Biotech Hires Go Beyond Lab Scientists, Report Shows

looking up view at palm trees towards blue sky

Located in the southernmost part of California, San Diego is a welcoming city with some of the best weather in the United States. It’s also a city that has a booming biotech sector with lots of available jobs that offer high pay and good benefits.

In the biotech hotbed dubbed “Biotech Beach” by BioSpace, there are lots of available jobs. But, Lisa Bozinovic, Executive Director of the Biocom Institute, a California biotech trade association, told San Diego’s KGTV that the jobs most in demand in the area “are the ones most difficult to fill.” The most recent 2018 Talent Report issued by Biocom shows that 88 percent of California life science companies are planning on hiring over the next 12 months. The average salary that the companies will be offering is $117,000, according to the report.

While that salary is quite appealing to most people, many people who might consider a role in the biotech industry may opt to look elsewhere because they may not believe they have the skills. That’s something that Bozinovic said just isn’t true.

Bozinovic told KGTV that the biotech companies will be looking for people who have skills in information technology (IT), human resources, administration, accounting and sales. Not to mention those researchers needed to perform the key studies that biotech companies hinge upon. Bozinovic said there are numerous ways for people to join the biotech industry without having to have a strong background or advanced degrees in the hard sciences.

“There are a wide variety of opportunities to enter the industry,” Bozinovic added.

But, for those who might be interested in a laboratory role, KGTV reported that many companies are willing to provide on-the-job training for candidates who may not have enough practical lab experience. The news station said that many companies in San Diego and the surrounding area have partnered with local colleges and community colleges to provide some key experience that will help the budding scientists land jobs. As an example, KGTV said The Southern California Technology Center has programs across area community colleges that provide the practical skills for those looking to enter the field. Biocom itself has workforce development programs for veterans, KGTV said.

With those kinds of opportunities available in the San Diego region, it’s a bit easier for some applicants to get their foot in the door of a biotech company.

Biocom’s latest industry report highlights key skills needed by these companies, as well as some industry trends. The report also highlights the need for some soft skills among applicants. Those skills would include flexibility, creativity, strong verbal and written communication skills, the ability to work well with others, comfort working with ambiguity, and the ability to work in matrix or virtual work environments.

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