Engineering vacancies set to reach record high due to innovation push spurred on by Covid vaccine powerhouse, claims new report

Jul 4, 2022 | Life Sciences, News

  • Need for innovation in life sciences means engineering vacancies in Europe are likely to hit record levels in 2022
  • Pharmaceuticals have the lion’s share of engineering vacancies in Europe with 78%, with German multi-national Merck posting the highest number of vacancies this year compared to other organisations in the sector.
  • Germany leads the pack with 1,080 vacancies in 2021, an increase of 53.6% – while Ireland saw the highest year-on-year growth. 

A drive for innovation in life sciences, spurred on by the lightning-fast development of the Covid vaccine, means engineering vacancies in Europe are likely to hit record levels in 2022, according to a new report.
Companies all over the globe collaborated to expedite the vaccine – with unprecedented results. Now that same pressure is 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, concluded the research by specialist recruiters Cpl Life Sciences and data analysts Vacancysoft. The report showed there were almost 500 more vacancies from January to May 2022 (3,018), compared to the same period in 2021 (2,551). The total for the year 2021 was 6,084.

Vacancies by sector

In 2022 and beyond, the key areas of focus expected in the life sciences include using artificial intelligence to accelerate research and reduce costs, and digitalisation for more virtual healthcare and wearable medical tech.
The report also highlights research and development (R&D) leveraging data science, medicine tailored to individuals’ DNA, and supply chain optimisations to tackle delays and capacity limitations In terms of engineering vacancies by sector, pharmaceuticals shows clear supremacy, with a 78.1% monthly average share in 2022 compared to 73.7% in 2021, representing 4,482 vacancies in 2021.

Pharmaceuticals witnessed strong continued growth of 28.8% in 2022 compared to a broadly flat rate experienced within clinical research organisations (CRO) and biotechnology companies with -1.6% and 2.3%, respectively. The runner-up sector is biotechnology with a 15.3% share in 2022 YTD vacancies, down from 18.2% in 2021 with a total of 1,107 vacancies in 2021. Overall, biotechnology saw the highest percentage change, with a 66.2% increase year-on-year in 2021.

Germany leading the pack

Examining vacancies by country, Germany leads the pack with 1,080 vacancies in 2021, an increase of 53.6%.
In 2022, Germany is still experiencing growth in this regard, though at a diminished rate of 16% so far. The highest year-on-year growth in 2021 was observed in Ireland, with 68%, reaching 776 vacancies in 2021, followed by Belgium’s 67.8%, with 374 vacancies.

So far in 2022, Denmark has the highest average monthly growth rate at 47.4%, with Belgium and France up by 44.4%, and 42.1%, respectively.
Switzerland is the only top eight country in 2022 to have a negative monthly average growth rate with -5.65%.

The report explained: “With regards to the UK, after a stable 10.5% share in 2020 it finally bounced up in 2022, reaching 11.4%, making it the third largest country for engineering vacancies. This is potentially fuelled by the booming biotechnology sector in the UK with a 60% increase in UK funding, reaching a record high of $5.6 billion in 2021.”

Big names in recruitment push

With pharmaceuticals having the lion’s share of engineering vacancies in Europe with 78% YTD, it is almost guaranteed to be the dominating sector, with 17 organisations out of the top 20. Merck has posted the highest number this year, up by 28.8%, overtaking Abbott, whose vacancies dropped by 6.7% this year, the report showed. Out of the top 10 organisations, Novartis has been the most active in 2022 so far, with engineering vacancies up by 86%, followed by Novo Nordisk with a 60.8% increase in terms of average monthly rate compared to 2021. Bayer has been unique in seeing a diminished growth rate of 24.1% in 2022 YTD. Within the top 20, three more organisations experienced a decline in their engineering volumes. These are PSC Biotech, down by 37.5%, Cytiva down by 36.8%, and Lonza down by 30.3%.

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