Employment & Economic Stimulus

Making an Economic Impact as the City’s Second-Largest Employer

Those who recognize UCSF’s value as a top hospital, university or research center may not realize the economic might that those activities bring to the region. But a new economic impact report cites UCSF’s vital role as a major employer.

With 21,900 employees, UCSF is San Francisco’s second-largest employer (behind only the city and county itself) and the Bay Area’s fifth-largest. These jobs span the professional spectrum in growing areas of the economy. More than half of these employees live in San Francisco, keeping their salaries and investments in the city.

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Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH

UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, congratulated UCSF campus employees for serving 10 years or more during a reception on April 8. With 21,903 jobs, UCSF is the second largest employer in San Francisco and fifth largest in the nine-county Bay Area. Photo by Susan Merrell.

  • 39,134: Number of Bay Area jobs generated by UCSF
  • 5.6 percent: UCSF’s share of San Francisco’s employment, more than the city’s entire financial services industry
  • 53 percent: Share of UCSF’s employees who live in San Francisco, contributing to the local economy
  • 21,903: Number of UCSF jobs
    • Managers and senior professionals: 1,540
    • Academic employees: 5,698
    • Professional and support staff: 14,665  

When including indirect jobs, such as those providing goods and services to employees, UCSF is responsible for 30,300 jobs, or 5.6 percent of the total San Francisco employment. By comparison, the entire financial services industry — one of San Francisco’s oldest and largest sectors — comprises 5 percent of all city employment, effectively making UCSF an industry unto itself.

While UCSF’s total budget was $3.3 billion in 2009, the University generated almost twice that amount when including its operations, salaries, construction and student spending. By that measure, UCSF’s total economic output in the Bay Area was $6.2 billion.

And while cities often talk about the cost of services they provide to tax-exempt public and nonprofit institutions, UCSF actually generates $4.9 million in direct revenues to the city of San Francisco’s general fund, for a positive net impact of more than $720,000. That does not count the intangible benefits that UCSF brings, such as biotech companies locating in San Francisco to be near UCSF, or the more than 90 biomedical companies spun off or started by UCSF researchers.

As a good neighbor at its new Mission Bay campus, UCSF has committed to paying for $60 million worth of public improvements to and maintenance of streets, utilities and open space, and has so far contributed $4.1 million to San Francisco for maintenance of open space and infrastructure.

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The new hospital complex planned for Mission Bay will continue to spur the local economy, as the rest of the Mission Bay campus is doing already. The hospital complex will bring as many as 2,000 jobs to the area, and many more patients and their families.

“In 10 years, we’re not going to recognize that place,” says UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret. “It’s already so vibrant. It’s going to sizzle. If I ran a company, I’d want my headquarters there. This will be good for San Francisco.”

And the jobs will be of a highly skilled variety, Laret says. “Not just doctors and nurses, but pharmacists, radiology technicians, IT professionals, and on and on,” he says. “This place brings in more of a senior and better paid workforce that benefits the city and the Bay Area.”

UCSF cements San Francisco’s status as the nation’s biotech capital, spawning and attracting start-ups and major employers who want the advantage of being neighbors of this leading life sciences research and medical facility.

“The US workforce, moving forward, is going to depend on a different workforce base, with the kind of jobs created at UCSF,” says Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, UCSF executive vice chancellor and provost.