BioSpace Announces the 2019 Top 30 Life Sciences Ideal Employers

The top 30 pharma and biotech companies

What do life sciences professionals value in an employer?

According to the second biennial 2019 Life Sciences Ideal Employer Report by BioSpace, the top three most important attributes cited by life sciences professionals around the world are the opportunity to do interesting and meaningful work, a competitive salary and health benefits.

BioSpace surveyed more than 2,700 life science professionals globally between May and July 2019. Respondents were asked to identify their top 3 ideal employers – companies they are most interested in working for – and then asked to rate various attributes of those employers. More than 5,400 votes for Ideal Employer were cast, and almost 900 different companies were named. These are the 30 companies that rose to the top:



2019 Top 30 Life Sciences Employers

1 Genentech 16 GlaxoSmithKline
2 Pfizer 17 AstraZeneca
3 Merck 18 Eli Lilly and Company
4 Amgen 19 Verily
5 Novartis 20 Sanofi
6 Johnson & Johnson 21 Abbott
7 Roche 22 Celgene
8 Bristol-Myers Squibb 23 bluebird bio
9 Gilead Sciences 24 BioMarin
10 AbbVie 25 Vertex
11 Illumina 26 Medtronic
12 Thermo Fisher Scientific  27 Bayer
13 Takeda/Shire 28 Boston Scientific
14 Biogen 29  Stryker
15 Regeneron 30 Alnylam

Ideal Employers

Congratulations are in order for four companies, who for the second time, came in as the top Ideal Employers. Genentech came in at #1, Pfizer at #2, Merck at #3 and Amgen at #4.

Comparing the 2017 survey with the 2019 survey, there was some movement among employers on the list. For example, AbbVie made a big jump, moving 12 spots up on the list to come in at #10. Takeda completed their acquisition of Shire in early 2019 which could have potentially helped them move up 14 spots on the 2019 Ideal Employer rankings.

On the opposite end, one of the largest losses went to Verily who dropped 11 spots from the 2017 survey. Unlike Takeda/Shire, Celgene, who is expected to be acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb, took a big dip as well falling 11 spots.

Employers who are new to the list for 2019 include bluebird bio, Vertex, Boston Scientific, Stryker and Alnylam.


The 2019 Life Sciences Ideal Employers Report is more than a list of top employers, though; it delves into the professional, demographic, and attitudinal nuances that determine who life sciences professionals consider an “Ideal Employer” -- and why.

Women, for instance, are far more likely to rank diversity and corporate social responsibility as an important employer attribute. While men are more likely than women to rate a competitive bonus and a strong drug pipeline as important employer attributes.

Life science professionals of all ages and experience consistently rate the opportunity to do interesting and meaningful work as most important. They also agree on the importance of salary and health benefits. However, despite the generational similarities, each generation expresses some unique needs.

For the second time, we continue to see the fact that respondents who have worked (or currently work) for a company typically rate the organization higher on nearly all positive attributes than professionals who have not worked at the company. Life sciences professionals who have not worked at a company are more likely to expect poor working hours, inflexible working options or unacceptable team dynamics than for professionals with experience at that employer. Such a gap between perception and reality points to the need for companies to invest in serious brand work and outreach – and for professionals to ask direct questions about work conditions, rather than operating based on assumptions.

Follow Ideal Employer news on BioSpace over the coming months as we dive deeper into this multi-faceted research and provide insights valuable to both professionals and hiring managers.

Are you building your talent pipeline? Download the full report for access to detailed insights you can use to build your workforce strategy and attract the best talent.

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