UK accounts for most clinical vacancies across European life sciences, dominating CRO and pharmaceutical sector recruitment — new report

Jun 8, 2022 | Life Sciences, News

  • Over 12,500 new clinical jobs recorded in European life sciences in 2021
  • Vacancies in contract research organisations represents 65% of total hiring
  • UK leads for clinical hiring in CRO and pharmaceutical sectors
  • Syneos Health, PRA and IQVIA publish most European clinical jobs

Clinical hiring across European life sciences continues to rise following a record 2021, with the UK accounting for the most vacancies in contract research organisations and pharmaceutical companies, a new report shows.

According to research by specialist recruiters Cpl Life Sciences and data analysts Vacancysoft, there were over 12,500 new clinical jobs published across European life sciences in 2021, up 72% year-on-year and 60% more in relation to 2019.

Contract research organisations (CROs) recorded the bulk of the new jobs, recording over 8,000 vacancies last year (64% of the total). Pharmaceutical and biotech firms accounted for 32% and 4% of total hiring, respectively.

UK leads for clinical hiring in CRO and pharmaceutical sectors

By country, the UK continues to publish the most clinical CRO vacancies, increasing its share of total European vacancies from 18.3% in 2020 to 27.4% in 2022. Romania is experiencing the biggest surge, with clinical vacancies up 87% on 2021. Ukraine has dropped out of the top 10 in 2022, an area it frequented prior to Russia’s invasion

In the pharmaceutical sector, the UK accounts for 20.2% of all new clinical jobs in Europe. Out of the top 10 countries, Switzerland has seen a decline so far in 2022 (-1.3%) while Ireland is experiencing a surge, with new clinical jobs in pharma up 33%. 

Syneos Health, PRA and IQVIA publish most European clinical jobs

Syneos Health is the leading life sciences industry hirer of clinical specialists in Europe. The company topped the table last year with over 1,530 vacancies, and in 2022 makes a rapid start with the publication of 780 vacancies — already more than half its previous year’s total.

Top 20 Firms, Clinical Vacancies, European Life Sciences 2021—2022

Company 2021 2022 (Apr)
Syneos Health 1533 779
PRA 1131 377
IQVIA 1241 362
ICON 625 321
Parexel 617 218
Labcorp Drug Development 802 169
Premier Research International 270 138
Ergomed 188 125
Medpace 133 85
Cmed Group 23 65


New jobs in 2022 are growing the fastest at Cmed Group which — following its publication of only 23 jobs in 2021 — has already recorded 65 clinical vacancies up to and including April. This year’s current tally puts the firm on a year-on-year growth trajectory of 747.8%. Second-fastest are hiring levels at Ergomed, up 99.5% in the first months of 2022.

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