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In 2011, total wages and salaries for the California biomedical industry were $15.5 billion. An average salary for the biomedical industry was approximately $102,000, with variability depending on sector and location. These high-paying jobs are dependent on hubs and innovation ecosystems as well as a highly trained, specialized and skilled workforce. In the following snapshot, Dr. Oanh Dang (>Snapshot: Dang) discusses the importance of preserving life sciences ecosystem to attract and retain a skilled workforce, which is essential to attracting and retaining biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

CEO Survey: The following areas were rated according to the adequacy of California’s emerging workforce

Emerging Areas

The California workforce was rated as more adequate in math, science and reading but less adequate in computer skills.

CEO Survey: Of the following choices, the primary capacity was selected of which the workforce in California is least prepared.

Least Prepared

The California workforce was found to be least prepared in manufacturing, followed by research and regulatory skills.

Employees in the biomedical industry have a wide range of educational backgrounds, from community college associate degrees to doctorates from leading research universities. California universities led the 2010 in awarding more than 1,000 doctoral degrees in the biological and biomedical sciences.

The majority of people with doctoral degrees in the life sciences are advancing the biomedical industry at the bench and in the boardroom. Only 14 percent of those with a Ph.D. in biology and the life sciences obtained an academic position within five years, according to a 2009 NSF survey. The industry also hires high-tech experts and supporting management and operational staff, from finance to human resources.

Dr. Oanh Dang

“California needs to ensure that it keeps maintaining and building its biotech hubs. This means attracting and keeping venture capital in the state, funding basic research in its universities and providing incentives to large pharmaceuticals to set up headquarters in the state.”

Oanh Dang, Ph.D.
Director of Business Development, Sequenom

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