UK Life Sciences Workforce Expected To Grow

There is likely to be an increase in the life science vacancies in the UK if the latest report on the state of the sector is anything to go by. Research from the Science Industry Partnership (SIP) recently predicted that there will be demand for 133,000 jobs across the sector by 2030.

In its Life Sciences 2030 Skills Strategy, it predicted that there will be significant demand for skilled scientific staff during the next decade to both achieve the growth ambitions of the UK’s life sciences sector and replace workers who are retiring in the industry.

These vacancies will be for highly specialised roles within biopharmaceuticals manufacturing and research and development (R&D), medical R&D and manufacturing, and the services and supply chain.

SIP expects 90,000 of those roles to be required in med tech, while 43,000 will be in biopharmaceuticals.

The area that’s likely to require the greatest number of employees in the next ten years is the service and supply chain, with 52,400 of the 133,000 jobs expected to be in this area. 46,500 jobs, meanwhile, are expected to be created in the med tech manufacturing sector.

Biopharma R&D will require the third-largest number of employees, with 19,300 jobs anticipated in this field. There will be approximately 8,000 jobs in med tech R&D, as well as 6,400 in biopharma manufacturing.

Alex Felthouse, managing director of Eisai Manufacturing Ltd and chair of SIP Futures Group, said that the report highlights the need to focus on recruitment to the life sciences sector.

“To meet the demand that we have for the future we need to ensure that our industry is attractive to those who are considering joining the sector. We need to make them aware of all the fantastic opportunities there are across a diverse and exciting range of activities – from research and development through to medicines manufacturing,” he asserted.

The SIP report also laid out a series of recommendations, including rolling out an “attraction strategy” to promote work in the life sciences sector, and developing and funding a sector-based skills policy to ensure that candidates’ skills match the agendas of both businesses and the growth ambitions of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy.

Earlier this month, the government announced a £10 million scheme that will help researchers and businesses in the life sciences sector come together to “develop treatments and cures for those facing life-threatening conditions like cancer and dementia”.

Life sciences minister Nadhim Zahawi explained that the funding would be used to support secondments for academics who can help develop new technologies and techniques that can be offered to NHS patients. It’s known as the Innovation Scholars Scheme.

Mr Zahawi stated: “Collaboration is vital to growing this sector and this new £10 million scheme will support the exchanging of ideas, knowledge and skills between researchers and businesses, while encouraging strong collaboration with them, the NHS and the government.”

The government hopes that this boost in funding will help to transform patients’ lives and make new treatments available to patients more quickly.