A close look at recent statistical findings shows how sluggish biotech job growth has gotten of late, even as the broader industry has shown signs of coming back from its post-COVID-19 doldrums.

Employment in biopharma and the rest of the life sciences industry grew by just 0.1% between August 2023 and November 2023. Nonetheless, it grew an even 2% for the period between January 2023 and November 2023, as indicated in a quarterly report issued on February 1 by CBRE, a commercial real estate firm.1 That’s slightly above the 1.8% increase in total nonfarm payroll growth for the same period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In its more expansive 2024 U.S. Life Sciences Outlook, CBRE noted that life sciences job growth had slowed to an average of 2,291 jobs per month since July 2022.2 This figure was down more than three-fourths from the corresponding figure for 2021, which was 10,000-plus jobs per month. It should be noted that in 2021, many companies were still scrambling to develop COVID-19 drugs and vaccines—and many smaller biotechnology companies, flush with venture capital (VC), were expanding their workforces and operations.

Some further signs of concern for the industry: October 2023 showed the first net loss of life sciences jobs since the pandemic-fueled layoffs of April 2020—though job growth returned in November. Even more sobering, biotech R&D growth from January 2023 through November 2023 inched up just 0.1%.

For 2024, CBRE predicts a “modest” 0.2% dip in life sciences employment in the first half, to be followed by an uptick in the second half to end the year with a net gain in jobs. But which life sciences jobs are likeliest to see the most growth over the next decade?

For an answer to that question, see the list in this article. It contains 10 research and clinical biotech occupation categories that will add jobs through 2032, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, which was updated last September.3 The occupation categories are ranked in order of the number of additional jobs that are expected to be created between 2022 and 2032. When two occupations show the same number of additional jobs, the tie between them is broken by ranking higher the occupation that shows growth in the number of job openings that is higher when viewed in proportion to the total number of jobs.

Also, for each occupational category, the following BLS-calculated metrics are given: the number of jobs in 2022, the percentage increase between 2022 and 2032, and the median pay per year in 2022. Accompanying these metrics is an occupational description from the BLS.

This year, as with GEN’s 2023 A-List of top biopharma jobs in demand,4 the greatest number of projected jobs over the coming decade were for professionals who collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances—namely, clinical laboratory technologists and technicians (also known as medical laboratory scientists).

Interestingly, 7 of the 10 occupations highlighted in this A-List showed a year-over-year decrease in job openings projected over the next decade compared with last year’s A-List. That can be viewed as yet another indication that biopharma employers, both within academia and industry, have mostly begun to slow their hiring amid continuing uncertainty over the broader economy. The largest drop in the employment change projected for 2022–2032 is among biochemists. A projected increase of 2,300 was calculated this year, whereas a projected increase of 5,700 was calculated last year—a decrease of 60%.

The only three occupations showing year-over-year increases in projected job openings are zoologists (up 500 jobs 2022–2032), genetic counselors (up only 100), and epidemiologists (up 500)—the last an apparent sign that at least some laboratories are prioritizing the study of COVID-19, the prevention of future pandemics, or both.


1. Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

Projected employment change, 2022–2032: 16,800 more jobs

Job openings projected each year on average, 2022–2032: 24,000

Number of jobs, 2022: 342,900

Job outlook, 2022–2032: 5%
(Faster than average)

Median pay, 2022: $57,380/year

About the position: Clinical/medical  laboratory technicians perform medical laboratory tests for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.


2. Medical Scientists

Projected employment change, 2022–2032: 11,600 more jobs

Job openings projected each year on average, 2022–2032: 7,500

Number of jobs, 2022: 119,000

Job outlook, 2022–2032: 10%
(Much faster than average)

Median pay, 2022: $99,930/year

About the position: Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.


3. Biological Technicians

Projected employment change, 2022–2032: 3,900 more jobs

Job openings projected each year on average, 2022–2032: 10,600

Number of jobs, 2022: 81,400

Job outlook, 2022–2032: 5%
(Faster than average)

Median pay, 2022: $49,650/year

About the position: Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.


4. Epidemiologists

Projected employment change, 2022–2032: 2,700 more jobs

Job openings projected each year on average, 2022–2032: 800

Number of jobs, 2022: 10,000

Job outlook, 2022–2032: 27%
(Much faster than average)

Median pay, 2022: $78,520/year

About the position: Epidemiologists are public health workers who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury. They seek to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes through research, community education and health policy.


5. Biochemists and Biophysicists

Projected employment change, 2022–2032: 2,300 more jobs

Job openings projected each year on average, 2022–2032: 2,800

Number of jobs, 2022: 34,500

Job outlook, 2022–2032: 7%
(Faster than average)

Median pay, 2022: $103,810/year

About the position: Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes, such as cell development, growth, heredity, and disease.


6. Chemical Technicians

Projected employment change, 2022–2032: 1,900 more jobs

Job openings projected each year on average, 2022–2032: 7,100

Number of jobs, 2022: 58,800

Job outlook, 2022–2032: 3%
(As fast as average)

Median pay, 2022: $50,840/year

About the position: Chemical technicians use laboratory instruments and techniques to help scientists analyze the properties of materials.


7. Microbiologists

Projected employment change, 2022–2032: 1,100 more jobs

Job openings projected each year on average, 2022–2032: 1,700

Number of jobs, 2022: 20,900

Job outlook, 2022–2032: 5%
(Faster than average)

Median pay, 2022: $81,990/year

About the position: Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites. They try to understand how these organisms live, grow, and interact with their environments.


8. Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers

Projected employment change, 2022–2032: 1,000 more jobs

Job openings projected each year on average, 2022–2032: 1,200

Number of jobs, 2022: 19,700

Job outlook, 2022–2032: 5%
(Faster than average)

Median pay, 2022: $99,550/year

About the position: Bioengineers and biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software.


9. Genetic Counselors

Projected employment change, 2022–2032: 600 more jobs

Job openings projected each year on average, 2022–2032: 300

Number of jobs, 2022: 3,500

Job outlook, 2022–2032: 16%
(Much faster than average)

Median pay, 2022: $89,990/year

About the position: Genetic counselors assess clients’ risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as birth defects. They review genetic test results with individuals and families and support them in making decisions based on those results. They also offer information to other healthcare providers.


10. Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Projected employment change, 2022–2032: 600 more jobs

Job openings projected each year on average, 2022–2032: 1,500

Number of jobs, 2022: 19,100

Job outlook, 2022–2032: 3%
(As fast as average)

Median pay, 2022: $67,430/year

About the position: Zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals—those both in captivity and in the wild—and how they interact with their ecosystems. They focus primarily on undomesticated animals and their behavior, as well as on the impact humans have on wildlife and natural habitats.



  1. CBRE. Return to Positive Absorption in Q4 May Signal Improving Life Sciences Market in 2024.
  2. CBRE. 2024 U.S. Life Sciences Outlook
  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  4. GEN. Top 10 Life Sciences Jobs over the Next Decade.



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