CLSA in SF Chronicle: Bay Area’s biotech sector is booming — but wages may be topping out

By Catherine Ho | SF Chronicle
Nov. 14, 2018

Average wages for workers in the Bay Area’s life sciences sector — which includes employees of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies — dipped slightly after years of growth, according to a report set to be released by the California Life Sciences Association on Wednesday.

In contrast, almost every other region of the state with large life sciences workforces saw wages rise.

In the Bay Area, wages dropped 2 percent from $167,267 in 2016 to $164,123 in 2017 — after rising steadily for the previous three years. By comparison, wages in Los Angeles and San Diego, the next two largest life sciences clusters in the state, rose 21 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

The California Life Sciences Association, a trade group, used figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2017, the last full year for which data was available, to make its calculations.

The Bay Area has long dominated the state’s life sciences sector and still does, with 27 percent of the industry — about 83,000 of a total 311,000 people — located in the region. Despite the year-over-year dip, average wages are still up about 25 percent compared to 2011, according to data compiled by the association.

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