Top 10 Best Locations for Life Science Jobs in the World

Top 10 Best Locations

The biopharma industry is international, with some of the biggest life science companies operating in a handful of countries all over the globe. This means you could have a career in life sciences virtually anywhere in the world.

The global life science market was valued at $8.3 billion in 2021 according to Grand View Research, and the market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 7.7% from 2022 to 2030. Both startups and large biopharma and biotech companies are expanding everywhere, meaning that the opportunity for jobs in the life sciences sector has never been so plentiful. 

Proclinical studies the life science industry to determine how domestic and international companies perform in relevance to each other. Considering each country's revenue and innovations, as well as the number of jobs available, here is their list of the top 10 best locations for life science jobs today, with additional details and analysis from BioSpace.

Top 10 Best Locations for Life Science Jobs in the World

Boston, MA
Munich, Germany
Paris, France
Basel, Switzerland
London, Oxford & Cambridge, England
Tokyo, Japan
Milan, Italy
Madrid & Barcelona, Spain
Melbourne, Australia


1. Boston, MA

The U.S. pharmaceutical market brought in $550 billion in annual revenue in 2021, accounting for 48% of the global pharmaceutical market, according to the Zippia recruitment service. Much of these contributions can be traced back to the Greater Boston area in Massachusetts. 

Life sciences is the dominant industry in Boston, with industry jobs accounting for 4.6% of the Boston region's total employment. The Boston Globe reported that Massachusetts biopharma firms raised a record $13.7 billion in venture capital in 2021, surpassing the $12.5 billion raised in the second most-popular state, California. 

Boston's Kendall Square in Cambridge holds over 120 life science companies within a square mile. Among those companies are big names like Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Bayer and AstraZeneca. 

California's San Francisco Bay Area is considered the second largest life science market in the nation. Learn more about other cities in the U.S. with growing life science industries with our career resources.

2. Munich, Germany

The southwest district of Planegg in Munich, Germany is home to many of the big-name biotech companies in Europe. Germany is considered one of the fastest-growing markets for life sciences in Europe and also boasts the fourth largest economy in the world. 

Big biopharma companies like MorphoSys and Medigene are both located in Munich and are continuing to grow every year. There are also numerous start-up companies in the neighborhood, offering a variety of job potential for life sciences professionals at any point in their careers. 

More than 50,000 people in Munich are employed with a career in the life sciences industry. Some of the biggest companies there are Amgen, BioNTech, Biogen and CureVac. 

3. Paris, France

Sanofi, Pierre Fabre, Ipsen and Servier are just some of the companies that have put France on the map in regards to the life sciences industry. The country's response to the Covid-19 pandemic also helped increase biopharma revenue. 

France recorded more than $37.8 billion in pharmaceutical sales in 2020, with the pharma industry only expected to continue growing. With the country's status as a member of the G7 and G8 powers, France is working toward making its economy one of the world's strongest. 

Within Europe, France has one of the highest pharmaceutical production amounts and employs more than 98,000 people in the industry. 

4. Singapore

The city-state of Singapore is a major and growing hub for research and development, biomanufacturing and clinical research. The Singapore government even identified medical technology as one of the major sectors in the city-state's life sciences industry. 

This makes Singapore a great hub for a range of careers, including laboratory roles dealing with clinical research, regulatory affairs roles, engineering positions or roles in creating and testing medical technology.

The life sciences sector, as a whole, contributes to around a fifth of Singapore's manufacturing GDP. Around 25,000 workers are employed by the sector and the industry is expecting to continue growing as more R&D companies and biopharma start-ups flock to the area. Singapore's location allows for companies to have easy access to other Asian cities, which makes it attractive for growing companies and for budding professionals. 

5. Basel, Switzerland

The pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland provides over 50,000 life science jobs to its residents and accounts for over 40% of all Swiss exports. 

Multinational corporations Roche and Novartis both originated and are now headquartered in the city of Basel, Switzerland, which accounts for a large percentage of the positions available. Some other biopharma companies with locations in Basel include AbbVie, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim and Takeda. 

Switzerland also advertises the highest quality staff training and the highest skill set requirements for graduates in the industry. 

6. London, Oxford and Cambridge, England

London, Oxford and Cambridge make up the "Golden Triangle" of England – a center known for its contributions to life sciences in the United Kingdom. Together, these cities employ over a quarter of a million people at more than 250 life science businesses.

Oxford is known for its biotech presence, with companies like Oxford BioMedica, Oxford BioTrans and Celleron Therapeutics conducting cutting-edge research and drug discovery and development. Cambridge, home to AstraZeneca, pools its money toward research and development, and London hosts numerous start-ups and headquarters for large biotechs that are working toward innovation.

The UK government announced a 10 year plan in 2021 to build on the country's Covid-19 response to focus on solving healthcare challenges and continuing to build the life science industry to be a competitive market in the nation. 

7. Tokyo, Japan

Japan's capital city is known for embracing change and creating groundbreaking technologies that advance the medical community. Japan is the second-largest pharmaceutical and medtech market, accounting for 7% of the global pharmaceutical economy. According to the International Trade Commission, the Japanese life science industry brought in $107 billion in 2020.

Medical device manufacturers and big-name pharma companies have a location in Tokyo, creating jobs for the highly educated population. Professionals travel to Tokyo to enjoy job stability and a growing career at companies like Takeda, Daiichi Sankyo and Chugai. 

The city of Fukuoka is also a notable mention on this list – the city is considered a comparable version of America's Silicon Valley, inviting entrepreneurs to launch their start-ups. 

8. Milan, Italy

Known for more than just fashion, Milan is also the life sciences hub of Italy. 

Milan made the list purely for its high number of exports and capabilities in the manufacturing sector of the industry. Italy is a leading pharmaceutical producer in Europe and includes some of the top 10 global pharma companies, like Pfizer and AbbVie.

The opportunities for work in this city are dispersed among the biopharma, biotech and medical device production companies. Pharma Boardroom reports that 66,000 people work in pharma, 76,000 in medical devices and 13,000 in biotech.

Italy is a great place to grow your career if you are a specialist in life sciences looking for a wonderful work-life balance that allotts time to enjoy the countryside and indulge in the Italian way of life. 

9. Madrid and Barcelona, Spain

More than half of the 45,000 people working in the life science industry in Spain are women, and two-thirds have higher education qualifications, according to Proclinical.

Many R&D and production facilities have opened in Spain in recent years, contributing to the country's ongoing commitment to the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, just two years ago, the Spanish government approved a 2-year multi-million-dollar plan for science and innovation that focuses on improving medicine strategy and expanding on data science and genomic medicine.

Additionally, healthcare technology and research and development efforts are a focus of many local pharmaceutical companies like Genomica and Almirall. Big-name pharma companies Sanofi and Merck also have a presence in the region.

10. Melbourne, Australia

Little known to many, Melbourne, Australia is one of the top five biotechnology hubs in the world. And that's not the only part of Australia that's making waves with life sciences – the city of Brisbane is also becoming a rising star when it comes to medical devices and technology. 

There are currently more than 1,852 life science organizations throughout the country, employing 243,406 people in 2020. The Research and Development Tax Incentive will only help the country continue to grow in all things life sciences. 

Australia is consistently considered one of the most desirable places to live and work, due to its above-average income and quality of life. There are plenty of positions available for people looking to work in medical devices, research and development, digital health technology and more. 

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