Medical Affairs – UK Life Sciences Labour Market Trends, April 2024

Medical Affairs vacancies are up 9.1% compared to 2023 as London surges


Key findings include:
  • 2024 sees a pick up for Medical Affairs vacancies in London, up by 26.1%
  • Biotechnology companies saw the biggest increase, up by 92.6% YoY.
  • There was a 118% uplift in Scientific Advisor roles. 
  •  Propharma is leading the way and is on track for an increase of 229% 


With the slump in the pharmaceutical sector set to continue, the long-awaited reforms to the MHRA have yet to materialise. As a result, drug approval in the UK lags behind the EU, further depressing the sector. 2023 seems to be the low point in that there has been an uptick in Q1 so far, and if this continues, it will increase by 9.1% this year compared to last. The recovery has been in London specifically, with volumes up 26.1% on last year; regionally, we have seen a drop. This has meant that the proportion of vacancies in the capital has grown significantly, rising from 35.2% in 2022 to 47.2% in 2024. According to the latest UK Life Sciences Labour Market Trends report by Cpl and market data analysts Vacancysoft.

Biotechnology companies lead in recruitment within Medical Affairs roles

Within the Life sciences industry,  the biggest hiring surge this year has been within the Biotechnology companies, and here we have seen vacancies increase by 92.6%. The pharmaceutical companies remain dominant in vacancies, and in 2023, they made up 83% of them. The other point to make is that due to the surge in Biotech, the share of vacancies within the sector has grown substantially, rising from 4.9% in 2022 to 8.2% this year. 

In contrast, the share of vacancies within the Clinical Research Organisations has dropped from 14.8% in 2022 to 8.8% this year. 

Surge in Scientific Advisor Demand Amidst Medical Affairs Decline

When analysing the specific role types, the biggest uplift is seen in Scientific Advisor roles, with vacancies increasing by 118% yearly. Similarly, Medical Advisors are the second largest role type, and due to a 14.6% increase in vacancies this year, the share of the total has risen from 28.1% last year to 29.6% in 2024. 

Medical Affairs is the most common job title within the grouping however, it has recorded a 6.5% fall this year compared to last. This has resulted in a share of the total drop from 55% last year to 47% this year. 

Propharma is leading the way and is on track for an increase of 229% 

Propharma has appeared as the most active recruiter, showing a 229% increase in Medical Affairs roles compared to last year. In addition, Johnson & Johnson has seen 150% growth this year. Jazz Pharmaceuticals is also one to watch, with increases above 100% two years in a row. GSK leads the way in terms of recruitment for Medical Affairs professionals, with a 44% increase in vacancies.

In contrast, AstraZeneca is one of the companies to see a decline this year compared to last, with vacancies falling by 44.7%. As a result, they have gone from being the leading recruiter last year to third overall this year.

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