Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Which Industry Occupations Grew Jobs between 2012 and 2014?

So far at least, 2015 has not seen new rounds of layoffs as extensive as those suffered over the past five years, which have included the shedding of 38,200 jobs between 2009-2014 by Pfizer, and another 30,000 jobs slashed during the same period by Merck & Co.

Yet significant job reductions continue, from the 5,600 jobs AstraZeneca is jettisoning by 2016, to Amgen’s planned elimination of up to 4,000 positions also by next year, to GlaxoSmithKline’s announced intent to cut 900 U.S. jobs. Some silver linings amid all the job clouds: Big pharma’s embrace of new therapies has begun to generate new hiring, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) continues to offer mostly upbeat projections of future job growth for some biopharma positions.

Below is a list of 8 research and clinical biotech occupations, ranked by how many jobs are estimated to have been created (or lost) in 2014 by the BLS between 2012 and 2014. The bureau released its 2014 estimates for the biotech jobs and numerous other occupations in March. The 2012 actual job figures were reported in the BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014–15 Edition, which will not be updated until next year, hence the estimates.

The Handbook included projections of hiring in 10 biopharmas occupation between 2012 and 2022—projections that were the basis of rankings in GEN’s 2014 biotech jobs list. However, BLS this year offered separate 2014 estimates for “Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists” and “Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians”—compared with the single figure reported last year, when the category was a combined occupational category.

Each occupation listed below includes the change in number of jobs between 2012 and 2014, the 2014 estimate, the 2012 number of jobs, and a description of the position.

#1. Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians

Employment change, 2012-14: 2,540 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2014: 160,460 jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 157,920 jobs1

About the position: Medical and clinical lab technicians perform routine medical laboratory tests for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. They may work under the supervision of a medical technologist.

#2. Biochemists and Biophysicists

Employment change, 2012-14: 2,150 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2014: 31,350 jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 29,200 jobs

About the position: Biochemists and biophysicists design and perform various complex tests for their research. Their job spans from studying proteins, DNA, RNA, and several other molecules to studying and testing already developed drugs and the effects that they have on biological systems and more.

#3. Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists

Employment change, 2012-14: 1,010 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2014: 161,710 jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 160,700 jobs2

About the position: Medical and clinical laboratory technologists perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May train or supervise staff.

#4. Biomedical Engineers

Employment change, 2012-14: 680 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2014: 20,080 jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 19,400 jobs

About the position: Biomedical engineers use their knowledge of engineering to design and construct systems and products for medical usage. The products that biomedical engineers create and produce are essential to the diagnosis of medical ailments. They are responsible for the reparation of the devices they build, the assurance of their functionality and safety, and work very closely with scientists, doctors, and others in the medical field to observe the engineering components of biological processes and systems to plan their developments accordingly. Some products that biomedical engineers provide include prostheses, such as artificial organs, and devices such as MRIs and CAT Scans.

#5. Microbiologists

Employment change, 2012-14: 570 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2014: 20,670 jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 20,100 jobs

About the position: Microbiologists focus primarily on the classification and functions of microorganisms found in humans, plants, water, etc. They organize, conduct, and supervise complex research on these microscopic organisms. Through analysis of their findings, microbiologists obtain new knowledge about these organisms and translate that into ways to develop new drugs to combat diseases.

#6. Epidemiologists

Employment change, 2012-14: 320 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2014: 5,420 jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 5,100 jobs

About the position: Epidemiologists compile data to try and understand the causes of diseases, improve public health issues, and prevent future problems. They do this by conducting various experiments, surveys, and interviews and studying the data they compiled. Being highly observant is a requirement in this field due to the constant demand for them to analyze data and plan studies in order to find new statistics about diseases, and then report those findings to others in the medical and public health field.

#7. Chemical Technicians

Employment change, 2012-14: 160 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2014: 63,760 jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 63,600 jobs

About the position: Chemical technicians use special instruments and techniques to help chemists and chemical engineers research, develop, and produce chemical products and processes.

#8. Genetic Counselors

Employment change, 2012-14: 80 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2014: 2,180 jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 2,100 jobs

About the position: Genetic counselors assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. They provide information and advice to other healthcare providers, or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions.

1 2012 figure was estimated in 2013; the actual 2012 number of jobs for the occupation was previously combined with the number for Medical and Clinical Lab Technologists
2  2012 figure was estimated in 2013; the actual 2012 number of jobs for the occupation was previously combined with the number for Medical and Clinical Lab Technicians

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