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Seattle at No. 9 in latest rankings as industry employment booms – GeekWire


U.S. Life Sciences Researchers in various occupations. Data Scientists in yellow. (CBRE Research Graphic)

The number of life sciences researchers in the Seattle area grew 24% from 2015 to 2020, part of a nationwide boom, according to a report released Monday by CBRE. The real estate firm placed Seattle in ninth place in its ranking of the top 25 research talent clusters in the U.S.

To rank clusters, CBRE assessed factors such as the number of new graduates and existing life sciences researchers, which reached 12,100 in the Seattle area in 2020.

Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington D.C./Baltimore were the top three markets, respectively, and Portland, Ore., came in 21st. The Seattle area had the the seventh-fastest growth rate in employment from 2015 to 2020 among the clusters.

The sector has a bright future, despite sinking biotech stock valuations and recent layoffs at some companies, said CBRE researchers at a press briefing.

“If you ask almost any industry insider, they will confirm the fact that the long-term prospects, medium-term prospects, even the current state of the industry is still very strong,” said Ian Anderson, CBRE senior director of research and analysis. “The fundamentals are still there. The amount of innovation that is occurring continues to be remarkable.”

Life, physical and social science occupations had an unemployment rate of 0.6% in the U.S. this April, the second lowest of any occupational category. Some other data from the report:

  • Job growth in the life sciences increased 79% from 2001 to 2020 in the U.S., compared to an 8% increase in job growth overall. 164,000 people nationally received degrees or certificates in the life sciences in 2020, twice as many as in 2005.
  • Wages show little variation among cities. In Seattle, the average wage for a biochemist is $100,248.
  • The number of data scientists employed in the life sciences has increased 1,363% in the U.S. since 2001. In the Seattle area, 2,330 data science and mathematical professionals work in the life sciences, twice as many as 2015.
  • The Puget Sound region has the fourth-highest density of medical scientists, and the third-highest density of data scientists among the clusters.

“It’s no secret that AI, machine learning, and computational research are paving a next generation of scientific innovation. The Puget Sound region’s deep technology roots coupled with world-class research institutions and their dedication to commercialization has thrust Seattle into a leadership role across a wide array of scientific verticals,” said Marcus Yamamoto, a senior vice president with CBRE in Seattle specializing in life sciences and healthcare, in a press release.

The CBRE report is in sync with a report last fall from the trade group Life Science Washington, showing a 23.5% increase in life sciences jobs in Washington state from 2015 to 2019.


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