Executive Search – EEA / UK Life Sciences Labour Market Trends, June 2023

Executive recruitment slows down in the UK as VC funding in Biotechnology tapers off

Despite estimates indicating a projected year-on-year fall in executive vacancies of 40% in 2023, Pharma companies across the UK remain faced with ongoing talent shortages, particularly in areas such as digital, data analytics and environmental, social and governance (ESG) according to the latest life sciences report by CPL and labour market data analysts Vacancysoft.

Other Key findings include:

  • Increasingly, Executive vacancies are being found in Pharmaceuticals companies over other sectors (Biotech / CRO’s) with the share rising to 61% this year
  • Scientific Executive vacancies actually peaked in 2021, with 2023 on track to be 48% down on then
  • Analysing Switzerland, our 2023 projection indicates a drastic year-on-year change, with an anticipated decline of 56.2%
  • Within the EU, Spain is the country to watch, with significant year-on-year increases, so first a rise of 136.7% in 2022 followed by a projected 26.8% increase in 2023

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Senior executive roles have been falling in the UK since 2021, when recruitment hit a peak of 2,474 vacancies. Nonetheless, we would expect numbers to taper off following the high demand for talent during the pandemic years and the subsequent slowdown in VC funding.

“UK biotech investment had a slow start in 2023, with the amount raised in the first quarter dropping by 39% compared to the same period in 2022. Startups or further investment can often trigger more senior hires, so it makes sense to see a decline in senior-level roles in line with investment slimming down.” According to CPL Life Sciences Chief Executive, Yvette Cleland.

While London is expected to maintain its position as the leading region within the UK for executive vacancies in 2023, the estimated number of vacancies is predicted to decrease to 182, a 20.7% dive (from the 230 positions posted in 2022). However, the capital’s share is expected to climb significantly from 31.1% in 2022 to 41.1% in 2023.

“The functions performed in London tend to be more resilient to market activity, so we see lower levels of fluctuation in recruitment in the Capital. Similarly, when the sector picks up, we would expect that to manifest regionally first,” according to James Chaplin, Vacancysoft Chief Executive.

Within Switzerland, with the exception of regulatory, all other roles in the sector experienced year-on-year declines in 2022 and are projected to continue falling in 2023. Factor though that the projection for 2023 suggests that regulatory affairs positions will fall by a massive 75% compared to last year.

Finally, when analysing the EU27, we see Germany remains the largest EU market for Executive roles, equally volumes are down 59.1%. In contrast, Spain, Italy, Ireland and France were the countries to record year-on-year increases over the period.

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All data featured in this report is available in the Vacancy Analytics platform, which is updated in real-time and allows for interactive analysis, giving you the power to drill into trends to identify the key insights, you need to power your business.

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