The U.S. biopharmaceutical industry directly employs 803,000 workers in high-quality jobs. But that’s only part of the story. When we account for vendors and suppliers, plus economic activity generated across the country, the total number of jobs supported is over 4.7 million.
Biopharmaceutical jobs require diverse skills and educational levels. Employees range from Ph.D. scientists to administrative workers and entry-level technicians. The majority of these jobs are, unsurprisingly, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related, ranging from advanced manufacturing positions to those in domestic production. Management and financial occupations account for another 20 percent of jobs. Office and administrative workers spread across the industry account for 13 percent of the workforce. Production occupations account for 13 percent, and transportation and moving occupations account for 4 percent. Employees are drawn to the high-quality work and the chance to make a difference.
I worked in academics for a while, and I very much enjoyed it. But I wanted to be a little closer to seeing what I did have an impact on patients. Here, I have that opportunity. I can bring something that I’ve discovered in the lab and actually still have a connection to it when it goes into a clinical trial.
Principal Scientist, Oncology Dept., Merck & Company
The story gets more interesting when we consider the industry’s job multiplier effect. Biopharmaceutical companies put down roots in communities across the country, generating local jobs in everything from supply chain to retail to personal services. The biopharmaceutical sector’s economic output, which represents the value of goods and services produced, totaled more than $558 billion in the United States in 2014. The sector supported another $659 billion through vendors, suppliers and workforce spending, for a total of $1.2 trillion. This output is key to creating millions of U.S. jobs and growing local economies.