The UK life sciences industry faces a shortage of talent, a report prepared by global recruiting group Hays shows. According to the Hays Life Sciences Salary Guide and Market Overview, published in June 2014, 55% of the 350 employers surveyed expect to struggle to find experienced applicants when recruiting in the next 12 months. Among the professionals that are particularly in demand, both in the UK and across the whole EU, are those with biometric skills, statisticians and data managers.

“Life sciences has historically struggled to attract the necessary talent into areas other than the well-known roles of doctor, pharmacist and vet,” said Mark Weller, director for Hays Life Sciences. “But as demand for innovative, more cost-effective and better-value healthcare solutions increases, we will need more scientists, engineers and technicians."

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The clinical research sector is experiencing the biggest shortage of talent, said Sarah Haywood, head of life sciences at London Partners, the UK's capital business promotion entity and acting chief operating officer of MedCity, an initiative launched by the mayor of London to raise the global profile of London’s life sciences sector. According to Ms Haywood, many companies, instead of looking for new graduates as they did in the past, are searching for professionals who already posses on the job experience. Although UK universities have strong academic life sciences programmes, there is still a strong demand for the professional training that is needed to get graduates ready for employment. “The industry is constantly having to catch up with the technological capability of the way in which life sciences research is undertaken,” says Ms. Haywood.