RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Nationwide, life science companies slowed down their efforts to identify, recruit, and hire talented workers in the fourth quarter of 2022, a new report shows.

The quarterly US Life Sciences Employment Pulse report identified 515,679 job advertisements in the US life science sector in the fourth quarter of 2022.

That’s a decrease from 582,669 advertisements the Pulse report identified during the third quarter of the year.

Still, hiring levels remained about the same in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the report’s author, Don Alexander, the president and managing director of Raleigh-based GeneCoda Executive & Professional Search.

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And in the Triangle, it’s not just locally based life science firms or global firms with offices in the region who are looking to add talent based in the region, said Alexander.

“Out of state companies continue to recruit talent here,” said Alexander in an interview with WRAL TechWire.  “It may be a major project such as Eli Lilly or Amgen but could also be a handful of clinical operations professionals for a company located in California, as an example.”

A significant amount of technology executives are traveling back and forth from the Triangle and California markets, said Christiaan Heijmen, managing partner at Focus Search Partners, a Vaco Company, in an interview with WRAL TechWire this week.

That’s because nationwide, employers are still expecting to add talent in the first half of 2023, despite recession fears.  That’s according to a recent study from recruitment firm Robert Half, highlighted in the most recent WRAL TechWire Jobs Report.

However, Alexander is predicting a further downslide for life science sector jobs nationwide in the coming year, noting  the number of posted openings fell below the moving averages for the two prior quarters, the second consecutive report.

“Our forecast is 477,319 total Ads posted for the sector in Q1 of 2023 which would represent an ~ 13% decrease from Q1 of 2022 and a ~ 7% decrease from Q4 of 2022,” the report reads.

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Impact on Triangle life science jobs

But the Triangle may outperform the nation, said Alexander, even as local hiring trends appear to be reasonably consistent with the national trends observed in the data set.

“Because our market is not as large as some (e.g. Boston, the Bay area), it may be that we see a downturn earlier in the overall cycle but probably recover more quickly than other areas,” said Alexander.

“Plenty of [Triangle] area employers like Labcorp, IQVIA, and Grifols have hundreds of posts,” said Alexander.  “One of the top postings for our area that is a little different than others is statisticians / biostatistics, which makes sense since the area has so many large CROs.”

And, more planned job roles in the sector are yet to come to job boards, Alexander noted.

“I believe the bolus of hiring activity for some of the companies, like Pfizer and Eli Lilly, are yet to manifest themselves in more significant posting activity which should bode well for the future,” said Alexander.

Eli Lilly recently announced a $450 million expansion in the Triangle, which once completed is expected to bring on 100 workers to staff the facility, with many entry-level roles available.  And Pfizer bought a Sanford facility that was previously operated by Abzena, with plans to add 200 workers to the site, in addition to the 300 jobs the pharmaceutical company announced in 2019.

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