New report outlines health and life sciences talent dynamics in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., May 12, 2016— Indiana’s vibrant health and life sciences industry is generating significant high quality job opportunities and job growth across a range of skill levels, playing a critical role in Indiana’s ability to innovate and be globally competitive. According to a new report from TEConomy Partners, with support from Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, Indiana’s Heath and Life Sciences Talent and Workforce: Developing Strategies to Compete in a Global Economy, the health and life sciences industry*, has experienced job growth of over 22 percent since 2001, outpacing the rest of the U.S., and accounting for one of every ten private sector jobs in Indiana (a total of 265,000 jobs). The average wage for these jobs is $70,000 (the life sciences sector alone has average wages of almost $97,000).

Not only are there job gains, but they range across broad skill levels and demonstrate diverse job opportunities. The growth in these occupations spans from lower skilled production to middle-skilled technicians and allied health workers to high skilled scientist, engineers and high-level healthcare workers. And, wages for these jobs are above the overall average wages in Indiana.

This strong job growth in health and life sciences occupations is fueling Indiana’s ability to innovate and be competitive on the global scale. For scientists and engineers employed in the health and life sciences industry, the growth has been robust, growing 53 percent and 34 percent respectively from 2010 to 2014, more than double the national growth rates for each occupation.

But, the ratio between job openings and workers is unbalanced. While demand is strong and continues to grow, there are capacity challenges to meet the needs of industry for health and life sciences workers due to several talent supply pressures: pending retirements pose a broad concern across production, nursing and scientific jobs; changing demands in healthcare delivery cause a refinement in the occupational mix necessary to deliver healthcare; rising use of information technology demands increased data sciences skills; and national competition only intensifies for higher skilled health and life sciences occupations.

“As the most research and development-intensive sector of our economy, the growth of health and life sciences depends upon talent,” David L. Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads, said. “These sectors are two of the most critical economic impact drivers in the state, so it is imperative that we bolster efforts to develop, upgrade, retain and attract talent with Indiana stakeholders in public-private partnerships involving the State, our universities, industry, and our philanthropic community.”

The report recommends four strategic priorities to address the challenges in the talent pipeline:

  1. Ensuring a strong foundation of STEM skills for K-12
    • Strong STEM skills are required across the full range of opportunities in the health and life sciences fields.
  2. Fostering post-secondary health and life sciences talent generation
    • For many healthcare occupations, the demand for new workers is outstripping the number of graduates being generated in Indiana (i.e. nurses)
    • An increase in the number of in-state students pursuing engineering and IT degrees would help reduce the imbalance
  3. Upgrading the skills of Indiana’s incumbent health and life sciences workforce
    • For example, more technical skills upgrades are needed in informatics-related jobs; clinical trials management, and insurance reimbursement positions
  4. Raising Indiana’s ability to attract and retain top health and life sciences talent inside and outside the state.
    • 33 percent of in-state biologic science graduates (and 6 percent of out-of-state graduates) work in Indiana;
    • 38 percent of in-state engineering graduates ( and 6 percent of out-of-state graduates) work in Indiana;
    • 49 percent of in-state computer and information sciences graduates (and 5 percent out-of-state graduates) work in Indiana;
    • 60 percent of in-state healthcare degree fields (and 10 percent of out-of-state graduates) work in Indiana.

“While we aren’t currently keeping the number of STEM graduates in-state that we should be, there is a tremendous opportunity to make stronger links between graduating students and employers with openings right here in their backyard. In addition, our place-making efforts at the 16 Tech innovation district will provide a unique hub to attract, retain and grow our recent grads and other creative talent,” Johnson said.

The full report, Indiana’s Heath and Life Sciences Talent and Workforce: Developing Strategies to Compete in a Global Economy, is available at, BioCrossroads’ Web site for reports and educational information.

About BioCrossroads
BioCrossroads advances Indiana’s signature strengths in biotechnology and the life sciences by connecting with corporate, academic and philanthropic partners; facilitating investments in promising start ups and building new enterprises; and educating through conferences, reports and market development knowledge. The initiative supports the region’s existing research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development and forming new enterprises, including the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, Indiana Health Information Exchange, BioCrossroadsLINX, OrthoWorx, and Datalys Center. Visit

*For this report, life sciences includes biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and agbiosciences, and health services/sciences spans hospitals, outpatient centers, medical and diagnostic labs, home healthcare services and nursing and residential care facilities.