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June 06, 2016

Top 10 Biotech Jobs Most in Demand over the Next Decade

In Which Occupations Are Employers Most Likely to Create Jobs in the Years Ahead?

Top 10 Biotech Jobs Most in Demand over the Next Decade

For all 10 occupations highlighted in its latest Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected smaller increases in jobs from 2014-2024 than it did between 2012 and 2022.

  • The educational foundation of Massachusetts’ biopharma group MassBio recently delivered a sunny forecast for continued industry job growth, in the Bay State at least. MassBioEd is projecting a 6.7% increase in jobs in the three-year period ending May 2018, or 4,325 new jobs, according to its recently released Digest of Biotech Jobs Trends in Massachusetts.

    The occupation expected to see the highest demand is medical scientists except epidemiologists (619 new jobs), followed by biochemists and biophysicists (408), then sales reps, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products (224). The next three highest growing biopharma-related occupations noted by the study included chemists (208), biological technicians (162), and microbiologists (144).

    However, not all the job news of late is good. According to National Science Foundation data released along with the NSF’s updated “Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities” report in April, less than half (48% or 4,336 of 8,991) of the Ph.D.s who received their doctorates in the “biological, biomedical sciences” in 2014 reported definite commitments for a job, a postdoc position, or a return to predoctoral employment. Yet, as one critic of the NSF report noted, students answer NSF’s Survey of Earned Doctorates months before they receive a degree or focus on their career beyond school, so the actual percentage may be higher.

    More sobering, the number of biopharma job cuts between January-April of this year has climbed 63%, to 3,883 from 2,380 during the first four months of last year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

    Below is a list of 10 research and clinical biotech occupations projected to add jobs through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS’) 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, ranked in order of the number of expected additional jobs to be created between 2014 and 2024. Each occupation also lists the number of jobs in 2014 as counted by BLS, the percentage increase between 2014 and 2024, the median pay per year in 2015, and a description of the position. 

    The Occupational Outlook Handbook appears on the surface to paint a more optimistic picture of biopharma employment than Challenger Gray. However, for all 10 occupations highlighted in the Handbook, BLS projected smaller increases in jobs from 2014-2024 than it did between 2012 and 2022, according to the 2014-15 edition of the BLS report. Those earlier estimates can be seen in GEN’s 2014 List of Top 10 Biotech Jobs Most in Demand over the Next Decade.

  • #10. Epidemiologists

    Employment change, 2014–24: 400 more jobs

    Number of jobs, 2014: 5,800 jobs

    Job outlook, 2014–24: 6%

    Median pay, 2015: $69,450 per year

    About the position: Epidemiologists are public health professionals who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury in humans. They seek to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes through research, community education, and health policy.

  • #9. Genetic Counselors

    Employment change, 2014–24: 700 more jobs

    Number of jobs, 2014: 2,400 jobs

    Job outlook, 2014–24: 29%

    Median pay, 2015: $72,090 per year

    About the position: Genetic counselors assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. They provide information and advice to other healthcare providers, or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions.

  • #7 (tie). Microbiologists

    Employment change, 2014–24: 800 more jobs

    Number of jobs, 2014: 22,400 jobs

    Job outlook, 2014–24: 4%

    Median pay, 2015: $67,550 per year

    About the position: Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites. They try to understand how these organisms live, grow, and interact with their environments.

  • #7 (tie). Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

    Employment change, 2014–24: 800 more jobs

    Number of jobs, 2014: 21,300 jobs

    Job outlook, 2014–24: 4%

    Median pay, 2015: $59,680 per year

    About the position: Zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their ecosystems. They study the physical characteristics of animals, animal behaviors, and the impacts humans have on wildlife and natural habitats. 

  • #6. Chemical Technicians

    Employment change, 2014–24: 1,200 more jobs

    Number of jobs, 2014: 66,500

    Job outlook, 2014–24: 2%

    Median pay, 2015: $44,660 per year

    About the position: Chemical technicians use special instruments and techniques to help chemists and chemical engineers research, develop, and produce chemical products and processes.

  • #5. Biochemists and Biophysicists

    Employment change, 2014–24: 2,800 more jobs

    Number of jobs, 2014: 34,100

    Job outlook, 2014–24: 8%

    Median pay, 2015: $82,150 per year

    About the position: Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes, such as cell development, growth, heredity, and disease.

  • #4. Biological Technicians

    Employment change, 2014–24: 4,100 more jobs

    Number of jobs, 2014: 79,300

    Job outlook, 2014–24: 5%

    Median pay, 2015: $41,650 per year

    About the position: Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.

  • #3. Biomedical Engineers

    Employment change, 2014–24: 5,100 more jobs

    Number of jobs, 2014: 22,100

    Job outlook, 2014–24: 23%

    Median pay, 2015: $86,220 per year

    About the position: Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare.

  • #2. Medical Scientists

    Employment change, 2014–24: 9,000 more jobs

    Number of jobs, 2014: 107,900

    Job outlook, 2014–24: 8%

    Median pay, 2015: $82,240 per year

    About the position: Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.

  • #1. Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

    Employment change, 2014-24: 52,100 more jobs

    Number of jobs, 2014: 328,200 jobs

    Job outlook, 2014–24: 16%

    Median pay, 2015: $50,550 per year

    About the position: Medical laboratory technologists (also known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

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