Employment in the pharmaceutical industry in the UK

​Britain’s future economic prosperity depends on fostering strong, vigorous and well-supported knowledge-intensive industries. By most measures, the pharmaceutical sector is Britain’s most successful research-based industry and remains a jewel in the UK’s scientific and industrial crown.

As mentioned in the pharmaceutical industry and market in the UK section, pharmaceutical companies add more economic value than any other sector. This sector is also very productive with each employee contributing more to the national economy than comparable manufacturing sectors.

Figure 1 – GVA per head for high and medium-high tech sectors (£000s) 2012

The latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that the GVA generated per employee within the pharmaceutical industry in 2012 was £149,000.

The graph below shows that in 2012 the GVA generated per employee within the pharmaceutical industry was significanly higher than other comparable manufacturing sectors.

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Note: Using the new definition of high and medium high tech sector (SIC2007).
Source: ONS Annual Business Survey 2012 (provisional), Section C, Manufacturing, Release date 14 November 2013

Figure 2 – Pharmaceutical industry employment in the UK, 1995–2011

The UK based pharmaceutical industry directly employs around 68,000 people of which 23,000 work in research and development (R&D).

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Note: Data for 2011 for total employment has been suppressed by ONS and is not available
Source: ONS Business Enterprise Research and Development, 2012. ONS Annual Business Survey 2012 (provisional), Section C, Manufacturing, Release date 14 November 2013

Figure 3 – Employment in pharmaceutical R&D in the UK, 2012, by function

The people employed in pharmaceutical R&D in the UK in 2012 was circa 23,000 people.

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Source: ONS UK Business Enterprice Research and Development, 2013

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