Move over, Boston and San Francisco? Seattle tops list of fastest growing biotech hubs for job opportunities — report
Boston and San Francisco have long been established as the two biggest biotechs hubs in the nation, homes for R&D that has spread its tentacles through all levels of the industry. But as the space has grown, those two hubs have imposed tighter barriers to entry — which means cities like Seattle could have a chance to build a hub of innovation of their own.
The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue triangle is the fastest growing area for life sciences employment, closely followed by the Atlanta area and the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford triangle, according to a new report from JLL. The team compared employment rates in the industry between the past five years and the five years preceding that.
On that rating, life science positions in the Seattle area grew at a 3.1% clip, compared with 3% for the Atlanta area and 2.9% for the Central Florida triangle. In terms of wage positioning — a metric comparing relative wages between biotech hubs — the Seattle area ranked fourth just behind Los Angeles, the Twin Cities and the North Carolina triangle of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill.
The JLL report, titled “Life Sciences Emerging Markets Index: Poised for a paradigm shift,” the team not only looked at biotech hubs’ “momentum,” but also their wealth of available talent and “potential” to attract a workforce.
“Though Boston, San Francisco, and San Diego will always occupy a vaulted place within the life sciences pantheon, the incredible dynamism of the industry is jump-starting new markets that are of growing interest to life sciences investors and companies alike thanks to their lifestyle, cost of living, and demographic advantages,” JLL wrote.
In terms of total STEM degrees, the megacities obviously topped the list: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC. Rounding out the list there are the Houston and Dallas areas, San Francisco, Boston, Toronto and Atlanta.
The report also outlined an index for “potential,” which it defined as a matrix of housing availability, an existing millennial workforce, state corporate taxes and higher-education R&D funding. By that metric, the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord triangle in North Carolina narrowly edged out the Seattle area. Just below those frontrunners were the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area in Colorado and the Austin, TX region, including two cities along Interstate 35 — Round Rock and Georgetown. A couple other surprises on the top 10 potential list were Boise, ID, and the greater Nashville area.
Part of what defined those areas’ potential were corporate tax rates, and on that front Washington and Texas came out on top. Both states boast a 0% corporate rate — only North Carolina comes close at 2.5%. Meanwhile, California, New York and Texas topped the list in terms of higher-education R&D spending, a guidepost for IP production and corporate followthrough, JLL said.