JLL Reports Top 10 US Cities Preferred by Scientists

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JLL ranks top 10 US life-sciences locations where scientists prefer to work and finds that location and workplace culture are key priorities.

JLL, a services firm specializing in real estate and investment management, has released its latest report, United States Life Sciences Outlook–2017, which highlights the top 10 life-sciences locations where scientist prefer to work. The report found that life-sciences professionals have high expectations for the workplace and that location and workplace culture have become priorities for life-sciences leaders. It is now important for companies to choose the right location and create workplaces that focus on the human experience, which in turn is expected to drive innovation.

Leading the pack are Greater Boston, MA, and the San Francisco Bay Area, CA, where talent and resources propelled these cities in the top 10 US life-sciences clusters in 2017. They share common characteristics such as “world-class academic institutions, top-notch research facilities and a tight-knit medical community,” according to JLL in a company press release. Other leading cities include San Diego, CA; Raleigh-Durham, NC; and Philadephia, PA (See Table I).

Rank2017 Outlook Report2016 Outlook Report
1Greater Boston, MAGreater Boston, MA
2San Francisco Bay Area, CASan Francisco Bay Area, CA
3San Diego, CARaleigh-Durham, NC
4Raleigh-Durham, NCSan Diego, CA
5Philadelphia, PASeattle-Bellevue, WA
6Maryland Suburbs/DC Metro Maryland Suburbs/DC Metro
7Seattle-Bellevue, WAPhiladelphia, PA
8New JerseyLos Angeles/Orange County, CA
9Los Angeles/Orange County, CAWestchester County, NY
10Chicago Metro, ILNew Jersey

The report found that demand for highly skilled labor and a limited pool of candidates has driven sustained wage growth. The average annual salary for R&D professionals has reached $135,000 in the past five years, while the average salary in the sector has increased 19.2%. 


Many life-sciences companies remain in top-tier clusters despite rising lab rents and R&D costs, indicating that talent is the top priority. Given the high cost of replacing valuable research talent, many companies are prioritizing locations, facilities, and workplaces that improve the well-being of employees, and some landlords are responding with life-sciences parks.
"With Millennials often at the center of talent recruitment, life-sciences companies are seeking spaces that improve employee well-being," said Roger Humphrey, executive managing director and leader of JLL's Life Sciences group, in a company press release. "Some are following the lead of technology companies and are creating workplaces that engage, inspire, attract, and retain talent, because the people are the business." 

JLL's annual Life Sciences Outlook tracks geographic shifts in life-sciences innovation, operations, and facilities investments, including an analysis of markets actively investing in their life-sciences sectors. In addition to a ranking of the top US life sciences clusters, the report also analyzes global trends.

Source: JLL