How well paid are biotech employees?

Every year FierceBiotech looks at the top regions for biotech--those areas of the country and world that are doing the most to attract biotech jobs. State officials and politicians constantly compete with each other to attract these high-paying, high quality jobs. But Luke Timmerman of Xconomy asks an intriguing question: do biotech workers really get paid as much as we think?

Using the example of Washington state, he points to discrepancies between the number cited by state officials--an average salary of $81,499 in 2006--and another study which points to a median salary of $60,000 in 2008. That figure was calculated by Phil Ness, the owner of Seattle-based Info.Resource, who came to that number by examining the salary ranges for open biotech positions, primarily in Washington. He also found that different jobs can attract vastly different pay scales. For instance, the going rate for a clinical research associate is $69,278, while a research associate would fetch just $47,500. State officials may be touting high-paying jobs, but the reality is the rate of pay could be much lower depending on the type of job in question.

Admittedly, the data is limited to a certain area of the country, and salaries in other larger biotech clusters could be higher. But it's possible that the high salaries of biotech CEOs and existing employees are falsely inflating the projected salaries of newly-created jobs.

- read this article for more on Ness's findings and methodology