Is Pharm Country The Place To Be For Those Working in Life Sciences?

6-7 Minutes

New York, New York: the state so nice they named it twice! And, for us, a leading hub with...

By Emily Davies

Senior Content Writer

New York, New York: the state so nice they named it twice! And, for us, a leading hub within Life Sciences and an absolute powerhouse for the growth of the industry!


New York: a place filled with vitality and inspiration. But not only that, the City That Never Sleeps is one of the great contenders that make up Pharm Country, boasting one of the world’s largest concentrations of bio-medical research institutions, world-class universities, disease-focused foundations, and healthcare service providers, as well as being in close proximity to major pharmaceutical operations.


You might be thinking, ‘hold on a second, what on Earth is Pharm Country?’. 


Pharm Country is the name given to the New York Metropolitan area – New York City and the surrounding counties in Long Island, the Hudson Valley, northern New Jersey, and southwest Connecticut – known for its vast amount of Biopharmaceutical and Medical Device companies.


In fact, just earlier this year, a new report steered by two NYC government agencies stated that the Life Sciences sector in the Big Apple and its surrounding region is now the nationwide leader in industry jobs and funding! Here at Meet, so far in 2022, we’ve collaborated on 1,287 roles that are based in New York alone!


With a phenomenal talent pool supported by the increasing number of graduates from world-class academic and healthcare institutions, strong public and private investments, strengths of both small and large companies vital to the industry, and a growing inventory of office space and laboratories to support all Life Science business needs, the New York Metropolitan area seems to be the talk of the town. Let’s delve into why this is so in a little more detail…


How did New York Metro get to this level of growth?


With Life Sciences businesses forming at an increasing rate, it only signals a growing confidence in the New York Metro as a go-to destination for Life Sciences activity. Partnership Fund’s 2021 Report states that between 2016-2020, the City gained an average of 54 Life Sciences companies a year – in the prior five years, 2011-2016, that figure sat at 28.


What’s more, the region’s established start-ups are now maturing into commercially sustainable businesses and landing large funding rounds. In fact, in 2020, New York-based start-ups secured a record-breaking 26 rounds of venture capital funding worth at least $20 million.


Still, when looking more acutely at the industry, a large portion of New York’s growth actually comes from diagnostics, with more than 800 new diagnostic labs opening since 2012. This has also meant that diagnostic jobs within the Big Apple have grown by 26%.  


But aside from the growing diagnostics front, the ever-bustling research and development sector has also grown to dominate as the highest-value branch in Pharm Country’s Life Sciences economy, with around 600 R&D companies opening their doors over the last decade. Similarly, that means that more R&D jobs have become available – more than 9,000 since 2018, to be exact. Plus, did you know that R&D employees account for nearly 63% of wages earned by industry workers?


All these signs of a surging Life Sciences ecosystem come down to two main areas: a growing number of academic and scientific talent as well as improved access to capital.



Speaking of capital, what does investment in Life Sciences look like in Pharm Country?


It goes without saying: New York is the heart of business in the US. However, although the New York Metro area has always been a leader in ground-breaking discoveries and patents within Life Sciences, venture capital investors have generally been more inclined to invest their pennies elsewhere, primarily backing early-stage companies.


Still, over the last five years, venture capitalists have made the move to return home, with funding for Pharm Country’s Life Sciences companies nearly tripling!


According to Partnership Fund, start-ups in the area received more than $3.3 billion alone. Following that same trend, in 2020, private investment in Life Sciences companies across the state of New York reached $2.3 billion. That’s also nearly triple the $820 million invested in 2019.


But, even more recently, in 2021, New York Metro’s sum of $4.1 billion from the National Institute of Health (NIH) dedicated 70% of that funding to businesses and institutions in New York City. The largest recipients were the renowned Columbia UniversityMount SinaiNYU Grossman School of Medicine, and Weill Cornell Medical College, collectively accounting for more than $2 billion in NIH grants. Since 2016, New York’s NIH funding has increased at an annual rate of 10% - faster than Massachusetts (6%) and California (8%).


On top of that, in 2016, the City of New York launched LifeSciNYC – a 10-year commitment to growing NYC’s Life Sciences economy. Just last year, the City doubled its investment to $1 billion in order to create more commercial lab space to back growing start-ups, support non-profits to yield new research, and continue building on a diverse pipeline of industry talent. That means that together, the City and the State of New York have pledged more than $1.5 billion to the growth of the Life Sciences ecosystem.


These smart investment choices are forging more jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers while also boosting scientific progress that will benefit thousands of people, not just in America, but all over the world.


But what does all of this mean for the Life Sciences job market?


New York is home to the largest workforce in the United States, gaining 442,000 workers between 2012 and 2022, making its combined commercial activity the 8th largest economy in the world!


The New York Metro region also has the most expansive pool of technical and specialized Life Sciences workers in the US, at 83,000 and counting. In fact, for every specialized Life Sciences worker, there are three more in supporting roles, which only breeds diversity at all job levels. Plus, with more Life Sciences graduates in the New York Metro than anywhere else in the US, it only holds promise for growing companies to have an unmatched pipeline of future talent with the right mix of skills and experience.  


What’s more, the growth Pharm Country has experienced in recent years has made way for more well-paying jobs in the industry. In fact, the New York City Metro area, home to nearly 5,100 Life Sciences companies, currently offers around 150,000 Life Sciences jobs – that’s 14,000 more than San Francisco, the next leading metro.


That means that along with the vast number of great opportunities for professionals residing in the region, there are also competitive salaries. In New York City, according to NYCEDC and NYC Planning, from 2016 through 2020, a time when citywide employment dwindled, Life Sciences salaries rose by 3.6% year-on-year.


Overall, throughout the last decade, average earnings for a New York-based Life Sciences employee have increased by 67%, from $85,000 in 2010 to $142,000 in 2020. In fact, just last year, New York Metro Life Sciences workers’ wages amounted to $23.1 billion! For the Life Sciences roles that we recruit for at Meet, the average salary for roles based in New York currently stands above industry average.



And what does it mean for Pharm Country businesses?


Well, along with a wide variety of talented individuals to welcome to your team, there’s also a growing number of spaces becoming available to scale your business. That’s due to clarified zoning and building regulations allowing laboratories in a broader range of spaces, including commercial office districts close to medical institutions.


As it stand in 2022, the New York Metro occupies 26.3 million square feet of lab space. With more investment coming into the sector, developers are in the process of adding more than 5.6 million square feet to suit the increasing range of needs. Once divvied up, that works out to be 2.1 million in Manhattan, 1.8 million in Lower Hudson, 950,000 in New Jersey, and 800,000 in Long Island.


I know what you’re thinking – renting in New York?! A privilege very few have. Surprisingly, for Life Sciences companies, the price points are comparable to other leading metros. Plus, as we look towards the future, the City has announced that they will continue to explore regulatory changes to accommodate and encourage more modern labs.



As most people know, New York has always been a lively place to be, but for Life Sciences professionals, it’s one of the hot spots of the century! In fact, throughout 2022, as of time of writing, 39% of Meet’s global placements have been based in New York.


If you’re thinking about a change of pace in your career and want to be a part of the buzz, reach out to us, and one of our experts can find you an opportunity to suit all your personal wants and needs.

Book in a call with one of the team about your hiring needs.

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