Denver-Boulder Ranks in the Top 25 Markets for Life Sciences Talent

Denver-Boulder ranks in the top 25 markets for life sciences talent in all three industry segments measured in CBRE’s annual U.S. Life Sciences Talent Trends report. The market ranked 11th for Research and Development talent while ranking 16th for manufacturing talent and 18th for medtech talent.

The report analyzes life sciences employment by subsector, mapping out the top markets and employment trends across the research & development, manufacturing and medical technology fields. CBRE also expanded its third-annual analysis to 100 U.S. markets from 74 in last year’s report, thus including up-and-coming markets such as Madison, Wis., and Trenton, N.J.

“Denver-Boulder has one of the most educated populations in the U.S.,” said CBRE’s Erik Abrahamson, a vice president with CBRE’s Life Sciences group in Boulder. “The life sciences ecosystem continues to grow in the Front Range, with a heavy emphasis in the chemistry and RNA therapy sectors.”

Denver-Boulder produced the 15th highest number of graduates in the 2022 academic year with a degree in life sciences. There were more specialty biological and biomedical degrees awarded than just general biology degrees, pointing to a highly specialized graduating class.

It’s not just the Denver-Boulder area that has a booming life sciences talent market in the state, Fort Collins was noted as an emerging market as well. In 2023, there was $51 million in NIH funding that came into the market. Fort Collins has placed in the top 50 markets for producing biological and biomedical sciences graduates in 2022, in part due to Colorado State University.

“Veterinary and agricultural focused occupations are the most prominent in the Fort Collins life sciences market layout,” Abrahamson added. “The Colorado life sciences talent pipeline has strengthened in the past year, with Fort Collins ranking within the top 50 markets for producing life sciences graduates without being a top 100 market measured in CBRE’s report.”

Research & Development

Denver-Boulder ranks as the 11th market in the U.S. for BioPharma Research and Development talent, boasting a marketwide talent pool of 12,450. The top professions in this industry in Denver are Data Scientists (4,960), Biological Technicians (2,240) and Medical Scientists, except Epidemiologists (2,020).

Along with this, Fort Collins ranks No. 1 in BioPharma Research and Development jobs of markets outside of the top 100, tying with Charlottesville, VA. 


The life sciences manufacturing subsector in Denver-Boulder, which includes drug manufacturing as well as cell and gene therapy, has a talent pool of 12,060 workers currently in the market and is ranked 16th overall. Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers account for almost a quarter of these occupations with 2,950 marketwide.


The talent pool in Denver-Boulder’s Medtech subsector is 13,450, which includes designing and producing medical devices. Industrial Engineers lead this count with 3,510 workers, with Electrical, Electronic and Electromechanical Assemblers (except Coil Winders, Tapers and Finishers) coming in second at 3,240. 

“The overall theme for the U.S. life sciences industry last year and this year is resiliency,” said Matt Gardner, CBRE Americas Life Sciences Leader. “We expect life sciences employment to hold steady over the next year and to perhaps decline in a few markets. But this talent is valuable – life sciences specialists who leave one job often find another quickly.”

CBRE evaluated the largest 100 U.S. life sciences labor markets against multiple criteria for each of the three specialties. For the R&D subsector, that included the number and concentration of life sciences researchers; number of new graduates, and specifically with doctorate degrees in that field; concentration of all doctorate degree holders; and concentration of jobs in the broader professional, scientific, and technical services professions.

To read the full report, click here.

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