A study by Acorn Recruitment shows that more people applied for pharmaceutical jobs in 2019 than for any other sector. For each position advertised by the firm, an average of 30 candidates applied, making it the most popular sector UK wide.

As we forge into 2020, numbers applying for jobs within the pharmaceutical industry are healthy where other industries are unable to make the same claim. Like most sectors there are, of course, still talent shortages in some industry areas, but with a healthy uptake in numbers generally we would expect the benefits of this to continue to be forthcoming for years to come.

As increasing numbers looking to break into the sector now continue to upskill from grassroots positions and develop their careers, it’s increasingly likely that more and more roles will continue to be filled moving forward. So, as the decade flourishes, so too will job opportunities across the pharmaceutical industry.

Application rates for roles across retail and production floor areas in particular are burgeoning, with individuals increasingly turning to the industry as a safe environment in an otherwise uncertain retail market generally. If you want a job as a production operative, the prospect of working within the pharmaceutical industry is far more attractive than industrial and other environments.

While demand for production floor roles makes the pharmaceuticals industry number one for many, however, there is work to be done elsewhere. Specialist and experienced research and development, pharma sales and clinical roles continue to be blighted by talent shortages and record low unemployment. The growth of people entering the industry at junior and entry level is therefore good news, in that it gives the entire industry opportunity to finally tackle those existing talent shortages by upskilling, training and funding qualifications which allow individuals to progress into more specialist positions.

Tackling lower application rates for more specialised jobs within the pharmaceutical industry relies on employers also looking positively at the high rates of interest for shop floor jobs and acting accordingly. After all, imbalance can be positive, especially if the right training and associated funding is provided to enable production ops to cross-train. It’s also a chance to think of possible apprenticeships that could help too, for instance.

What is apparent either way is that the pharmaceutical industry is thriving. The number of UK companies has increased, R&D continues apace nationwide and the UK Government has committed money to areas including advanced therapy and medicines, and vaccine development. There is a good variety of jobs available and almost any skill set can be matched to an appropriate career. In short, with effective forward-planning, training and upskilling opportunities, the pharmaceuticals industry has a greater chance than any to prosper and make the forthcoming decade a wholly successful one, in so many ways.

Pavan Arora is head of Talent at Acorn Recruitment