If careful attention is paid to the reality, we will see clearly, the real shortage is of the right skills, rather than of jobs. In the last 12 months we have seen a positively thriving European life sciences market whilst still navigating the Brexit transition and the continuing aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have witnessed what can only be described as quite remarkable growth in M&A/VC activity. UK digital health has been a beneficiary of significant funding into UK digital health.
In 2021 Europe saw its highest recorded vacancies within life sciences. A particular highlight across the continent was in scientist vacancies with over 12500 newly created roles. This represented a 71% rise YOY and already in 2022, this trend continues with 37% growth versus 2021. It is very clear that investors have also been attracted to the booming biotech sector that has been riding high on the crest of innovation. In the UK last year, by far the fastest growth in vacancies however was seen in clinical start-up which, only 4 months into this year the trend is already at 75% growth. This would indicate a surge in new trials coming through.
We are seeing within clinical trials specifically the trend to become more uniform. With the use of technology throughout the industry becoming more widely adopted & accepted we see the recognition rise in the benefits of tech. With the increase in deidentified real-world patient data becoming more available therefore increasing the use of data analytics platforms, the work of researchers and academics is being revolutionised.
If we start to look at some of the key hiring trends within clinical research, the UK continues to publish the most clinical CRO vacancies, albeit on a relatively flat trajectory in 2022, with no real year-on-year change (0.3%). Nevertheless, as hiring levels in other countries drop, the UK has increased its share of total European vacancies from 18.3% in 2020 to 27.4% in 2022. A look across vacancies for specific clinical functions within contract research organisations (CROs) in Europe shows that roles in clinical projects are most sought after. The 400 vacancies published in 2022 so far represent a rise of 29.1% in relation to the same period in 2021.
There has always been an ambition for the UK to be a leading global centre of excellence in life sciences. The industry itself has shown incredible resilience in a post Brexit world, a testament to the talent and determination of the industry to remain firmly on that stage. The main area that will hold the UK back considerably in achieving further ambition is the lack of new talent coming through. We have many executives and prfessionals within the sector that ponder this dilemma, and yet still no formidable actions or plans are in place to address this as an industry. We have the starting point with our amazing academic institutions, our employer led apprenticeship schemes and access to some incredible tech talent. Yet, as a country we still fail to work as one unified eco system to address this.
For the full report click here
Yvette Cleland | CEO