Triangle’s demand for life science jobs ranks 6th among top markets, report finds

Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, WRAL TechWire features a story highlighting the NC Bio Jobs Hub initiative. Go to the Bio Jobs Hub for more stories and info on life sciences job opportunities made possible by NC’s workforce training initiatives. This column originally ran in September 2021, and we are re-running it today. If you, like Mackenzie Dixon once was, are considering a career change, give this upcoming event a look.


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Demand for talent to fill jobs ranks the Triangle sixth as a “tech cluster” in the US, according to a new study tracking growth across the US

Commercial real estate firm CBRE ranks the Raleigh-Durham market only behind larger and more traditional life science hubs such as Boston, Washington, DC, the San Francisco Bay area, New York and San Diego. Numerous reports consistently rank the Triangle highly for research, growth opportunities and more in life science. This new data from CBRE shows just how much job growth is taking place here as well as nationally.

CBRE Executive Vice President Lee Clyburn cited several reasons for why the Triangle is attracting jobs:

“Raleigh-Durham’s workforce has been a strong driver in attracting and retaining life science companies to our market. Our market’s low cost of living comparative to other major markets, along with its direct access to labor from local university systems are major contributors to this workforce. This report highlights Raleigh-Durham’s overall talent and the advantages it offers companies who do business here. “

According to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, North Carolina has “a highly trained workforce of 70,000, a large community of 790 life sciences companies and 2,500 service providers, and a low cost of doing business, among many other competitive advantages.”

The bulk of those jobs and companies are located in and near the Triangle with numerous firms announcing expansions already this year.

The Triangle and state also had a bountiful year in 2021. As Barry Teater reported for the Biotech Center: “Nineteen major expansions, relocations or new facilities representing almost $ 4 billion in investment and more than 4,000 jobs were announced across the state.”

CBRE’s report focuses on life sciences professions such as bioengineers and biochemists to microbiologists and data scientists, noting that demand for talent has grown 79% since 2001 to some 500,000 nationally compared to an 8% overall increase of all jobs.

Report criteria included: number of life sciences jobs and graduates, life sciences’ share of each market’s overall job and graduate pool, its number of doctorate degree holders in life sciences, and its concentration of jobs in the broader professional, scientific and technical services professions , CBRE explained.

The top markets:

Rank Market Score Rank Market Score
1 Boston / Cambridge 138 14 Atlanta 103.5
2 Washington, DC / Baltimore 129.8 15 Worcester, MA 102.6
3 San Francisco Bay Area 126.2 16 Dallas / Fort Worth 102
4 New York / New Jersey 124.3 17 Sacramento 101.8
5 San Diego 120.3 18 Austin 101.5
6 Raleigh-Durham 114.8 19 Salt Lake City 101.4
7 Los Angeles / Orange County 113.8 20 New Haven, CT 100.8
8 Philadelphia 113.5 21 Portland, OR 100.7
9 Seattle 109.4 22 Miami 100.7
10 Chicago 107.6 23 Nashville 100.6
11 Denver / Boulder 106.9 24 Albany, NY 100.3
12 Minneapolis / St. Paul 106.4 25 Pittsburgh 100
13 Houston 104.1

Source: CBRE

A key strength for the Triangle is a growing number of people earning degrees in biological and biomedical sciences, CBRE added: “Raleigh-Durham in particularly produces significant PhDs in biological and biomedical sciences. 14.2 percent of all biological and biomedical sciences degrees issued in the market were at the PhD level. ”

Of those graduates, 2.9% earn PhDs, “the highest share of any major market,” CBRE said.

Lower costs of living helps

Despite soaring housing costs – for ownership and rental – the Triangle also among the most affordable markets for workers. Raleigh-Durham trails only Houston.

“Life sciences wages don’t vary geographically as much as those of many other industries do. Yet the market-to-market variance of cost of living means some markets are more affordable for life sciences workers than others, ”CBRE said.

Largest Gaps Between Average Life Sciences Wages and Cost of Living

Market Ratio of life sciences wages to cost of living Market Ratio of life sciences wages to cost of living
Houston 2.04 Minneapolis / St. Paul 1.79
Raleigh-Durham 1.99 Nashville 1.78
Atlanta 1.90 Chicago 1.76
Dallas / Fort Worth 1.86 Austin 1.76
Philadelphia 1.79 Sacramento 1.76

Source: CBRE

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