As the number of life sciences jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region grows, an increasing number of those jobs are being held by women, according to data the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia analyzed from Lightcast, a global labor market data and analytics company. Over the past decade, Philadelphia has seen a 12% increase in women working in life sciences occupations compared  to 8.6% growth for men (Lightcast’s Historical Demographics by Occupation, 2023), including growth in cell and gene therapy roles. The uptick is reflected across professions, including biochemists and biophysicists, medical scientists, biological scientists, and biological technicians.

Lightcast also reports approximately 4,000 more women than men in key occupations at life sciences companies in Philadelphia. One category the data references as an example is the professions of biochemists and biophysicists. According to the data, since 2012, this occupation category in total has grown by 1,064 jobs, reflecting an increase of 78% over the past ten years. Many of these jobs, which are high-salaried and higher-educated roles, have been filled by women. We can point to Lightcast’s data, which captures a two-decade window of 2001 to 2022, and states the number of women working as biochemists and biophysicists has increased by 854 jobs, compared to 662 jobs for men. In other words, the data reflects 29% more job growth for women in these roles.

Consider a few more examples for the Greater Philadelphia region:

  • Medical scientists (except epidemiologists) – There are 655 more women working in this category than men. From 2001 to 2022, women as a share of “medical scientists (except epidemiologists)” increased by 5%, equating to 842 jobs. This compares to a growth of 348 jobs for men, indicating there has been 59% more job growth for women. This is another high-salaried, higher-educated role.
  • Biological scientists – This category has seen an increase of 870 jobs since 2012. In that time, the number of women working as biological scientists increased by 273%.
  • Biological scientists, all other – Women comprised 51% of the workforce in this group in 2022, compared to 47% in 2001.
  • Biological technicians – This field has grown by 1,862 jobs since 2012. The occupation has seen an 87% increase in women working as biological technicians in that timeframe.

Ensuring a strong, diverse, and inclusive talent pool in Greater Philadelphia

“Research such as that found in the Lightcast report is informing the actions of the Greater Philadelphia Life Science Talent Pipeline Collaborative, an employer-led group convened by the Chamber,” said Sarah Steltz, Vice President of Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber. The group, formed in 2019, includes cell and gene therapy companies and academic research labs working together to ensure a strong and diverse talent pool for the future.

“Now, the job of the Chamber and the Collaborative is to understand and articulate the attributes that are creating a great environment for women in the industry in the Greater Philadelphia market, and share those stories as we work together to build the workforce and welcome women to be a leading part of it,” Steltz said.

One place where the stories from women working in life sciences in the region are being shared is through the Chamber’s Discovery Starts with Me video series. Through the series, you can learn about the collaboration, connectivity, and mentorship women have found in the region’s life sciences ecosystem, and how these attributes have aided them in their careers.

The Chamber has also developed a job search tool on its Select Greater Philadelphia website where you can explore job openings for life sciences in the Greater Philadelphia region, including opportunities in cell and gene therapy. You can access the job search tool here.

Photo courtesy of: Center for Breakthrough Medicines. CFBM, located in Greater Philadelphia, is a cell and gene therapy focused CDMO providing development, testing and manufacturing services for lifesaving therapies.