Why Britain’s life sciences sector is booming

While some industries in the UK are struggling this year thanks to COVID and Brexit, the life sciences sector has come out smelling of roses.

The UK has a strong history of innovation in life sciences, from penicillin to the contraceptive pill to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. Job opportunities in life sciences are on the rise, particularly in pharma and clinical research. Here’s what you need to know.


Smart money

The UK’s life science sector is looking good financially, with higher foreign direct investments than in any other country in Europe. It’s shrugged off the stress of Brexit and seized new opportunities during COVID. New technologies are being developed, with AI being used for diagnostic testing, digital pathology programmes attracting investment, new regional Digital Innovation Hubs, and companies across the sector going further and faster into digital transformation than anyone had dreamed possible before COVID.

The new Life Sciences Council, which brings ministers and industry together, and the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy are driving further investment and funding research and development to strengthen the industry in the UK.


Jobs booming

Nearly 241,000 people across the UK work in life sciences, yet the sector is still in the grip of a talent drought. People with STEM qualifications and industry experience have been particularly sought after since Brexit, and the science, technology and healthcare industries are forecast to add 2.7 million jobs to the economy by 2038.

Emerging technologies are adding to the demand for skilled workers, and employers are now looking for life science professionals with skills in machine learning, big data and data science. There are also many vacancies in clinical positions, particularly in clinical research organisations.


World class

For a country with just 0.9% of the global population, the UK is seriously punching above its weight when it comes to life sciences. It contributes 3.2% of the world’s research and development expenditure, boasts 4.1% of the world’s researchers, and publishes over 6% of the world’s research articles.

One secret to this success is the UK’s excellent university sector, including four of the top 10 universities worldwide. Another is the NHS, as well as the Government’s strong support for and investment in life sciences, and the large number of major medical research charities.

All this puts Britain in a great position to remain a world leader in life sciences, making this an ideal time to make your next career move. If you’d like to find a new opportunity in life sciences, get in touch with us today to discover how we can help.

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