Talent to Industry Exchange

Life Sciences


The Talent-to-Industry Exchange (TIE) concept was introduced in 2016 as a way to improve the labor supply in key industry sectors, growing the human capital necessary to attract and retain companies in the Kansas City region.


This strategy was put forward as a KC Rising pilot project to address the alignment of the region’s education pipeline with workforce needs in specific industries. Each industry-specific TIE includes (1) a detailed economic and labor analysis; (2) an educational asset inventory; (3) business engagement through surveys and facilitated discussions; and (4) an action plan and timeline for implementation. Read the TIE Life Sciences report »


Employment Trends

The KCALSI census surveys individual firms. To evaluate longer-term trends requires using data for the 23 industries in which those firms operate. Most are part of the large professional, scientific and technical services sector.


Life science industries in the Kansas City metropolitan area grew by nearly 15,000 jobs from 2001–2016, adding about 1,000 jobs per year to the area’s economy. As a result, these industries are growing 10 times faster than the metropolitan average. While life science industries were not immune to the impact of the Great Recession, they rebounded much more quickly and by 2011 had achieved their pre-recession employment peak — a feat that took three more years for the Kansas City area economy as a whole. About two-thirds of the growth in life science industries, or about 42 percent, has occurred since the recession.


This acceleration of the region’s employment growth in life science industries is readily apparent when compared to national trends for those same industries. Since 2001, U.S. employment in life sciences has grown about 2 percent per year, or 30 percent over the 2001-2016 period. Between 2001 and 2010, life sciences employment in the Kansas City area grew at a pace only a little faster than the U.S., but since 2010 has grown nearly twice as fast.


Source: Jobs EQ


Fastest Growing Occupations by Concentration

The employment forecast below is based on our historical trend, part of which includes the Great Recession. As a result, these demand numbers are expected to be conservative. Some of the fastest growth in life science manufacturing occupations over the next few years will occur in entry-level positions that require only high school or some college, while most fast-growing jobs in bioinformatics and research and development require at least a bachelor’s degree. (Only the top 10 occupations by current life science industry employment are shown for each concentration.)




Wage Analysis

KC area life science jobs are high paying compared to all jobs in the MSA, but below average compared to the US and right in the middle of our 30 peer metros.


In each individual concentration — bioinformatics, manufacturing, and research and development — the Kansas City region ranks below the halfway mark, as shown on the following page. But since 64 percent of the region’s life sciences jobs are in the higher-paying bioinformatics field, Kansas City places 16th in average wages when all three concentrations are combined.









Source: Jobs EQ