Hays UK jobs and employment blog


What life sciences skills do you need for a pay rise in 2019?

By Paul Strouts, Global Managing Director of Hays Life Sciences

The vast majority (84%) of life sciences employers say they have experienced skills shortages over the last year, according to our latest report, Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019.

As a result of these shortages, salaries in life sciences rose by an average of 1.8% last year, with greater rises seen across those roles requiring the most in-demand skillsets. And there is even more good news for professionals in life sciences: 77% of their employers say they also plan to increase salaries during 2019.

What skillsets are most in demand?

With so many employers experiencing skills shortages in 2018, life sciences professionals with the right skills will be best placed to demand the highest salaries. As the market moves towards more personalised medicines, those professionals who specialise in clinical trials and genetics will find themselves in increasingly high demand.

In addition, continued advancements in technology and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) has created continued demand for technological skills. Those senior professionals who can combine an awareness of how technology and automation can create new efficiencies with the traditional soft skills of leadership, communication and project management will be those who are truly indispensable – and best placed to see their pay increase in the year ahead.

A clear demand for life sciences managers

As the life sciences industry grows, management skills are more in demand than ever before. As Pamela Learmonth of The UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) said: “We need to build approximately 130 more clinical-stage drug companies, and therefore CEOs and teams, than currently exist – creating 30,000 to 60,000 more direct, high-skill jobs.

“The UK bioscience sector has identified an urgent need to replenish the experienced management teams currently running the sector’s pioneering companies with the next generation of management talent. It is vital that we capture the knowledge of our experienced biotech entrepreneurs to develop the management teams of the future.”

Are you satisfied with your salary?

Over half (53%) of professionals plan to move jobs this year – and 22% of them say this is down to their salary and benefits package.

For all life sciences professionals, it is vital to be aware of your ‘market rate’ – how much you could be earning in line with national and regional averages for your seniority and skillsets, which you can do by checking our salary checker.

Do you have all of the skills needed for the salary you are looking for? If not, what can you do to build on these? Whether you plan to stick with your existing employer or move on, make sure you are armed with industry knowledge to support your case for a higher salary.

If you have the right skills, the highest salaries are there for the taking.

If you’re unsure about your current pay and think you could be earning more in your role, try our new salary checker tool, where you can quickly compare your salary to the average and top level for your region.

About this author

Paul joined Hays in 2007 following the acquisition of his Life Sciences business (James Harvard International) and has been involved in the sector since 2001.

He looks after 29 countries within the group’s portfolio, spanning from New York in the US to Sydney in Australia. From our flagship London office, Paul oversees all operations and sales for the brand, and drives the business forward on a strategic level.


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