Biosciences Employment and Earning Power Increases

April 13, 2006
Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Total employment in the biosciences in the United States reached 1.2 million in 2004, the latest year for which data are currently available, according to the study, "Growing the Nation's Bioscience Sector: State Bioscience Initiatives 2006," which was released this week at BIO 2006

Total employment in the biosciences in the United States reached 1.2 million in 2004, the latest year for which data are currently available, according to the study, "Growing the Nation's Bioscience Sector: State Bioscience Initiatives 2006," which was released this week at BIO 2006, the Biotechnology Industry Organization's (BIO, Washington, DC, www.bio.org) annual meeting. The report was funded by BIO and Battelle (Columbus, Ohio, www.battelle.org), a science and technology enterprise that develops and commercializes technologies.

Two-thirds of the total US biosciences employment is in the subsectors of medical devices, equipment, research, testing, and medical laboratories, notes the report. The drug and pharmaceuticals subsector accounts for roughly 25% of total bioscience employment or 313,000 workers. For definitional purposes, the drugs and pharmaceuticals subsector is defined as producing medicinal and diagnostic substances. Agricultural feedstocks and chemicals account for the remaining 8% of US bioscience employment.

Bioscience employment in the drug and pharmaceuticals subsector increased 3% between 2001 and 2004. Workers in the drugs and pharmaceuticals subsector earned the highest average annual wage per employee, $79,303 in 2004. This average was above the average annual wage per employee for the entire biosciences sector at $65,775. Real wages (adjusted for inflation) for the average bioscience worker have increased 6.4% since 2001, compared with only a 1.4%-increase in real earnings for the average US private sector worker, notes the report.

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