Washington’s life science industry is experiencing strong economic growth, according to Life Science Washington. Today, the industry association released its latest Economic Impact Report, which reveals a 23.5 percent increase in life science employment in the state from 2015 to 2019, exceeding both Washington private sector job growth and national life science job growth.
“In the last five years, our industry has transformed from a top emerging cluster into one of the top 10 life science clusters in the nation and there are no signs the industry is slowing down,” said Dr. Leslie Alexandre, President and CEO of Life Science Washington. “Washington has always been a leader in life science research. In the past, Washington companies often got acquired while still in the R&D stage. Today, our companies are staying, growing, and adding commercial and manufacturing operations in Washington. As a result, Washington now has a vibrant life science ecosystem that is attracting capital, constructing new lab space, and adding jobs at a pace the state has not previously seen.”
Today, the state’s life science industry generates $30.1 billion in total economic activity and contributes $16.4 billion in value-added activity to Washington’s gross domestic product (GDP). The industry employs nearly 40,000 individuals across more than 1,100 life science organizations and supports over 100,000 jobs across the state. The average salary for life science workers is $106,122, almost 50% higher than the $70,000 average wage paid for other private sector jobs in Washington.
As local companies continue to expand and add commercial and manufacturing operations, the workforce has also diversified to include a range of jobs from entry level manufacturing to commercial and management roles as well as advanced research positions. The sector is also a leading STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, and math) industry for employing women in Washington. While other STEM-based industries continue to see a significant gender gap, women make up 44 percent of the state’s life science workforce.
Additionally, the investment climate for life science companies in Washington continues to set records. Over the past 12 months, seven Washington state life science companies became public and, according to Life Science Washington Institute’s most recent investment report, the state is on track to have one of its best years ever in terms of total investment with $4.5 billion raised year to date.
“It’s an exciting time in our industry with more investment activity than ever before,” said Jim Thomas, EVP, Global Head Biotherapeutics and President US Operations, at Seattle and Redmond-based Just-Evotec Biologics. “Today, we are seeing more and more local companies adding manufacturing and commercial operation capabilities, which enables local innovators like Just-Evotec Biologics to bring a new generation of life saving therapies to the global market more quickly.”
For more information or to dive further into the Economic Impact Report, please visit https://lifesciencewa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Economic-Impact-Report_2019data.pdf