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Cpl Life Sciences Industry Analytics Report - The Pressure Points of the Golden Triangle

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Our latest Life Sciences Report on open vacancies focuses on the Golden Triangle of Cambridge, London and Oxford where 71% of all science vacancies currently sit.

In 2021 to date we have seen over 2,200 vacancies live, representing already 85% of total vacancies seen in 2020. There is however a great disparity around the clusters of opportunities with 7% in Oxford, 43% in London and 49% of all vacancies sitting in Cambridge. There has been a mounting pressure for talent to fill vacancies across all three cities, yet the real pressure point sits within Cambridge; a small but vibrant city well known for its university and being a centre of excellence for Life Sciences and health-related research. In order to attempt to combat the deepening talent crisis, Cambridge University has launched its roadmap initiative, Connect: Health Tech, which aims to enable more entrepreneurs, businesses, researchers and investors to connect and address global challenges in Health Tech and the expertise across the cluster.

Whilst there are great initiatives and investments coming through, the whole community of Life Sciences as a UK ecosystem needs to establish better senior working communities that can drive “action” based outcomes around the resources already available. New initiatives are no doubt needed, particularly within Health Tech, a huge emerging area, yet still the apprenticeship schemes have a low level of uptake and many companies are still not being held accountable for their role in new skill development. As CEO of one of the leading UK Life Sciences staffing businesses, I have been contacted more in the last 6 months from by senior industry leaders in the UK and US challenging and asking for data around hiring and identifying talent. The issues here are complex. Be aware the talent that is available and looking for career moves are placed into archaic, protracted hiring processes lacking agility, feedback or care. They do not place the candidate at the heart of the experience and a constant battle of seeking candidates with a 100% skill fit is at best unrealistic and at worst, exposes a lack of investment in developing new employees that have the majority of the skills and require some development. We often get asked for “Unicorn” candidates, yet we know, they only appear in fairy tales. As an organisation if you are not investing in learning and development or early years development, why would you assume other firms do? It’s easy becoming frustrated by the lack of experienced talent, yet rather pointless if you make no contribution as a business yourself.

The combined expertise of world class Universities of London, Cambridge and Oxford, as well as the big pharma presence of AstraZeneca in Cambridge and GSK in Stevenage, plus all the biotech’s in the region, make a truly world-class ecosystem that has had a hand in the discovery and development of many of today’s biggest selling medicines. It is an ecosystem that can go up against San Francisco and Boston in terms of the quality of science and innovation. This will come to a grinding halt if we don’t come together as an industry, invest and become more accountable for the skills that we will require to continue growing and understand that every company recognises it has a part to play in retraining, apprenticeship scheme adoption and new initiatives and investment in skills enhancement and talent development. Initiatives like Connect: Health Tech are critical, but also use the support already available and not utilised. If you are a leading executive within the Life Sciences ecosystem, make sure you are aware of the journey of a candidate through your organisation, I guarantee you, in many cases it is poor, convoluted and not a great experience.

Read the full report here.

For more details on how the RA apprenticeship scheme works and how it can support your growth, please do not hesitate to contact me on [email protected] for further guidance on how to play your part in making our industry more sustainable.​

Yvette Cleland, Chief Executive Officer- Cpl Life Sciences