Production engineers seek to make improvements throughout the manufacturing process, and are responsible for exploiting emerging technologies.

Working in production engineering​​

Production engineers have the primary role of increasing efficiencies throughout the manufacturing process. This is achieved through implementing continuous improvement techniques and working closely with various other teams, such as quality and even R&D. Their responsibilities include:

  • Asset care – developing and executing maintenance programmes
  • Reducing waste 
  • Improving line speeds and minimising bottlenecks
  • Working closely with equipment manufacturers to obtain and integrate the latest technology

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is the metric of central concern to a production engineer within pharmaceutical manufacture, or any manufacturing industry. It involves identifying the percentage of manufacturing time that is productive by attributing three scores to a process. These scores are each out of 100%, and cover:

  • Quality (of product)
  • Performance (speed)
  • Availability (amount of stop time)

A perfect score for OEE means the plant is only producing good materials, as fast as possible, with no stop time. Measuring production in this way is useful for production engineers as it gives a quantitative insight into how to improve any manufacturing process. By identifying losses, the production engineers can then improve the productivity of equipment.

Required skills and qualifications​​​

  • A relevant degree in manufacturing, mechanical or production engineering is ideal
  • Experience of the production engineering industry
  • High proficiency in computer literacy
  • Communication skills
  • Knowledge of manufacturing and production

Career Prospects​​

Production engineering careers within the pharmaceutical industry offer a range of opportunities for career progression.

You may be able to gain experience on various manufacturing processes, within various departments, and work towards attaining chartered status.

You could be given the opportunity to take on training and mentoring of junior engineers or progress into management, marketing or sales.

Project management may also be something you are interested in, and is a career opportunity that could be available to you, as well as having the possibility to specialise in a specific area and move into research and development.


Your salary as a production engineer depends on your experience. Typical salaries start at £22,000 - £28,000, increasing to £30,000 to £40,000 with added expertise. Chartered engineers can earn salaries ranging from £40,000 to £60,000.

For further information, take a look at this case study of someone who works as a production coordinator in a pharmaceutical company.

Last modified: 02 May 2024

Last reviewed: 02 May 2024