Regulatory affairs jobs dip in UK life sciences following record-breaking year, while EU hiring hits all-time high in 2022

Mar 28, 2022 | Life Sciences, News

  • Regulatory vacancies in UK rose faster than EU in 2021, surging 61% year-on-year
  • New jobs down 8% in early 2022, while recruitment in EU grew faster (+14%)
  • London experienced the largest decrease in hiring out of the UK regions
  • Regulatory jobs at PRA Health Sciences in highest jump across whole Europe

Vacancies for regulatory affairs professionals across UK life sciences fell in the first months of 2022, following a year when pharmaceutical firms published the most new regulatory jobs since records began, new research shows.

A report by specialist recruiters Cpl Life Sciences and data analysts Vacancysoft reveals that regulatory vacancies in the UK were up 61% year-on-year in 2021 compared to a 51% year-on-year rise in the EU. This faster growth meant that 22% of all new jobs for these specialists — just over one in five — were located in Britain.

However, there’s been a slowdown in UK hiring in the first couple of months of 2022, an 8% drop in vacancies when comparing the monthly average of the last two years. In contrast, recruitment across the EU is up 14% with February’s total of 353 vacancies the highest number recorded since 2017.

Yvette Cleland, CEO, Cpl UK, said: “The impact of Brexit has not yet provided the monumental hit on life sciences many had feared. However, we shouldn’t be complacent and it’s good that the UK government is working on a strategy to boost the competitiveness of the pharmaceuticals sector.

“The game plan is to make the UK a focal point for investment in drug development within Europe. A driver to this ambition must be to ensure the UK’s regulatory system and drug evaluation procedures provide rapid pathways to market. We have many challenges before us. However, the life sciences industry is renowned for embracing and working with change, as we saw during the pandemic. This showed the UK in a very positive and often agile light.”

London experienced the largest decrease in hiring out of the UK regions

The south of England remains the largest area for regulatory affairs vacancies with jobs up by 11% so far in 2022. The region accounts for 54.2% of all hiring in the UK — an uptick of 5.2 percentage points compared to 2021. In contrast, London experienced the biggest dip this year, with volumes down 26.2%. The capital now accounts for a quarter of all new regulatory affairs jobs, its lowest proportion in four years.

The north is the third-largest region for vacancies with 12.5% of all UK hiring, twice the share it held in 2019. New jobs in regulatory affairs in the north are up 33% so far in 2022, following a year when recruitment shot up by 315.4% year-on-year.

Regulatory jobs at PRA Health Sciences in highest jump across whole Europe

A comparison of the top firms for regulatory affairs professionals in Europe shows that GSK is the busiest recruiter, publishing 230 jobs for these specialists in 2021 (up 72.9% year-on-year). Sanofi, meanwhile, recorded the third-highest volume for regulatory affairs jobs in 2021, a total that indicated 121.4% year-on-year growth.  

Top 20 companies, insurance claims vacancies, GB, 2019-2022* (for the full table, see the report)

Company 2019 2020 2021 2022* (Feb)
Sedgwick 114 111 158 109
Crawford 106 64 146 59
Admiral 43 16 92 54
Gallagher 191 93 169 39
AXA 228 70 164 34


The biggest year-on-year increase in terms of European regulatory affairs jobs was at PRA Health Sciences, where recruitment was up 286.7% year-on-year in 2021. Merck, in second place for vacancies last year, was the only firm in the top 10 that didn’t record an uptick in vacancies.


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