CBRE: New York Remains a Top Market for Life Sciences Research Talent

CBRE: New York Remains a Top Market for Life Sciences Research Talent
New York’s robust performance is supported by a workforce of 38,700 life sciences research professionals—the largest in the country. PHOTO CREDIT: CBRE

NEW YORK—The New York City metro region received some heartening data from commercial brokerage firm CBRE, which announced on June 7 that the Greater New York market ranked fourth in the nation for life sciences research talent.

Nationally, the growth of U.S. life sciences researchers remains resilient in the face of economic concerns, with the number of life sciences researchers in the U.S. increasing by 87% over the past 20 years, compared with 14% for all U.S. occupations. Research jobs have not fallen across those 20 years, through three recessions and amid the tight labor market of recent years, according to a recent analysis conducted by CBRE.

“New York’s high placement is thanks to a dense concentration of talent in the region’s core in the vicinity of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens with additional concentrations of talent in Central New Jersey, Northern New Jersey, Westchester County, and Long Island,” said Bill Hartman, vice chairman of CBRE based in the Midtown New York office.

New York’s robust performance is supported by a workforce of 38,700 life sciences research professionals—the largest in the country—and 9,500 annual relevant degree completions at area universities—also the largest in the country.

“New York’s strong position as a top market for life sciences research talent is bolstered by some of the region’s top universities and colleges, including New York University, Columbia University, Weill Cornell, Rockefeller University, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Stony Brook University,” added Joseph DeRosa, CBRE senior vice president.

While New York City and New Jersey have seen significant growth in the life sciences sector, Westchester County is benefitting from a $1.8-billion expansion program by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

New York is situated at the center of a cluster of life sciences powerhouses that spans 450 miles along the northeast corridor and includes other top-ranked markets including Boston (1), Washington, D.C./Baltimore (3), and Philadelphia (6) and includes promising smaller markets such as Worcester (17), Albany (21), and New Haven (24). Altogether, northeastern markets account for four of the top 10 and seven of the top 25 markets. Among the 10 leading markets, the Northeast accounts for 57% of life sciences talent and 56% of annual graduates.

According to CBRE’s report, New York boasts some of the highest wages in the life sciences market ranging from $128,274 for biochemists to $98,669 for chemists. The yearly cost of living in the area as of 2021 was $69,246 and the median home value stood at $517,738, while the average apartment rent for a one bedroom was $2,857.

Life sciences research professions—from biochemists to epidemiologists and data scientists—increased in headcount by 3.1% in 2022 to a record 545,000 specialists. In comparison, the overall U.S. job growth rate last year was 2.2%. The continued growth in life sciences research jobs is driven by established markets such as Boston/Cambridge and the San Francisco Bay Area and emerging hubs, including Atlanta, Dallas/Ft Worth and Miami/Fort Lauderdale.

“Demand for life sciences research workers is above pre-pandemic levels,” said Matt Gardner, CBRE Advisory Services Life Sciences Leader. “We’re also seeing a closely balanced ratio of hiring to job cuts in the biopharma industry compared with the technology sector and the broader economy, which positions the life sciences to remain stable despite an economic downturn.”

Several markets saw above-average growth in the total number of life sciences researchers between 2017 and 2022. These include Atlanta (36%), Denver/Boulder (35%), Dallas/Fort Worth (33%) and Phoenix (33%). The national average in that span was 16%. The New York City/New Jersey market posted a 26% increase during that time span.

CBRE evaluated each of the largest 74 U.S. life sciences labor markets against multiple criteria, including the number and concentration of life sciences researchers, number of new graduates with life sciences degrees and specifically with doctorate degrees in life sciences, concentration of all doctorate degree holders, and concentration of jobs in the broader professional, scientific, and technical services professions.

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