Pharma fears over skills gap in UK

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The pharmaceutical industry in the UK is having trouble recruiting the right people because of weaknesses in the country’s skills base.

So concludes a report by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry which follows the Government’s Fixing the Foundations analysis. The latter noted that the skills base problems “have contributed to its long-standing productivity gap with peer nations, and “it is imperative that the UK addresses these shortfalls if productivity is to improve”.

The report, based on contributions from 93 industry leaders from 59 organisations, warns that the skills shortage is forcing pharmaceutical companies to seek expertise abroad. The ABPI notes that  “this could lead to firms increasingly seeking expertise and skills abroad risking the UK’s position as a global leader of R&D.”

Nine out of 10 surveyed expressed concern about the quality and quantity of candidates in areas such as bioinformatics, health informatics, statistics and data mining, while 90% said they are seeing poor communications and team-working skills in new recruits.

The ABPI added that long-standing issues in the number and quality of applicants in areas such as translational medicine, clinical pharmacology and veterinary and toxicological pathology, highlighted in its previous skills report in 2008, are re-emerging as areas of concern.