Boston Biotech: It Keeps Getting Better

If you’re in the biotech industry in Boston, you couldn’t be in a better place. Well, technically the whole state of Massachusetts is the place to be, but we’re a little biased towards the capital. In fact, Massachusetts, and more specifically, the Boston metropolitan area, has surpassed California and is now the top biotech hub in the world by the metric of a total number of people employed in the industry.

The Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation’s (MassBioEd) most recent job trends forecast reported some encouraging statistics for those currently in or thinking of joining the industry.

Explosive Growth Predicted to Continue

According to MassBioEd’s summary, the industry exceeded 70,000 jobs for the first time and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

  • Since 2014, the Massachusetts life sciences industry has grown at approximately double the rate of both the state and U.S. economies.
  • The total amount of job listings exceeded 27,700 in 2017. Of those, over 16,000 were STEM/Technical positions.
  • The Massachusetts biotech sector will add almost 12,000 new jobs by 2023.
  • Eighty-three percent of life sciences companies reported plans to expand their headcount in the next 12 months.

science experiment cartoon

Growing Pains are Unavoidable?

Rapid growth will inevitably pose several challenges to the industry, including:

  • Longer recruitment cycles: 65 percent of organizations surveyed reported that the average time it took to fill an opening was over 10 weeks; compared to the national average, which is only about 30 days.
  • Clinical research was named by 31 percent of companies surveyed as the hardest area to find qualified candidates in, followed by openings in Regulatory Affairs, Quality, and Research & Development roles—which also happen to be the top four areas that life sciences organizations plan to expand. This means that recruiting candidates to fill these roles is going to quickly become even more challenging.
  • Job openings requiring an Associate’s Degree and Ph.D. saw much higher levels of growth in demand compared to supply.
  • Colleges and universities have improved somewhat, but are still struggling to produce a sufficient number of graduates to fill entry-level positions for certain types of roles.
  • Specialization in these positions means that new workers cannot simply be poached from another industry or sector.
  • Twenty-nine percent of companies said that they had formal diversity initiatives—for either gender or race/ethnicity—at the contributor level, 28 percent at the management level and 17 percent at the board level.
  • Sixty percent of companies reported that they had no formal diversity initiatives.

Largest Life Science Companies in Massachusetts

The Boston area is home to almost 1,000 biotech companies, including both pharma giants and small startups. According to the Boston Business Journal, these are the top five largest life science companies in the state of Massachusetts as of August 2018:

FirmMass. EmployeesTotal EmployeesTotal 2017 RevenueCompany’s Main Product/Service Focus
50 Binney St.
Cambridge, MA
4,800100,000$41,088,250,000Specialty care, primary care, vaccines and consumer health care
Shire PLC
300 Shire Way
Lexington, MA
3,05923,00015,200,000,000Therapeutic areas including immunology, hematology, neuroscience, genetic diseases, internal medicine, ophthalmics and oncology
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.
40 Landsdowne St.
Cambridge, MA
2,70030,000NAOncology, gastroenterology, CNS and vaccines
225 Binney St.
Cambridge, MA
2,4007,200$12,300,000,000Therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases
181 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA
2,337129,222$49,100,000,000Broad range of medicines for a variety of diseases/conditions

The bottom line? Biotech is booming in Boston.

And if you’re a biotech recruiter, don’t be surprised if it takes a little longer to fill all of your vacant positions. is here to help make that process smoother when you decide to outsource your recruiting efforts.

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