re working in a permanent position and would like to gain experience as a permanent QP within a different dosage form. Whether you’re looking for permanent or contract positions, we have the opportunities for you. Get in touch with our team and find the position that you’re looking for.

We're passionate about ensuring skilled professionals understand their worth - when you fill out our salary survey, you'll receive a copy of our 2019 report, which offers invaluable insight into the Life Sciences job market.

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