Phoenix was named among the top 25 markets by CBRE in the annual U.S. Life Science Talent Trends report. The report maps the top U.S. markets and employment trends across the research & development (R&D), manufacturing, and medical technology fields. 

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According to the CBRE report, Phoenix’s life sciences R&D subsector ranks No. 23 nationally with 6,180 employees, primarily data scientists (2,990).

The report also found Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing markets for life sciences degrees between 2017 – 2022, second only to Birmingham, Ala, with a 75% growth rate in degrees from the Phoenix area universities. Similarly, in a recent report produced by CBRE and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, during the same time bioscience completions grew 8% across all institutions in Arizona. 

“Phoenix’s life science and healthcare industries are buoyed by the success of institutions like Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona producing top-tier talent,” said Philp Wurth, senior vice president at CBRE in Phoenix. “Because of this talent pipeline, startups and established bioscience firms find the Greater Phoenix area desirable.”

Phoenix ranked No. 25 in the nation in the medtech subsector, which includes designing and producing medical devices, with 22,400 total jobs led by industrial engineers (5,440).  

Overall, U.S. life sciences job growth has been sluggish since interest rates began rising in 2022. The industry’s job growth – specifically in biotechnology R&D and pharmaceutical/medicine manufacturing – amounted to 0.2% since June 2022 after gaining 15.8% in the same period prior to June 2022.

Even so, demand for life sciences talent is strong. Unemployment in the sector is below 2%, compared to roughly 4% for all professions. That’s despite an increase in U.S. biological and biomedical science graduates over the past decade, up 54% from the 2010-2011 academic year to 173,825 in 2021-2022.

“The overall theme for the U.S. life sciences industry last year and this year is resiliency,” said Matt Gardner, CBRE Americas Life Sciences Leader. “We expect life sciences employment to hold steady over the next year and to perhaps decline in a few markets. But this talent is valuable – life sciences specialists who leave one job often find another quickly.”

CBRE assessed the Top 100 largest life sciences labor markets in the U.S. across various criteria for each of the three specialties. Specifically for the R&D subsector, this evaluation encompassed factors such as the quantity and density of life science researchers, the number of recent graduates, particularly those with doctorate degrees in the field, the density of all doctorate degree holders and the concentration of jobs within the wider professional scientific and technical services sectors.

To read the full report, click here.