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Salaries: a figure of speech

Zenopa survey reveals what ‘would be’ medical writers in the UK can expect to earn

 Salaries: a figure of speech

Good medical writers are highly sought after and a quick glance through jobs sites reveals that the appetite for these roles is not waning. So what can doctorates and post doctorates expect to find in the world of medical writing.

Research into medical writing salaries in the UK by specialist recruitment consultancy Zenopa makes for interesting reading. Staring salaries vary significantly: junior medical writers can expect to earn between up to £25k and £35k with most (19 of the 32 employees and eight employers) earning £25k-£30k.

But this is just the beginning and for most medical writers the rate at which salaries increase is down to each individual's career progress. Often for junior staff with many years of post-doctoral experience, the rate of progress can be frustrating, especially when their starting salary is similar to someone who has just received their doctorate.

Writing in From Academic to Medical Writer: A Guide to Getting Started in Medical Communications Dr Annick Moon urges people not to get disheartened by this as more knowledge and experience generally equates to speedier progression both in terms of role and salary. 

Medical writers
The trends in medical writers' salaries are similar to those seen in the junior ranks; the majority of respondents to the Zenopa survey earn £25k-£30k and £30k-£35k (33 and 40 of 109 employee respondents, respectively). As expected the number of medical writers earning £35k-£60k is significantly lower (see graph 1) – this is likely to be because many medical writers have progressed to more senior roles.

Senior medical writers
Those who progress to senior medical writer can expect to see a significant hike in salary. Sixty of the 81 employees (and six employers) at this level earn between £40k and £70k  – 19 earn £40k-£45k compared to seven for medical writers; 18 earn £45k-£50k compared to 3 for medical writers; and six earn £50k-£60k compared to 3 medical writers. Around the same number of both medical writers and senior medical writers earn £35k-£40k.

Principal medical writers
There are fewer still principal medical writer positions and remuneration varies considerably: at one end of the spectrum one respondent earns up to £25k while at the other end another respondent earns £100k-£120k. More than 50 per cent (17) of the 31 employee respondents in this group earn £45k-£60k.

Overall, around 25 per cent of the 204 employee respondents (and 26 employers) to the survey earn £25k-£30k; as remuneration increases, employee numbers decrease (the anomaly being those earning £40k-£45k; see graph 4).

1. Medical writer salaries (109 employees, 14 employers)

Medical writer salaries

2. Senior medical writer salaries (81 employees, 6 employers)

Senior medical writer salaries

3. Principal medical writer salaries (31 employees, 3 employers)

Principal medical writer salaries

4. All medical writer salaries (204 employees, 26 employers)

All medical writer salaries 


Find medical writing jobs on PMLiVE Jobs

4th December 2012

From: Marketing



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