Clinical sector careers advice

Do you work in the pharmaceutical or related industries? Have you ever thought about working in another sector of the industry or are you just beginning your career and are not sure where to start?

As part of our Drug Discovery and Development Careers spotlight, we have created information for each of the sectors that contribute to the pharmaceutical arena. We have included ‘a day in the life of’ interviews, infographics, surveys, interviews with experienced professionals offering advice based on their own experiences such as CRA’s and Medical Affairs Managers, and key information about each sector.

To access this information click on the  links below:

Look at the rest of our careers advice articles in this spotlight

Or if you would like to find out how you can get your foot in the door, click here to view our infographic

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Fancy a career in clinical operations?

Are you trying to make a decision about what to do with your career? Or are you considering a career change? Have you ever thought about clinical operations as a career option? Do you know what function it performs?

The role of clinical operations is to ‘manage’ a clinical trial through the provision of administrative roles such as a Clinical Trial Administrator, or Clinical Trial Associates who travel to various sites to ensure a trial is being run correctly. Clinical Study / Project Manager manage the team or manage the running of the trial. At the top are the Directorship roles where the responsibility of the running and success of the trial sits.

The delivery of these roles is highly important in the drug development process and requires expertise, accuracy and speed to ensure the medication is available as soon as possible.

Read more about careers in clinical operations, or any other area of the drug discovery and development process click here

Or if you would like to find out how you can get your foot in the door, click here to view our infographic


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The geographical locations of clinical operation’s roles

Once upon a time if you were looking for a clinical operations job you would need to relocate to the South East of England, apply for a role with one of the pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies that were based there and hope for positive feedback. These days life science companies are venturing out of the Greater London area to more accessible parts of the UK, meaning relocation is not always a pre-requisite for application.

Clinical Operations offers a variety of roles, ranging from CTA, CRA and Clinical Project Manager to Clinical Outsourcing, Clinical Contracts, Trials Coordinators, Research Nurses and Patient Recruitment Specialists, to name just a few, and some of these roles can be done from a home based location.  If the role you are seeking doesn’t fall into the ‘home-based’ category then the news that life science is slowly moving away from London is great news to hear.

Over recent years we have seen some of the large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies setting up satellite sites and trials centred in cities outside of London.  Some of the benefits for doing this could be to focus on a particular patient group or to utilise a healthcare system that lends itself to managing a trial effectively.  Another main reason is cost, as sites are cheaper to manage and set up in the North of England, Scotland and Wales thus reducing trial overheads.  It has also had a knock on effect in encouraging start-up companies to set up in science parks located in these regions. With new life sciences developments happening in Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and various locations in Scotland, this could mean that in 10-15 years time there will be less reliance on London-based locations for these companies to base themselves.  In addition to this the UK is currently focused on better transport links to the North and key areas like Cambridge, further confirmation of the move away from a centralised hub for drug development.

Overall it’s good news for clinical operations candidates who are looking for a good rate/salary with cheaper outgoings as this should help you widen your search next time you are looking for a new role.

If you are looking for a next clinical operations role click here to search our jobs


If you would like to discuss this topic further please click here to contact Russell Oakley


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Top tips on how to keep good staff

With recruitment proving challenging for employers many organisations are looking at how to keep their current workforce. CK have collated results from several surveys to provide you with what makes your employees stay, what makes them leave and what you can offer as an organisation to improve your staff retention rates.

To read this article in full click here

This article is part of our Drug Discovery and Development spotlight employer series which aims to help you improve your ability to recruit and retain quality staff. All our articles have been sourced or created to support the results of our recent research which indicated that recruitment has become increasingly challenging within the pharmaceutical industry due  to skills shortages and recruitment processes.

To take a look at our research results and our other employer aimed advice articles click here


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6 tips to help you improve your people management skills

This week, as part of our Drug Discovery and Development spotlight, we are focussing on providing you with some tips to improve your management skills so you can work towards a happy and contented workforce.

Covering items such as communications, office environments and positive attitudes, this advice articles has just six tips to help improve the productivity and effectiveness of your workforce. If you would like to read in full click here


Or click here to view more of the advice articles from our drug discovery and development spotlight.



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Have you considered a career in Drug Safety?

Are you looking for a career in a clinical field? Have you considered Drug Safety or Pharmacovigilance?

As a Pharmacovigilance or Drug Safety Scientist your role will be focused on the detection, evaluation, knowing and prevention of adverse effects (AE) of drugs. You will also have a role in assessing the risk/benefit of products to ensure that they are safe to use. Cases can come in from clinical trials as well as medicines that are already available in the market place.

The entry requirements for Drug Safety is a  pharmacy, medical or life science degree but once you have got your foot in the door there is quite a straightforward career path, as well as the opportunity to work in either a permanent or contracting capacity.

Career opportunities and remuneration in Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance are extremely good so if you are keen to explore a career in this clinical field, click here to find out more.


Or click here to visit our spotlight on drug development and discovery careers



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QA recruitment in 2017

In 2015 CK Group undertook a UK wide survey of those currently working in the sector to build an accurate picture of the recruitment landscape within QA. We took this decision as overt the past several years we have found the recruitment of Quality professionals more challenging in an ever changing market. This investigation returned some unexpected results which have given us an accurate and focussed view of the sector as a whole and what those working in it require to change position moving into 2017.

Our investigation found that most people working within QA fall into either the 10 years+ experience or below 2 years of experience which has created a gulf of experience in the mid to senior level bracket. We have hypothesised that this is due to the market slump during the recession where those that were in mid to senior level roles have now progressed in to senior roles but as there were fewer candidates entering the industry we are now faced with this anomaly.

As expected, we found that most QA people are currently working within the pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries. However we also found a marked increase of positions within the biotech sector. Biotech has grown substantially over the past few years and as it moves into more of a commercial phase the requirement for QA professionals will continue to grow. We believe there will be an increase of QA roles in this area in the coming years and it should be a real area of interest for QA professionals.

In regards to the type of contract that QA people prefer there is a 76/24 split of permanent / temporary workers in the market currently. Interestingly, 83% of people stated that they will be looking for a new job within the next two years with most preferring a permanent contract. We found this proportion of people to be looking for a new role quite surprising considering the lack of movement at the moment. This could be a result of those in more junior positions currently, looking to move in to mid/senior level positions. Even with the uncertainty we now face from the pending Brexit move we are confident that the permanent market will become stronger as we move forwards but as the rest of our findings will show, there are a number of key factors that the QA professional is looking at before they will consider making a move.

One of these key factors is location. Only 24% of people would definitely consider relocating for a role with 29% of people saying they may consider relocation. This means 47% of QA people are not willing to consider relocating under any circumstances. The good news is that there is a relatively even spread of QA people across the UK but with a noticeable higher number of people based in the South East, North West and North East. Therefore finding the very best candidate could be more difficult depending on location.

The other key factors are remuneration, status and security:

  • Nearly 44% of people said they would require a higher salary and a better benefits package to consider a move. This group also said they would only move to what they would perceive to be a “better company”.
  • Job security and progression/development opportunities scored very highly on key requirements, which wasn’t surprising but what was a surprise was the large number of people that stated flexible hours to be a key factor when looking at a new position.

In summary, the market is currently made up of highly experienced and relatively inexperienced people leaving a gap of hard to find mid-level candidates. Most people are only looking at positions based locally to them with a slight preference for roles based in London, the South East and the Midlands. This why recruiting for people with the QA field has become such a challenge and from our findings is why companies have to seriously look at what they are offering to secure the best QA people at any level but especially in the hard to find mid level sector. They are going to have to offer a stronger overall package than their competitors including salary, benefits, progression/development opportunities, job security and working hours. We know that there will be more people in the market in the coming years but for now if you want the very best available it will come at a premium.

To take a look at the infographic we produced here

For more information on the recruitment of QA professionals, or if you are considering a new role but would like further advice on the market, contact our QA recruitment professionals on:

Clinical QA: 01438 743 047

Science QA: 01438 723 500


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Drug discovery and development: Recruiting and retaining staff

As part of our drug discovery and development career spotlight, we are releasing a range of employer aimed articles which aim to help you improve your ability to recruit and retain your quality staff.

Our first article focusses on recruiting and retaining staff in the pharmaceutical industry and was written by our Clinical Recruitment Manager, Jim Gleeson. The article provides an overview of the pharmaceutical industry, how it has evolved over the last few years, how recruitment has adapted to reflect these changes and most importantly, how to retain the quality staff you have working for you.

To read the article in full click here

This article touches on many of the points that our employer infographic highlights. Click here to view in full 


If you would like to explore our spotlight area in more detail click here



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Drug Discovery & Development – Overcoming the Skills Gap

A recent report published by the Social Market Foundation and EDF highlights the fact that 640,000 vacancies are predicted within the STEM sector over the next 6 years. This mirrors reports published in 2016 by the Wakeham Review of STEM Degree Provision and the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries which both highlight the current and future need to focus on increasing the number of STEM professionals within the life science and pharmaceutical industries.

Continue reading

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CRA Vacancies Market – 1st November 2016

Whether you are a CRA looking for a new role or an employer seeking new CRAs to join your team, keeping up to date with industry news that impacts you is essential as the pharmaceutical jobs market in the UK moves incredibly fast.

Our tracking is based on each week screening some of the UKs leading vacancy boards for how many CRA jobs have been advertised within the last 7 days. As always, there is likely to be some repetition across jobs boards and some duplicate posting but our goal is to build up a picture of trends over time.

This week’s summary for week commencing the 1st November 2016 relates to CRA vacancies posted on:

  • New Scientist
  • Monster
  • CV Library
  • Emedcareers
  • Pharmiweb
  • Willey job network
  • Access Science jobs.

Our results showed that on these job boards a total of 680 CRA jobs were published in the last week:

  • 594 permanent roles
  • 86 contract roles

There has been a 10% drop in the volume of CRA jobs over the last week, with job numbers dropping from 758 to 680. Contract roles have been predominately impacted by this drop with 317 fewer temporary roles being advertised this week. In contrast permanent roles grew by 67%, with 239 new roles been added to our tracked job boards. The growth in contract roles over the past two weeks has been an abnormally and due to length of time it lasted could have been as a result of school term times.

If you are looking for a CRA job click here to view our current roles 


If you would like to find out how you can move into clinical operations click here


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