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Great opportunities for career progression by working shift cycles


In recent years the Irish Life Science sector has shown extremely strong growth with major investments from several large multinational companies such as MSD, BioMarin, WuXi Biologics, ILC Dover, DePuy and Pfizer.  In terms of attracting FDI, in advanced manufacture in the Life Sciences, Ireland is in all probability number one globally; in the past 5 years we’ve secured close to €5 billion of new investment.

As the sector grows, there is a move by Life Sciences companies to operate 24 hours a day, in order to meet global demand for their products, and allow for greater productivity and economic benefits.  It is estimated that over 15% of the Irish workforce now work shift cycles. 

Julien Vincent, IPC Senior Analyst with Hovione, gives us a good insight into what life is like for a quality professional and working shift cycles.  Julien is responsible for the analysis and release of In-process samples from production, running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Julien has been working shift cycles for over five years.  Currently his shift cycle is 4 x 12 hours - 2 days (07:00 – 19:00) and 2 nights (19:00 – 07:00). He believes working shifts has afforded him several opportunities that he may not have had he worked normal days. 

Why do you like working shift?

I like autonomy. You have to manage your shift and your planning on your own especially during weekends and nights.  Another good point is you need to handle all types of analysis.

Does working on shift give you a good opportunity to work with different teams in Hovione? 

Yes, during the week I am working with all the different teams of the lab: raw material, finished products and stability. I am also working with QA and I participate in different types of meetings. I conduct training with new people in the lab too.

How does working shifts give you increased autonomy?

While working on weekend and night shift, we are only two or three in the lab and I must manage the planning and the priority for my team. I also must face all the potential issues of the lab and make sure the communication between production and the lab is clear.

Do you believe working shifts has enabled you to increase your skills, knowledge and/or experience in the role that you would not have obtained working normal days?

Definitely.  When you are on your own, in front of a problem, you must find an answer or to fix it. This is the best experience (for me) to learn and practise. I also have more time to share with my colleague to make sure they don’t need any explanation of clarification for an analysis.

Will you continue working shift cycles?

I am really happy with this routine and I would definitely apply for shift work again if I have to move.

As Julien has highlighted, there are undoubtedly several positive benefits to working shift cycles.  Below are Fastnet’s top 8 reasons.

  1. Ability to earn a higher income, with a shift allowance
  2. More autonomy and responsibilities for career progression
  3. Better productivity, organisation and structure
  4. Broader knowledge of techniques as engaging with cross functional teams
  5. More flexibility to attend professional courses
  6. Better work life balance
  7. Lower childcare costs
  8. Avoid traffic congestion at peak hours

Fastnet has several opportunities for Quality professionals with our Life Sciences clients.  If working shift cycles sounds good to you, contact us today to learn more!

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