FTC – UK Life Sciences Labour Market Trends, September 2023

Medical Affairs FTC vacancies increase by 170% year on year

Key findings include:

  • FTC vacancies overall is to drop 4.1% compared to last year
  • The North is projected to see its most substantial share since 2021
  • However, the South remains the leading region nationally
  • Biotech has become the second-largest sector within life sciences for FTC vacancies


Fixed-Term Contract Scientific vacancies remain relatively stable, maintaining a 5.3% share of all scientific vacancies. Equally, this represents the highest share observed since 2021, suggesting a continued demand for temporary scientific roles, despite a sharp fall in perm vacancies, according to the latest Life Sciences Labour Market Trends report with CPL and Vacancysoft.

Analysed by region, we can see the differences by areas within the UK. On that basis, the South emerges as the regional leader, poised to maintain its position as the most productive region, with estimated volumes nearly on par with 2022, showing only a modest -6.4% year-on-year change. The sharpest dips over the period have been seen in the Midlands and Northern Ireland, with volumes down 20.6% and 26.9% respectively. Conversely, the North region is projected to see its most substantial share since 2021, accounting for 17.2% of vacancies in 2023.

The pharmaceutical firms retain the largest concentration of scientific vacancies under FTC contracts. Projections for 2023 indicate a possible 3.7% increase. In contrast, Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) are facing challenges, with a substantial -24.1% year-on-year change expected in 2023. Put another way, in 2021, 28.9% of the FTC vacancies were in CRO’s. In 2023 that has dropped to 13.4%, where as a result, Biotechnology has become the second-largest sector.

Analyzed by role, we see that Project Management and Medical Affairs are on the upswing, with remarkable increases of 78.1% and 170%, respectively.

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