Clinical – UK Life Sciences Labour Market Trends, November 2023

Clinical vacancies in 2024 forecast to exceed 2019 levels, vacancies to double YOY

Key findings include:

  • Clinical Operations roles within CROs have proven most resilient, down only 5.7%
  • Within Pharma companies, there has been an upswing in CRA vacancies, up 29%
  • AstraZeneca is the leading recruiter for clinical roles and has seen volumes up 45.7%


While 2023 has seen significantly lower levels of recruitment for clinical-specific functions, the forecast for 2024 is bullish, with the immediate projection being for two times more clinical vacancies in 2024 than in 2023. This is according to the latest Life Sciences Labour Market Trends report by CPL and market data analysts Vacancysoft.

Clinical vacancies in 2023 hit all-time lows, as volumes dropped 34.9% compared to 2022, as delays in trial approvals have led to a slowdown in recruitment. Equally, the fact that since summer four times more trials have been approved than in a regular year, suggests that looking ahead, recruitment will surge. Factor that in 2023, clinical vacancies were 50% lower than in 2019, the last business year pre-pandemic, just for the recruitment to return to the levels seen then would mean a doubling of vacancies in 2024. 

Poland emerges as a leading hub

While in the UK, the share of pan-European CRO clinical vacancies has fallen from 34% last year to 17% this year, in contrast, Poland, despite seeing volumes fall, has now become the third largest country in Europe.

Similarly, there have been more clinical vacancies in Poland within the pharmaceutical companies than in Germany, which traditionally has been by far, the biggest hub within the EU. For context, within Germany, vacancies have dropped 26.7% year on year, whereas Poland has proven significantly more resilient, with volumes actually increasing by 5.7%. As a result over 10% of all the clinical vacancies are now in Poland in the sector.

James Chaplin – CEO – Vacancysoft – comments:

“Vacancysoft has had a significant presence in Poland for nearly fifteen years now, and over that time has seen the growth of the economy here, especially in STEM related areas. It is not surprising therefore to see the pharmaceutical industry scale up so significantly.”

AstraZeneca lead the way, Pfizer surge with 127% increase

AstraZeneca is the leading Pharmaceutical company in terms of Clinical vacancies and has actually had a significant uplift in activity this year, with volumes up 45.7%. Pfizer is also one to watch, with a year-on-year uplift of 127%, which is the largest increase out of any of the organizations in the top 20.

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