Two years after releasing the results of an independent study analyzing the workforce landscape and future talent needs of the Greater Philadelphia region’s cell & gene therapy sector, the Chamber’s CEO Council for Growth and the University City Science Center are releasing a new and updated report.
Economic consulting firm Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) was reengaged to refresh and update the “Cell and Gene Therapy and Connected Health Workforce Analysis” completed in 2019-2020 to reflect changes in the industry. The result is a current and detailed workforce demand and supply study for Greater Philadelphia’s cell & gene therapy hub.
Econsult’s full report and the executive summary, highlighting key findings, can be accessed via the embedded links. Among the findings: Greater Philadelphia’s cell & gene therapy sector is growing and maturing.
- Data and industry perspectives point to the region maintaining its position as an R&D hub and increasingly becoming a commercialization and manufacturing center.
- There has been substantial growth in existing companies, and we see new entries into the marketplace. The real estate market is booming. More professionals are listing cell & gene therapy skills in their LinkedIn profiles.
- There is significant economic opportunity for our region, yet it is a competitive landscape with top regions growing at a similar pace attracting and retaining talent.
Future growth is likely, but important steps to build future workforce capacity must be taken.
- The key to future growth will be developing a local workforce, at all levels, that can meet the needs of companies.
- Companies, educators, and training partners must collaborate to build career pathways for non-traditional candidates, particularly in the manufacturing space.
- The creation of new programs that bring together training organizations represents a big opportunity for companies to hire trained talent at scale.
Continued strong employment growth is expected, exceeding 2019 projections.
- Employment at cell & gene therapy companies and contract manufacturing organizations in the region grew by 80 percent from 2019 to 2022, to 3,600 employees, as measured by LinkedIn profiles. The number of biopharma employees listing cell & gene therapy-related skills grew by more than 200 percent from 2019 to 2022.
- Industry experts expect similar levels of growth for the next five years, especially if talent and funding barriers are mitigated.
“With this updated assessment of the cell and gene therapy sector’s talent needs, our job is to support the talent growth through initiatives like the Chamber’s Life Sciences Talent Pipeline Collaborative; a jobs board on our new Select Greater Philadelphia website that shares information about job opportunities; and continued work with our region’s higher education and workforce training organizations to identify opportunities to create skills training, concentrations, certificates, and joint programs to meet and anticipate talent needs as companies grow in the region,” said Sarah Steltz, Vice President of Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber.
As with the 2019 study, ESI used LinkedIn Talent Insights to assess the workforce supply in the region and Burning Glass Labor Insights to determine the demand. ESI also conducted primary research through surveys, interviews, and focus groups with professionals knowledgeable about the sector, including academic researchers, industry and human resources experts, and workforce development organizations. Qualitative and quantitative data and subsequent analysis informed the understanding of the sector’s scope and identified barriers and opportunities for growth in Greater Philadelphia, ESI said in the report.
The study looked at more than 40 cell & gene therapy companies in Greater Philadelphia, 15 biopharmaceutical companies (focusing on their workforce or job openings for cell & gene therapy-related skills), and 12 contract manufacturing organizations. Represented are companies that were part of the 2019 analysis and companies that are new or have expanded since the first report.
“This report provides us with the data and the validation we need to focus on the things that matter – training and education of a diverse workforce to meet the needs, now and into the future, of the cell & gene therapy companies and contract manufacturing organizations that make their home in Greater Philadelphia,” said Saul Behar, General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the University City Science Center. “We have an enormous opportunity here to continue building a talent pipeline that reflects inclusive growth and prosperity.”
About Greater Philadelphia’s Cell and Gene Therapy Initiative:
The Chamber, through its CEO Council for Growth, along with collaborating institutions, organizations, and companies, has launched a multi-year initiative to leverage and promote Greater Philadelphia’s cell & gene therapy, gene editing, and connected health sectors. The objective of the initiative is to strengthen the region’s innovation economy through efforts including shared storytelling that builds awareness of the region’s assets, providing resources to startup and scaling companies, assessing the talent needs of the sectors, and supporting the development of critical infrastructure for the sector’s growth. The initiative is supported by 11 partner companies, institutions, and universities in the Greater Philadelphia region. For more information, visit http://www.ceocouncilforgrowth.com.
About the Science Center:
The University City Science Center is Philadelphia’s premier catalyst of entrepreneurial activity, healthcare innovation, and economic growth. Established in 1963, the nonprofit has been recognized by The Brookings Institution as a best-in-class investor, mentor, and economic development partner for young technology companies. Working alongside industry partners and leading research and academic institutions across the globe, the Science Center has supported over 1,000 early-stage companies. Today, the organization advances healthcare innovation from idea to the marketplace through startup support services and building inclusive STEM pathways for Philadelphia youth and adults.