QA recruitment in the UK – research results

Over the past several years the CK Group has found the recruitment of Quality professionals more challenging than it has been historically. As a result we decided to undertake a UK wide survey of those currently working in the sector to build an accurate picture of the recruitment landscape within QA. This investigation has returned some unexpected results which has given us an accurate and focussed view of the sector as a whole and what those working in it require to change position.

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 in 2008 – 2010 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. This we believe, is why recruiting for people at this level has become such a challenge and from the rest of our findings is why companies have to seriously look at what they are offering to secure people in this part of the market

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 is a real area of interest for QA professionals..

In regards to the type of contract that QA people prefer there is an 80 / 20 split of permanent / temporary workers in the market currently. Interestingly, 80% of people stated that they will be looking for a new job within the next 2 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 or a result of the economic growth in general. Either way this does mean 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 30% of people would definitely consider relocating for a role with 25% of people saying they may consider relocation. This means 45% 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 finding the very best candidate could be more difficult depending on location.

The other key factors are remuneration, status and security.

Nearly 50% 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.

In order for our clients 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 view our results in more detail click here:

QA_infographic link

If you are a QA professional who is considering a career move click here to contact us for a confidential discussion


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