UK 2023 Review: Vacancies for medical affairs in 2022 fall across England and Wales as the South hit record level

Our latest report in partnership with CPL Life Sciences

  • Hiring volumes in medical affairs outside London saw the largest fall, down 26.9% year-on-year
  • Performance in the Southern regions led the way across England and Wales despite registering the fastest yearly drop, down 27.5%
  • Vacancies for Medical affairs specialists took the lead as all top scientific functions and sectors experienced a decrease in 2022
  • Medical affairs jobs at AstraZeneca dominated the market in 2022, while Roche and Gilead recorded the highest jump

According to the latest UK Life Sciences Labour Market Trends report by Cpl Life Sciences and market data analysts Vacancysoft, key recruitment trends reveal that job volumes for medical affairs vacancies in 2022 decreased in relation to a year earlier, down -18.8% in London. Most interestingly, outside the capital, hiring for these professionals experienced the largest decline year-on-year, a fall of -26.9% in vacancies when compared to 2021 numbers.

Looking at the quarterly totals, our data confirms there were 92 job postings in London for medical affairs professionals in Q1 2022, the largest total of the year. The start of the current year brought positive momentum, with Q1 2023 witnessing a substantial improvement of 43.5%. In the rest of England and Wales, vacancies peaked during Q1 2021 with 190 jobs published, recording an uplift of 34.8%.

Yvette Cleland, CEO at Cpl Life Sciences UK, commented:

“Medical Affairs is now considered a third strategic pillar within Biopharma & MedTech innovation. In a world of uncertainty, one thing that has emerged is that Medical Affairs professionals are the natural owners of scientific data throughout the lifecycle. This potential offers Medical Affairs the opportunity to move beyond its former status as primarily a support function and to assume a new role as a primary strategic pillar of the organisation alongside Research and Development, Commercial, and Market Access. As the life sciences industry navigates through real-world evidence (RWE), electronic medical records (EMR), and novel sources of data derived from genomics, it becomes evident that a more ambitious and forward-thinking structure is required for the Medical Affairs function”.

Southern regions led the way across England and Wales despite the largest fall 

With 361 vacancies published last year, the Southern remained the largest area for jobs in medical affairs despite a decrease, down 27.5% compared to 2021. This outcome is also relevant as it represents the fastest drop year-on-year, with new jobs in 2022 equating to just over half (52%) of overall regional hiring.

In contrast, in a landscape where all regions experienced yearly falls, the Greater London area recorded the smallest dip this year, with volumes down 18.8% in relation to 2021 levels. London accounted for over a third (37.3%) of total vacancies in 2022 (a fall of 2.4 percentage points from 2021).

Medical affairs specialists dominated the market as all top scientific functions and sectors experienced a decrease in 2022

According to our data, Medical affairs specialists topped the table across the 2021-2023 period, with numbers for January-April 2023 hitting 240. However, total job postings fell by 21.3% in 2022 compared to the previous year, accounting for nearly half (48.8%) of all medical affairs vacancies in 2022.

Interestingly, hiring for all top scientific functions dropped in relation to 2021 levels, with Medical advisor specialists experiencing a significant year-on-year decline of 25.3% in 2022 and Scientific Advisors suffering the largest dip, down -46.4% from 2021. Analysed by sectors, the data also show decreases, with pharma leading the way in medical affairs, hiring 553 new jobs in 2022, which, however, represented a 16% year-on-year decrease.

Jobs at AstraZeneca soared in 2022; Roche and Gilead recorded the highest jump

A comparison of the top firms for medical affairs professionals reveals that AstraZeneca was the company to have made the most medical affairs hires in 2022, with a slight rise of 0.8% year-on-year. However, this represents a big difference from its performance in 2021, when the pharma giant saw an uplift of 49.4%.

Further down the table, we can see that the Swiss multinational Roche was the fastest-growing firm in vacancies for medical affairs professionals, registering an incredible yearly rise of 150% in relation to 2021. Gilead was the next best-performing firm in 2022, up 53.8% year-on-year.

Top firms, Medical Affairs vacancies, England and Wales, 2020-23 

(download the report to see all the top 20)


Medical Affairs, E&W 2020 2021 2022 2023 (Jan/April) 20-21 21-22
AstraZeneca 85 127 128 14 49.4% 0.8%
GSK 40 61 82 26 52.5% 34.4%
Propharma Group 43 49 45 1 14.0% -8.2%
Syneos Health 23 29 23 2 26.1% -20.7%
Ergomed 8 28 22 3 250.0% -21.4%
Gilead 10 13 20 12 30.0% 53.8%
Roche 8 8 20 3 0.0% 150.0%
Abbvie 25 35 18 3 40.0% -48.6%
Pfizer 12 21 16 2 75.0% -23.8%
Iqvia 23 42 14 5 82.6% -66.7%
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