Bay State Life Sciences Companies Offer Strong Incentives Packages to Woo New Hires

Green gloved hand holding a petri dish with bacteria grown in the shape of massachusetts

For those looking for work, it’s good to know that some positions are in such demand that employers are falling all over themselves to offer hiring incentives. That’s the case with the biotech sector in Massachusetts, as many companies are dangling almost unheard-of benefits as incentives.

An analysis of hiring conducted by The Boston Globe showed the biotech sector in the Bay State is growing at such a rapid pace, that employers are doing what they can to ensure they hire the best fits for their companies. There are hundreds of open biotech jobs in Massachusetts and companies are constantly expanding. BioSpace maintains a job board of many of the posted jobs in Massachusetts, as well as across the country.

In its analysis, the Globe noted that benefits like fully-paid health insurance, money to pay off student loans, extra vacation time, free lunches, exercise and wellness benefits and more are part of the packages offered by biotech employers. The Globe noted that these incentives are the result of the state’s life science sector having grown so quickly that it has created more jobs than it can fill.

Teresa Ragan, head of human resources at Cambridge, Mass.-based Neon Therapeutics, told the Globe that when she offers a position to a prospective employee, it’s likely that individual is also fielding multiple offers from other companies. As part of its incentive packages, Neon offers time off on Friday afternoons in the summer, massages, dental insurance that will cover children and spouse, as well as something called a “life services concierge.” The Globe described that as someone who can help employees find help with things ranging from financial planning advice to securing someone to walk their dog.

Those benefits can be enticing for many employees. They are also an effective tool for some startup companies that cannot afford to provide high-dollar signing bonuses due to a tight budget. In its analysis, the Globe said the student loan payment option is especially appealing for employees due to the significant loans many have taken out to receive their advanced degrees.

“With the total student debt in the United States topping $1.5 trillion and many biotech workers earning multiple advanced degrees, the benefit is more enticing to some young employees than an employer match on a 401(k) retirement plan,” the Globe said.

In addition to these excellent perks offered by companies, the life science sector pays quite well in Massachusetts. The Globe noted that the average salary for an entry-level scientist in the state is $88,076, nearly 10 percent above the national average. For a mid-career scientist, the average salary in the Bay State is $118,634, about 4 percent above the national average.

In August, BioSpace reported on the data showing some of the best-paying jobs are in the biotech sector and many of those are in the Boston area. Companies that made this list offered average salaries that ranged from $198,000 to $495,000. The top paying biotech job that made that list was Cambridge, Mass.-based Infinity Pharmaceuticals, which provides median pay of $495,513. Other companies on that list includes Boston-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals, which offered median pay of $211,511; Agios Pharmaceuticals, which offered median pay of $253,115; and North Waltham, Mass.-based Tesaro, Inc., which provides median pay of $344,329.

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