Jun 9, 2021


by Sharon Crawford

Invest in your People, Invest in your Future: The Evolving Science & Tech Workforce

The Science and Technology industry is ever-changing and so is its workforce. How will North Carolina’s Triangle Region respond to this evolving and growing industry? 

Our dedicated Science & Tech team recently hosted a webinar featuring panelists from economic development, higher education and Science & Tech Industries that have made big announcements and investments in the last two years. If you were unable to attend, you can view the webinar recording here or you can review the highlights below:

  1. Science & Tech organizations consider the following as among the top key factors to success: Talent, Speed to Market and Sustainability. Talent is at the forefront with a need for Science & Tech organizations to attract and retain the best employees – ranging in diverse backgrounds and expertise as this diversity provides a necessary competitive advantage. Speed to market with renovated or newly built workplaces/labs also remains critical as the growing Science & Tech industry continues to grow its infrastructure. And, a strategic advantage and asset – now and in the future – is a commitment to corporate sustainability initiatives. One example is the B Corp Clinic at NCSU, a multi-school collaborative program that has helped NC companies strengthen their social and environmental impact. 
  2. The Triangle area is resource rich with 12 Community College and University systems:  “A melting pot of genius”.  The challenge is how to navigate the vast resources. Meaningful connections can be made through partnerships with educational institutions as they provide job training, incentive packages, new biotech degree assistance, and even high school pathways. The process is not competitive, but each partnership is unique in giving confidence to the industry as it continues to grow.  
  3. According to Motley Fool reviews, preparation in the Science field is multi-disciplinary with clinical researchers, automation engineers, software developers, operational management, data visualization, and robotics. People management and process management roles are in high demand.
  4. As the Science and Tech industry advances, scalability will be required. GRAIL, Inc. builds their revenue model around 80% productivity, leaving time to educate and train. A full employee journey is the goal at GRAIL with ERG (equal representative groups), or ESG (environmental social governance) at FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB).  The industry is passionate about laboratory representation and creating a pathway of opportunities from high school, through college, into the workforce, and beyond.  NCCU’s BRITE Institute research and training program develops young STEM students by supporting the growth of the NC life science industry.
  5. Company culture, design of space, and overall employee experience are also important. A competitive market requires competitive salaries and benefits, workplace amenities and community engagement. To maintain efficiencies, employee retention is just as crucial as talent acquisition.
  6. With fast growth in this industry comes infrastructure pain points. For example, the housing market is currently tight, but there is a lot of local development in progress. The Triangle region is also investing in transit and highway improvements. A somewhat surprising need is water and sewer solutions, which is vital to the life science industry.
  7. To stay ahead, we must never become complacent, and continue to push housing, education, infrastructure, and partnerships. Successful collaboration and communication are central to a Science and Tech organization’s advantage.  It’s about bringing community, convention, and conferences as well as outreach in order to improve and innovate.  Dr. Scott Ralls, President of Wake Tech Community College, summed it up succinctly “We are a successful magnet, but we need to be a ladder such that everybody has a shot at all jobs.”


Sharon Crawford

Sharon Crawford is the Workplace Interiors Studio Principal in Little’s Durham office. With over 30 years of experience, Sharon’s passion and motivation centers on building client relationships, teamwork, and high-quality design. She has worked on award winning projects throughout the Triangle region and beyond. She's known for sporting the coolest sneakers in and outside the office. When she's not in the baseball stands cheering on her son, Sharon can be found snow skiing, enjoying local artwork, or sipping on an iced tea.

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