Press Release

Biocom Institute and California Life Sciences Institute Release 2018 California Life Science Sector Workforce Trends Report

Report shows that the life science industry continues to be a strong job engine for California; over 85% of companies surveyed indicate plans to add technical employees in the next year, particularly in R&D, Quality and Regulatory Affairs/Compliance.

SAN FRANCISCO AND SAN DIEGO, June 05, 2018Biocom Institute and California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) today released their third joint life science industry workforce trends report entitled, “2018 Talent Integration: California Workforce Trends in the Life Science Industry.” Released at the BIO International Convention in Boston, the biennial report captures up-to-date information on the most critical current and projected talent needs of California’s innovative life science industry.

Biocom Institute is the non-profit workforce development and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) arm of Biocom. California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) is the non-profit partner of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), supporting the foundations of innovation – workforce development, STEM education, and entrepreneurship – that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life science ecosystem.

2018 CA Talent Report cover

“2018 Talent Integration: California Workforce Trends in the Life Science Industry” from Biocom Institute & California Life Sciences Institute

The report shows that California’s life science industry continues to be one of California’s leading employers, creating jobs for over 360,000 people. Securing the right talent for a dynamic industry characterized by disruptive discoveries, an ever-complex regulatory environment and the globalization of health care are all leading concerns for life science executives. The report analyzes three data sets from 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, including almost 10,000 California life science job postings, survey responses from 117 human resource and hiring managers and interviews with 41 leading life science employers across the state.

State Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), President pro Tempore of the California State Senate: “California’s world-leading life sciences community is one of the biggest contributors to the state’s economy. The California State Legislature welcomes the Biocom Institute and California Life Sciences Institute’s 2018 California Workforce Trends Report. As with the previous years’ analyses, we expect this year’s report to serve as a valuable tool for legislators and academic institutions who are focused on ensuring that the talent pipeline for the life sciences remains strong.”

Key Findings & Highlights from the 2018 California Workforce Trends Report:

  • The report provides a unique statewide perspective into the workforce challenges and opportunities of the life science industry, including key job opportunities, corresponding educational backgrounds, as well as technical and “soft” skills sought by employers. Taken together, regulatory and quality occupations constitute the highest area of job and skill demand, with Regulatory Affairs/Compliance constituting the “most difficult to fill” positions. Amgen continues to be the leading employer in the state, followed by Pfizer and Genentech.
  • The emergence of new technologies such as CRISPR/gene editing, (CAR) T-Cell Therapy, and computing technologies are leading to significant shifts in skill needs, requiring individuals to understand the newly integrated offerings and to think outside their core areas of expertise. Externally, the complex healthcare environment continues to create strong demand for those with regulatory and reimbursement expertise.
  • Accompanying these new technical skills, employers continue to cite the need for those with strong soft skills: people able to adapt and grow as companies’ needs evolve and change. Hybrid backgrounds, wherein potential employees blend two or more core competencies such as science and business or science and IT, though rare, are desired. In addition, highly desired candidates are people with strong teamwork, communication, problem-solving skills, passion and the ability to work effectively in matrix or virtual environments.
  • The increasingly frequent application of computing and technology in life science is creating more overlap and convergence between the two industries and, in some cases, competition for talent. People who can work at the interface of these technologies are in demand, but they are not easy to find.
  • Most company leaders are highly-attuned to the importance of diverse perspectives and experiences for driving innovation in their organizations, and acknowledge that, while they have highly diverse teams, they still have work to do to reach internal diversity goals, particularly at the top.
  • As in prior years, companies point to the rewards of academic partnerships at multiple levels, deliberately locating R&D operations near academic partners and providing industry exposure to students to attract them to STEM careers.

“The onslaught of new scientific advancements, the convergence with IT and the complexity of our healthcare system are rapidly shifting the industry’s talent needs,” said Liisa Bozinovic, executive director of the Biocom Institute. “This report is our attempt to understand and help develop these evolving demands to maintain California’s leadership in life science innovation.”

“There is valuable information for multiple stakeholders in this report, from the academic institutions that are developing the next generation of innovators, to the legislators who must work with us to ensure that our California talent pipeline remains strong,” said Lori Lindburg, president and CEO of the California Life Sciences Institute. “Our collaborative efforts will ensure that the life science industry continues to be a leading employer of rewarding careers for Californians.”

An executive summary and full copy of the report can be found at: Executive summaries will be available at the 2018 BIO International Convention in Boston, at the California Pavilion.

About Biocom Institute:
Biocom Institute provides a rich array of programs to accelerate the growth of the life science ecosystem through workforce development and STEM education programs. Our industry-leading initiatives drive success for professionals eager to expand and enrich their skill set. Our world-class Science and Engineering Festival inspires today’s students to become future leaders. With a goal to invigorate the student community of California to embrace a career in STEM, and attract the best and brightest talent for long-term careers in life science, the Biocom Institute is a driving force in shaping the Science of Life. The Biocom Institute is an affiliate of Biocom, the largest and most experienced advocate for California’s life science sector. and @BiocomInstitute

About California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI)
California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) supports the foundations of innovation that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life sciences ecosystem. Our mission is to maintain California’s leadership in life sciences innovation through support of entrepreneurship, education and career development. CLSI also serves as an accelerator for CARB-X, the world’s largest public-private partnership devoted to early stage antibacterial R&D.

CLSI is an affiliate of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), the state’s largest and most influential life sciences advocacy and business leadership organization. The California Life Sciences Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3), and was established in 1990 as the BayBio Institute. and @CLSIstartups

Media Contacts:

Biocom Institute
Carolyn Hawley
Canale Communications
[email protected]
(619) 849-5382

California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI)
Will Zasadny
California Life Sciences Association
[email protected]
(619) 961-8848