Year in Review 2022: Scientific vacancies in England and Wales behind 2021 levels, with the Southern regions dominating hiring!

A new report with Cpl Life Sciences!

      • Vacancies in London ranked second despite a decrease of -13.3%
      • March 2022 was the peak month for scientific jobs in the Pharmaceutical sector
      • Among top roles, Laboratory was the busiest scientific function, surpassing 1K
      • AstraZeneca was once more the number-one firm in 2022

According to the latest Year in Review UK Life Sciences Labour Market Trends report by Cpl Life Sciences and market data analysts Vacancysoft, key recruitment trends show that in 2022 there were over 11,200 new professional scientific vacancies in the Life Sciences industry across England and Wales. This constitutes a year-on-year decrease of 15.6% compared to the 13,300+ vacancies in 2021.

A regional breakdown of the vacancies shows that the Southern regions topped the table in terms of quantity for the third consecutive year, publishing over 6,500 new jobs across the Life Sciences sectors. However, these numbers translate into a yearly drop of -15.9% from 2021. Vacancies in London took the runners-up spot even though jobs in the capital, which were in excess of 2,400, fell by -13.3% compared to 2021.


Yvette Cleland, CEO of Cpl UK, commented:

“Current political instability, uncertainty with Brexit and the pause in deal-making will affect the fortunes of 2023, with early indicators showing a continued decline or flat growth in new jobs in the life sciences sector. More focus should be placed on supporting our vibrant life sciences industry and better leveraging strong international relationships and opportunities to create better conditions and channels for trade. Clinical trials are also a valuable form of mobile R&D investment. During the pandemic, the UK showed its ability as a world leader, delivering high-quality clinical studies at unprecedented speed. The Department for International Trade (DIT) should continue to work across the life sciences ecosystem to support and promote the UK as a clinical research destination and to secure R&D investment, which can speed up innovations in the NHS”.


Vacancy volumes for CROs dropped significantly throughout 2022

Among the most in-demand roles within Life Sciences, vacancies for Laboratory were the busiest scientific function, having accumulated over 2,700 job postings from 2020-22 and topping the table in 2022 with over 1,000 new scientific vacancies. This, however, represented a year-on-year decrease of -7.4%.

R&D ranked second, registering a year-on-year drop (-10%). Overall, most of the scientific functions experienced a decrease in the past year, the most prominent being Clinical Projects and Clinical Management, down 30.9% and 30.6%, respectively.


Bad year for multinational IQVIA

When analysing the top Life Sciences organisations hiring scientific talent in 2022, we observe that AstraZeneca led the way again this year, closing 2022 with over 1,000 new scientific vacancies, a modest year-on-year growth of 3.7% compared to 2021.

The global CRO Syneos Health took the runners-up spot with an impressive year-on-year jump of 30.9%. 

However, the most significant change among the top 5 companies was experienced by IQVIA. Vacancies for the Durham, North Carolina-headquartered CRO suffered a year-on-year decrease of -33.6% in relation to 2021.


Top firms, Scientific vacancies, E&W, 2020-22 (see report for Top 20)

Company Sector 2021 2022 21 – 22
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals 1049 1088 3.7%
Syneos Health CRO 554 725 30.9%
GSK Pharmaceuticals 593 635 7.1%
Eurofins CRO 580 596 2.8%
IQVIA CRO 678 450 -33.6%


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