CPIA Report: Golden Triangle

The Clinical Professionals group aim to be aware of the latest industry events and news whilst also aspiring to be at the forefront of the latest analytics and reporting. This enables our consultants to provide a concise and quality service for both clients and candidates, whilst helping the industry to evolve as a whole.

Consequently, the Clinical Professionals group has collaborated with Vacancysoft to create monthly reports that provide an in-depth analysis of vacancies across various sectors, countries and companies.

The latest CPIA report features analysis and UK vacancy data in the “Golden Triangle”, Cambridge, Oxford and London.

Clinical Professionals Group CEO, Yvette Cleland comments: “It is better to light a candle than complain about the darkness. Yet on the back drop of what can only be acknowledged as complete incompetence on the part of the UK governments negotiations and parliamentary “party before country”, it can be difficult to assess where the light burns. As a CEO of a business, uncertainty can be the worst of all worlds. If you are aware you are heading for disaster, you can at least plan for that.

If I were to consider where I believe the light does shine, in the face of uncertainty, we have some interesting and often conflicting levels of market intelligence to assess.

75% of all vacancies in life sciences are clustered within the “golden triangle” of London, Oxford and Cambridge. In spite of the political turbulence vacancies have continued to grow at circa 17% year on year in this region. Whilst the underlying perception is there has been less VC investment since Brexit, the actual data shows that the number of UK biotech’s has increased by 65% in the last three years. This does make me wonder what the market would be like with certainty attached to it? In fact Britain’s biotech sector is experiencing unprecedented growth with much of this investment supporting a plethora of starts ups focused on tackling some of the globes most pressing healthcare challenges. To context this, if you analyse Companies House data we find that 3,456 Biotech’s were involved in R&D in 2019, up from 2,095 in Q1 2016.

Brexit uncertainties have caused a vast level of uncertainty but the 85% growth in capital investment showed unprecedented capital investment of 2.2 billion in 2018 doubling the 2017 levels.

Within the “golden triangle” London reigned supreme with 840 biotech’s based in the capital at the beginning of 2019, showing the fastest growth as biotech’s in the capital more than doubled since 2016. Cambridge came in at second place with 258 biotech’s in Q1 2019. Oxford however has shown a 95% increase in biotech’s since 2016.

On the back drop of all of this investment, as expected open jobs vacancies continue to rise. Anecdotally line managers are making the assumption that the political environment is causing issues around “talent attraction” and this is making jobs take longer to fill. The question here then has to be, if jobs are now harder to fill because talent is scarce, why are “talent and HR” teams unresponsive to candidates applying for role directly or indirectly?

As CEO of a staffing business I have a unique insight into hiring practices across multiple life sciences businesses, large and small. I would have assumed that in turbulent times with candidate skills at a vast shortage that the “War for Talent” would ensure that the candidate journey through a recruitment process would be swift, professional, well planned and with the candidates experience at the forefront. Whether the candidate gains the role or not, at the top of the agenda for all organisations is the experience. The reverse of this situation is in fact true.

Employer brands are in fact being compromised on a daily basis through the lack of care and consideration given to candidates who have demonstrated an interest and a desire to join a new company. Some are kept waiting for 2 to 4 weeks before even receiving feedback on their actual CV. This is neither uncommon or an acceptable business practice. So to conclude, whilst Brexit is the stalking horse in the news and the uncertainty a major challenge for business leaders, this is simply a moot point if a candidate will not join your growing biotech through their experience.

Investment is at its greatest levels ever, the candidate skill pool continues to diminish, we all articulate our great frustration around the governments incompetent levels of negotiation, and yet as an industry we can’t even construct a competent hiring strategy. Brexit may not in fact turn out to be our greatest challenge.”

If you would like to read the full report and other installments of the Clinical Professionals’ Industry Analytics Report please click here.

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