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By :
Natalie Drew

Our quarterly round up of what’s happening in the Life Sciences talent markets. 

R&D, Clinical and Quality 

This quarter we’ve registered record high job numbers across the life sciences sector, particularly with big pharma, small biotech and medical devices client organisations. There’s been a push across clinical, quality and regulatory affairs, with a 37% increase in vacant positions versus last quarter. This positive trend is a result of businesses re-prioritising projects and hires that were previously on hold as they focus on moving forward after a highly unpredictable time.

Offers made, but offers rejected – why?

The high number of jobs registered has translated into a high number of offers. But this hasn’t been reflected in the proportion of jobs filled. One of the main reasons is the lack of available candidates on the market compared to the volume of vacant positions. 

And even if the search is successful, a high proportion of candidates are rejecting job offers in favour of strong counteroffers as companies fight to retain top talent. But is this the right move for a business? Well, that depends on why the candidate originally went in search of a new role.

Whether their reason was progression, a salary increase or a new challenge, one statistic remains the same - 80% of people who accept counter offers leave their company within 6 months and a staggering 90% will leave within 12 months of accepting a counteroffer. 

Candidate shortage 

Record high job numbers would usually result in a booming market, but there is a disconnect between the number of jobs available compared to the number of candidates on the market. What a turnaround from 2020, when the situation was reversed, with a lack of jobs and a huge influx of candidates, struggling with redundancy or ‘let go’ because employers faced financial difficulties. 

It’s no wonder, then , that the prevailing view of our candidate networks is hesitation to leave the security of their job at a time when, to many, the market still feels turbulent and uncertain. 

Candidates are also extremely savvy when it comes to salaries.  Highly skilled people are in demand but the market is suffering from a lack of skilled talent, therefore they recognise that their current market value has significantly increased.
The result is inflated salaries as clients fight to attract talent to their organisation. However, once the market settles, candidates may find themselves at the top, or above, the ceiling for their skills and experience, and their options to move may become limited.

Director vacancies to steer success for 2022

Throughout the summer we have been working on C-suite and Director level positions across the product lifecycle – clinical, medical, regulatory, R&D, commercial and engineering. Following a turbulent time of multiple restructures, which hit the management level hard, it’s great to see these positions being prioritised as businesses reset their strategic focus, building for a successful 2022.

After a period of treading water through the pandemic and after Brexit, these positions will be crucial for companies looking to secure growth and investment going forward.

Looking ahead

After such a fast switch from a client driven market awash with candidates to a situation where hiring has taken off and candidates are very much in control, we anticipate a period of stabilisation to follow.  As confidence starts to return, candidates will become more comfortable with the idea of making the leap to a new role and start to explore their career options. 

However, issues with global supply chains threaten to derail some planned product launches or cause a backlog of orders, impacting the speed at which companies can push new products to market. This in turn may have a knock-on effect on hiring into those areas as we move through 2022.

If you would like any further information about the topics discussed here, or are looking to hire in Life Sciences, Private Healthcare or Charity & Not-for-Profit, please get in touch


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