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CLSI and Biocom Institute Release 2016 California Life Sciences Sector Workforce Trends Report

CLSI and Biocom Institute have released their second joint life sciences industry workforce trends report entitled, “2016 California Workforce Trends in the Life Science Industry.” The biennial report captures up-to-date information on the most pressing current and anticipated talent needs of the dynamic life sciences sector in California, and was released at the BIO International Convention in San Francisco during a program at the California Pavilion that included Jeffrey D. Armstrong, President, Cal Poly.

FullSizeRender-1.jpgThe report shows that California’s life science industry is one of the leading employers in the state, creating jobs for over 280,000 people. “Disruptive” discoveries and the dynamic and cyclical nature of the industry are creating a demand for new skills and talent to drive the life sciences’ unparalleled innovation. The report analyzes three data sets from 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, including interviews with over 30 leading life sciences employers across the state, survey responses from close to 250 human resource and hiring managers, and over 16,000 life science job postings in California.

Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), Chairman of the Assembly Select Committee on Biotechnology hailed the report, noting: “California’s world leading life sciences community is one of the biggest contributors to California’s economy. The California Assembly’s Select Committee on Biotechnology welcomes the Biocom Institute and California Life Sciences Institute’s 2016 California Workforce Trends Report. As with the 2014 analysis, we expect this year’s report to serve as a valuable tool for legislators and academic institutions who are focused on ensuring that the talent pipeline for the life sciences industry remains strong.”

Key Findings & Highlights from the 2016 California Workforce Trends Report:FullSizeRender.jpg

  • Job growth in the sector is expected to approximate the impressive rates of the prior two years, with the exception of R&D positions, which are expected to spike. Science and technology-based positions lead occupational demand.
  • Most positions require a 4-year degree, although many employers are also willing to consider work experience over degrees, suggesting that more work-based learning opportunities for students will make them more attractive job candidates.
  • “Disruptive” advancements in big data and personalized medicine are spiking demand for skills in collecting, managing, analyzing and interpreting large data repositories.
  • The shift to value-based healthcare is creating need for expanded skill sets for understanding reimbursement and the health care system, structuring business partnerships, relationship management, and policy and regulatory expertise.
  • Strong soft skills – effective communication, collaboration, teamwork, listening, leadership, influence– and the ability to adapt, problem-solve and work with ambiguity in a cyclical industry – are frequently cited as just as, or more important than, technical skills.
  • Diversity (race, ethnicity, gender, culture) on teams creates the most robust solutions and yields the best decisions, but will require much greater industry and academic effort to fully develop this talent pipeline.
  • Industry partnerships with academia at all levels are vital for developing collaborative research and preparing and inspiring new generations of talent with industry-relevant knowledge.

“In order for our industry to continue as an economic engine for the state of California, we need to understand its evolving talent needs and how best to meet them,” said Liisa Bozinovic, Executive Director, Biocom Institute. “In short, as our industry continues to create jobs, it is critical that we have people prepared to step into those jobs.”

IMG_2692.jpg“Our 2016 California Workforce Trends Report serves as a roadmap for ensuring that we are properly supporting California’s innovative life sciences sector,” said Lori Lindburg, Executive Director, California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI). “By adequately preparing our workforce through industry and academic partnerships, informing legislators where training dollars are most needed, and helping companies develop their internal talent, we can help ensure that the workforce pipeline for California’s life sciences sector remains strong.

“We need institutions like the CSU, working hand-in-hand with our educational and governmental partners, and especially our industry partners” stated Jeffrey Armstrong. “The CSU is working hard to prepare your future employees. What do we need from you? Continue to be good partners. Consider long-term investments: long-term financial investments in our research enterprise, and long-term investments in our students through extended internships. With your continued engagement and partnership, we all do better.”

An executive summary and full copy of the report can be found at:

To view the link for Lori Lindburg’s (CLSI) and Liisa Bozinovic’s (Biocom Institute) Buzz Center interview: