MassBioEd Releases 2018 Job Trends Forecast for Life Sciences Industry in Massachusetts

May 16, 2018

Employment exceeds 70,000, the highest ever; Nearly 12,000 new jobs are forecast to be created by 2023

May 16, 2018 (CAMBRIDGE, MA) — The Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd) today released its 2018 Job Trends Forecast, which provides an overview of hiring demands in the life sciences industry in Massachusetts, as well as projections of employment growth by sector and occupation. In its third year, the report also includes findings from MassBioEd’s annual survey of industry employers, which gathered input from hiring decisionmakers at life sciences organizations on workforce matters most pressing to them.

“After another year of healthy employment growth for the industry, MassBioEd forecasts continued robust hiring by the industry,” said Peter Abair, Executive Director of MassBioEd. “Looking closely at the supply and demand dynamics of the workforce, it’s clear we need to grow the available pool of talent from which the industry can draw employees, which can be best supported by improving the alignment of education programs with the skills required by employers and by industry increasing early career experiences for students.”

According to the report, the industry crossed 70,000 employees for the first time, showing the incredible growth the life sciences industry continues to experience. Key findings include:

  • Since 2014, the life sciences industry in Massachusetts has grown at approximately double the rate of the state and U.S. economy.
  • In 2017, the total amount of job listings exceeded 27,700, second only to 2016. Of those, STEM/Technical jobs accounted for over 16,000.
  • 11,976 new jobs are forecast to be created between May 2017 – May 2023.
  • 83% of life sciences companies reported plans to expand their headcount in the next 12 months, consistent with the last two years.

The report also highlighted several challenges this growth presents for life sciences organizations, including:

  • 65% of organizations reported that the average time it took to fill openings was over 10 weeks. The national average is approximately 30 days.
  • 31% listed Clinical Research as the hardest area to find qualified candidates, followed by openings in Regulatory Affairs, Quality, and Research & Development roles – also the top four functional areas that life sciences organizations plan to expand in in 2018.
  • In job openings requiring an associate and Ph.D., both saw much higher levels of growth in demand than supply.
  • 29% of respondents stated that their companies had formal diversity initiatives – for either gender or race/ethnicity – at the contributor level; 28% at the management level. At the board level, the rate drops to only 17% of companies.
  • About 60% of companies reported lacking any formal diversity initiatives.

The report was released at today’s BIO Convention press conference, and the findings will be discussed at MassBioEd’s Life Sciences Workforce 2018 conference, this Friday, May 18th, at Northeastern University in Boston.

Download the full report here, or visit

Media inquiries: Contact Jennifer Nason

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