Biotech Companies Provide High Median Salaries, Analysis Shows

For young people looking to find a career path, the pharmaceutical industry is a good one to go into, especially if salary is a major concern.

A recent analysis from the Wall Street Journal highlighted some of the best-paying jobs in the biotech industry. At the top of the list of companies offering impressive compensation packages is New Jersey-based Celgene. According to the analysis, Celgene had the highest-paid median employee in the sector with annual compensation of $263,237. Celgene, which makes the blockbuster cancer drug Revlimid, was acquired earlier this year by Bristol-Myers Squibb for $74 billion. According to PayScale, the average salary at BMS is $102,000.

The Journal’s analysis ranks Boston-based Vertex as the number two company for best median compensation. Vertex, which dominates the cystic fibrosis market, provides a median salary of $232,178.

Incyte Corporation came in at number three on the list with a median salary of $228,006. A company spokesperson told the Journal that the bulk of Incyte’s 1,400 employees work in research and development. Incyte does not have a manufacturing operation, which typically provides lower salaries than R&D work, which has higher educational requirements.

The Journal noted that most publicly traded U.S. companies are now disclosing their median employee compensation, as well as compensation for its executives. Part of that disclosure includes part-time and temporary workers, but not contractors, the Journal said. In the compensation reports, companies can exclude up to 5 percent of their global employee pay, but only for non-U.S. workers, the Journal reported. The high pay provided to U.S. employees would not necessarily be reflected in other countries. For example, the Journal noted that medtech company Align Technology Inc. provided the lowest median pay of $13,180. That is primarily due to the fact that only 1,400 of its 11,700 employees are based in the U.S. A spokeswoman for Align told the Journal that 60 percent of its employees have manufacturing jobs in lower-wage regions such as Latin America and China. The spokesperson added that Align believes its overall compensation is competitive within each region.

Earlier this year, BioSpace reported that drugmaker Alexion rewarded its employees with a pretty significant salary as well. Since moving to Boston from Connecticut, the company’s median salary has jumped. Since the move, the median compensation for employees has jumped to nearly $224,000. Alexion disclosed the salary information in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. – Biospace

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