CBRE analysis: New Jersey remains among top markets for life sciences research talent

The greater New Jersey market ranked fourth in the nation for life sciences research talent, according to a recent analysis conducted by CBRE. Nationally, the growth of U.S. life sciences researchers remains resilient in the face of economic concerns, with the number of life sciences researchers in the U.S. increasing by 87% over the past 20 years, compared with 14% for all U.S. occupations. Research jobs have not fallen across those 20 years, through three recessions and amid the tight labor market of recent years.

CBRE evaluated each of the largest 74 U.S. life sciences labor markets against multiple criteria, including the number and concentration of life sciences researchers, number of new graduates with life sciences degrees and specifically with doctorate degrees in life sciences, concentration of all doctorate degree holders and concentration of jobs in the broader professional, scientific and technical services professions.

The analysis produced CBRE’s second annual ranking of the leading markets for U.S. life sciences talent.

New Jersey is the fourth-highest ranked market for life sciences research talent in the U.S., with a score of 126.8. The market’s robust performance is supported by a workforce of 38,700 life sciences professionals — the largest in the country — and 9,500 annual relevant degree completions at area universities — also the largest in the country.

“New Jersey’s continued prominence is due to a large concentration of life science- and pharmaceutical-related companies and rich talent in the region’s core in central New Jersey and northern New Jersey,” Tom Sullivan, an executive vice president of CBRE based in the New Jersey office, said.

New Jersey is situated at the center of a cluster of life sciences powerhouses that spans 450 miles along the Northeast corridor and includes other top-ranked markets such as Boston (No. 1), Washington, D.C./Baltimore (No. 3) and Philadelphia (No. 6) and includes promising smaller markets such as Worcester, Massachusetts (No. 17), Albany, New York (No. 21), and New Haven, Connecticut (No. 24). Altogether, Northeastern markets account for four of the Top 10 and seven of the Top 25 markets.

“New Jersey’s strong position as a top market for life sciences research talent is bolstered by some of the region’s top universities and colleges, including Rutgers University, New York University, Princeton, NJIT, Stevens, Seton Hall and Columbia University,” Sullivan said. “The market’s dominance is supported by a workforce of 38,700 life sciences professionals and 9,497 annual relevant degree completions at universities across Greater New Jersey area.”

According to CBRE’s report, New Jersey and New York boast some of the highest wages in the life sciences market, ranging from $128,274 for biochemists to $98,669 for chemists. The yearly cost of living in the area as of 2021 was $69,246 and the median home value stood at $517,738, while the average apartment rent for a one bedroom was $1,732 in northern New Jersey.