CBRE identified the country’s top 25 markets for life science talent amid a continued rise in the number of bio graduates entering the field, and the list shows that emerging hubs go far beyond the markets of coastal research for which the life sciences are primarily known.
The number of U.S. biological and biomedical science graduates nearly reached 164,000 in 2020, twice as many as 15 years earlier. Job growth in life science occupations – from bioengineers and biochemists to microbiologists and data scientists – has increased 79% since 2001 to around 500,000, boosting core markets like Boston and San Francisco, as well than emerging hubs like Nashville, Salt Lake City and Houston. For comparison, the overall employment growth rate in the United States during this period was 8%.
Even with this influx of talent, the unemployment rate for life, physical and social sciences was below 1% in April, CBRE said.
“There are millions of square feet of demand beyond current supply, vacancy rates are at an all-time low, and hiring continues to rise,” said Matt Gardner, CBRE Americas life sciences leader. “If you just look [the number of current clinical trials], the number of products in the pipeline is greater or wider than the industry has ever had before. … So this echelon that the industry has occupied for the past five years has resulted in a huge increase in new products and development.
Boston tops the list of top eight markets, followed by the Washington, DC-Baltimore area. Rounding out the list, the San Francisco Bay Area; New York and New Jersey; San Diego; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Los Angeles and Orange County; and Philadelphia. Rankings are based on the number of jobs and graduates in the life sciences; the share of life sciences in the overall pool of jobs and graduates in each market; the number of doctorates in life sciences; and its concentration of jobs in the broader professional, scientific and technical services occupations.
The major population centers of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, New York and New Jersey, Los Angeles and Orange County, Philadelphia and Chicago benefit from their prominent universities and industrial presence, according to the report.
“All of this growth continues to put intense pressure on commercial real estate,” CBRE said. Ian Anderson said. “We are at the lowest vacancy rate ever for laboratory R&D properties in the United States”
Tommy Cleaver, executive vice president of CBRE, told Commercial Observer that the life sciences industry in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore depends on the highest share of people employed in professional, scientific and technical services at 15.4 %, as well as one of Ph. .RE. populations.
“Only Boston-Cambridge, San Francisco Bay Area and Raleigh-Durham have comparable concentrations,” Cleaver said. “Washington, DC/Baltimore is one of only four markets with over 25,000 scientists and has more biological scientists and microbiologists than any other market in the country.”
Cleaver also said salaries for life science researchers in Washington, DC and Baltimore are more favorable in terms of the local cost of living than other major coastal centers.
“Our region is one of the strongest in the country, as evidenced by recent acquisitions by a number of top sponsors, including Boston Properties, Beacon Capital Partners, Director, Oxford, longfellow, Trammell Crow, among others, which will introduce much needed supply to a market with a vacancy rate below 1%,” he said. “The market is on the verge of significant growth.
The New York and New Jersey market had the highest number of annual biological and biomedical science graduates on the list, with more than 2,000 more new graduates than the second-largest market of Los Angeles and Orange County. According to CBRE, New York and New Jersey granted 9.8% of all doctorates in biological and biomedical sciences, the highest of any market in the country. Additionally, New York/New Jersey received $3.4 billion in NIH funding, the largest commitment to a market in the United States in 2021.
“The New York/New Jersey area boasts some of the best research talent in the nation, produced by renowned educational institutions,” CBRE said. Joesph De Rosa said in a statement. “We have more chemists in New York/New Jersey than any other market in the country, as well as one of the highest numbers of doctors”
Anderson said industry leaders will confirm that their short-term and long-term outlook is very strong.
“The amount of innovation that’s happening continues to be remarkable,” he said. “There has been a downturn in the funding and equity markets. But the number of investors looking for deals is still at an all-time high. … It’s hard to find a metro area that doesn’t want to be part of this revolution at this point.
Gregory Cornfield can be reached at [email protected].