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Biotech drove ‘record recruitment’ in Ireland’s life sciences sector in 2021

16 Dec 2021

Abbott, PSC Biotech, Merck, Stryker and Johnson & Johnson were the most prolific hirers this year, according to Cpl Life Sciences and Vacancysoft.

Professional recruitment in Ireland’s life sciences sector increased to record levels in 2021, with biotech in particular driving the surge. That’s according to new data from pharma recruiter Cpl Life Sciences and data analytics company Vacancysoft.

Their research found that life sciences businesses in Ireland recorded more than 3,400 vacancies in 2021 — up 14.9pc year-on-year. The biotech industry was driving this surge, with new jobs in biotech skyrocketing by 50.8pc year-on-year in 2021. This was followed by new jobs in contract research organisations (up 28pc), medical devices (8.6pc) and pharma (5.5pc).

Last year, the companies said that biotech’s surge was even more pronounced. Hiring levels in the industry increased by 69pc year-on-year in 2020, whereas other sectors experienced stagnation or decreases in hiring levels.

“Ireland has a talented workforce, a superb education system and favourable tax incentives. That and its global connectivity has enabled it to compete for foreign direct investment and consolidate its status as a global leader in life sciences,” said Yvette Cleland, CEO of Cpl Life Sciences.

“Supply chain innovation, based on lessons learned throughout Covid-19, is driving an already collaborative ecosystem. More agility within R&D innovation whilst building an embedded resilience will be key to the country’s continued success. Crucially, addressing future workforce skills will attract continued foreign direct investment  — something with which Irish pharma already has a strong track record.”

Pharma company Abbott topped the list of life sciences firms in Ireland by vacancy volumes in 2021, publishing more than 600 vacancies. The company, which employs more than 4,000 people in the country, recently announced plans to invest €37.8m at its Clonmel base.

PSC Biotech came in second, publishing 480 vacancies, and Merck came in third with 360 vacancies. Medical device company Stryker was fourth with 356 vacancies, followed by Johnson & Johnson with 346 vacancies.

Biotech company Randox experienced the highest year-on-year recruitment surge in 2021, publishing 143 vacancies. This was a jump of 615pc from 2020 when it had just 20.

Cpl and Vacancysoft’s research found that quality assurance specialists were the most sought after this year, accounting for 37.5pc of all new jobs. This was followed by R&D experts (23.7pc) and drug manufacturing professionals (9.2pc).

Data on recruitment for non-scientific roles in Ireland showed that the most in-demand workers were engineers (35.6pc) followed by IT professionals (18.3pc).

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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