Jul 7, 2022 - Business

Seattle's life sciences boom

Top 25 research life sciences talent clusters
Seattle ranks high when it comes to the biotech workforce. Data: CBRE; Chart: Axios Visuals

Seattle remains a major hub for talent in life sciences research — a burgeoning industry that faces an intense labor crunch nationwide amid rapid growth — according to a recent report published by the investment management firm CBRE.

Driving the news: Seattle came in No. 9 in CBRE's ranking of life sciences clusters, based on cities' jobs, local wages, cost of living and other factors.

  • Cities were ranked based on how their scores compared to the national averages for these variables, with Seattle scoring 109.
  • Boston/Cambridge topped the rankings at 138, with San Francisco in second at 129.8.

Why it matters: Seattle’s booming life sciences industry — which includes big name institutions such as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Institute for Systems Biology — has spurred economic growth, created thousands of high-paying jobs and driven expansion of lab space.

  • With the pandemic catapulting life sciences into higher prominence and with more people than ever before working in jobs or graduating with degrees in the field, competition is fierce for talent in the industry.

Context: Seattle’s life science industry is a mature market dating back some 25 years, yet it continues to expand amid start-up growth and entrepreneurialism.

  • Life science research has converged with the area’s established tech industry to spawn more digital health companies in recent years, per the trade group Life Science Washington.

Details: Seattle ranked as the top emerging life sciences market by CBRE in 2019, and the firm’s latest report also noted the talent pool here increased by 24% from 2015 to 2020 — good for 7th in overall growth among top cities.


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