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December 25, 2023

By Isabel Tehan

Booms and busts have marked the life science industry over the past year, with both expansions and downsizing. The industry is poised to take off in some respects in 2024, while some cuts will be seen.

More layoffs to come

Life science firms have not been immune to layoffs, including Boston Scientific in Marlborough, Definitive Healthcare in Framingham, UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester, and Waters Corp. in Marlborough. Each cited macroeconomic trends as part of the need to right-size operations. Heading into 2024, repeat layoffs at large companies and first rounds at other firms will continue.

Workforce pipeline programs will be a priority

The life sciences job market is growing faster than the workforce can keep pace; a May report from MassBioEd estimated 6,600 jobs will need to be filled each year, but only 3,000 eligible hires for the roles are part of the employment pipeline. Companies will double down on both recruitment and workforce planning efforts down to the high school level.

Bioindustrial manufacturing will take off

The bioindustrial manufacturing industry is poised to take off in Central Massachusetts and will utilize existing infrastructure in the life sciences to propel. Should Worcester and the rest of the region get ahead of the curve on the industry, it will be a frontrunner in a cutting-edge area and will have an employment boom akin to the biotechnology industry in the 2010s.

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