Evergreen Life Science Sector Shows Promise for CRE and Job Market

CRE Articles
(Alphaspirit/alphaspirit -

CBRE’s second annual analysis of U.S. life sciences research talent finds the number of researchers has not declined in more than 20 years and through three recessions


The growth of U.S. life sciences researchers remains resilient in the face of economic concerns, according to a recent analysis conducted by commercial real estate leader CBRE. The number of life sciences researchers in the U.S. increased 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 a tight labor market of recent years. Life sciences research professions - from biochemists to epidemiologists and data scientists - increased in headcount by 3.1% in 2022 to a record 545,000 specialists. In comparison, the overall U.S. job growth rate last year was 2.2%.

The continued growth in life sciences research jobs is driven by established markets including Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. 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.

“Demand for life sciences research workers is above pre-pandemic levels,” said Matt Gardner, CBRE Advisory Services life sciences leader. “We’re also seeing a closely balanced ratio of hiring to job cuts in the biopharma industry compared with the technology sector and the broader economy, which positions the life sciences to remain stable despite an economic downturn.” CBRE’s analysis allows for examination of the industry from various angles, including shifts in the type of life science research occupations.

For example, the number of digital and analytics roles has increased by 101% in the last five years due to innovation in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The industry is also experiencing a shift from chemistry to biology, resulting in a 1.2% decrease in the number of chemists over the past five years.

“Any expanding industry needs a strong pool of new graduates, and that’s certainly the case for life sciences,” said Taylor Stucky, associate research director for CBRE’s Life Sciences and Healthcare Research. “There is no shortage of quality and available talent in dozens of U.S. markets for life sciences companies to choose from depending on their real estate and labor needs.”

CRE Articles
(agneskantaruk/agneskantaruk -

Dovetailing on this trend, CBRE has announced a new brand: Full Spectrum Lab Services from CBRE.

For decades, CBRE has offered lab-specific services, including laboratory design and productivity consulting, lab equipment relocation, calibration maintenance, and repair, primarily for bio-pharma clients. With the recent acquisition of Full Spectrum Group, CBRE has scaled its lab services offering to support clients of varying sizes across multiple industries. The CBRE specialty service supports more than 700 lab clients with expertise across all types of equipment from pipettes to mass spectrometers.

Trends in research and development have reduced the average size of individual labs. CBRE’s lab services are agile and flexible to service clients of all sizes, geographic areas and business sectors, providing consistent and rapid response and minimizing costly downtime. Lab equipment is also becoming increasingly complex, requiring highly skilled and trained professionals to maintain them. CBRE is meeting these needs by expanding access with more specialized technicians trained on the latest equipment and processes.

“‘Full Spectrum Lab Services from CBRE’ demonstrates the breadth of services CBRE can provide laboratory clients in any industry, such as oil and gas, forensic science, telecom, data centers and of course, biopharma,” said Monica Juan, sector president, GWS | Enterprise at CBRE. “We are committed to delivering world-class lab services that support scientific achievement.”