Now is the time for quality consultants to look at BeneluxBy Hamish Corson, MSP Team Lead, Europe
As the European Medicines Agency (EMA) continues to approve moves to increase capacity and supply of Covid-19 vaccines in the EU, the demand for consultants working in quality assurance, technical operations and engineering is at an all-time high. We are seeing particularly strong demand among manufacturers in the Benelux region, where the EMA recently approved an increase in batch size and associated process scale-up at Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Puurs, Belgium, and where other manufacturers are increasingly choosing to base their operations.
There is a great appetite for skilled staff in Belgium and the Netherlands to support clients working on EU validation projects, with manufacturers looking for a quick turnaround on projects and crying out for contractors who can immediately hit the ground running. The quality, tech ops and engineering space is extremely competitive, candidate-wise, and the number of talented individuals available is simply not enough to satisfy what is needed.
With the UK market a little quieter recently, and other parts of Europe not experiencing the same boom in vaccine manufacturing, any contractors based outside the Benelux region would do well to consider a short-term move. The salaries on offer in this region at the moment are extremely lucrative, while Belgium and the Netherlands offer a good standard of living and thriving expat communities.
The ideal candidate for these six-month contracts is someone that has worked in vaccines before and is used to the validation of sterile equipment to support stable production.
The ideal candidate for these six-month contracts is someone that has worked in vaccines before and is used to the validation of sterile equipment to support stable production. Individuals with experience on other vaccines and the right skillset are often attracted by the opportunity to get involved in the global efforts to eradicate Covid-19 and get life back to normal, and now is a great time to do that in the Benelux region.
At the start of 2020, in a time pre-Covid, McKinsey & Company published a report predicting Benelux could become Europe’s leading biotech hub, and the fact that so many companies have decided to base their vaccine manufacturing sites here in the past year is testament to that prediction coming to fruition. The high density of life sciences activity makes this a hot part of the world for next-generation science, with McKinsey pointing to the success of biotech firms Galapagos, Argenx, and UniQure, and the move by the EMA from London to Amsterdam, as likely to provide catalysts for further growth.
Quality, tech ops and engineering consultants interested in exploring this part of the world and getting involved in efforts to scale up production of the Covid-19 vaccine – for which demand shows no sign of abating – would do well to look into the opportunities on offer.