The Covid19 pandemic in 2020 meant engineering became a key area within life sciences, suddenly under immense pressure to develop vaccines while having to step up to a new world of challenges in real time.
Companies across the world collaborated more deeply to expedite processes and it could be said this has ended with unprecedented results. We are now seeing a further pattern emerging and a similar pressure being applied to speed up the development of other drugs and treatments. This need for innovation means engineering vacancies in Europe are likely to hit record levels in 2022, with almost 500 more vacancies from January to May 2022 (3,018) compared to 2021 (2,551).
During Covid19 we saw many adjustments in regulatory approaches and expectations. Many of the regulatory accommodations intended to expedite development and approval of products to prevent the spread or reduce the symptoms and secondary effects of COVID-19. Regulatory authorities adjusted regulatory processes intended to reduce potential for drug shortages for essential medicines for other therapeutic priorities.
Because the industry leveraged regulatory opportunities and accelerated development for treatment and vaccines for COVID-19 and for supply chain continuity of medicines, we may well see these new learns allow goals to be achieved in the speed and development of drugs and treatments that may have been held up during the pandemic.
Our vacancy data currently shows all scientific and engineering vacancies have experienced a comparable slowdown trend with a 23.4% average monthly growth rate, down from a peak of 48.5% in 2021. The surge of vacancies experienced in 2021 correlated with the pharma industry responding rapidly to the Covid19 pandemic. However, the underlying trend sees engineering roles increasing year on year.
The greatest challenge the pharma industry faces currently has not changed though. We do not have enough training and development for the skills the life sciences industry needs.
Equally it’s not a lack of STEM graduates that’s the problem, rather it’s that STEM graduates choose not to, or are unable to, find work in life sciences. Unless the industry wakes up to this issue and focuses on how to promote the exceptional career available within life sciences, however agile the industry is in response to crisis or development, without skilled workers to take the industry forward, the industry itself will fail.
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Yvette Cleland - CEO | Cpl UK