The Workforce We Support

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In 2023, NIH continued to hire candidates that represent the diverse range of professions to support biomedical research and the health and well-being of people across the globe.

The NIH Workforce

Occupations were classified into the three workforce categories based on their occupational series and position title.


Occupations that directly lead or conduct basic or clinical research at the NIH or provide scientific oversight for extramural research. Examples of occupations classified as Scientific include, but are not limited to, biologists, chemists, health scientific administrators and medical officers.

Health and Research

Occupations that directly support the basic and clinical research conducted at NIH. Many of these occupations are allied health professions. Examples of occupations classified as Health and Research Related include, but are not limited to, nurses, pharmacists, biological lab technicians, and patient care technicians.


Infrastructure occupations include all occupations not classified as Scientific or Health and Research Related. These occupations undergird the scientific enterprise. Examples of occupations classified as Infrastructure include, but are not limited to, accountants, engineers, secretaries and program analysts.

NIH Total Headcount
Category Percentage
Scientific 49%
Infrastructure 40%
Health and Research 11%

OHR supports the NIH workforce through the delivery of over 70 services and it’s important the OHR workforce continues to grow with the NIH workforce.

  •    +3.8% 
    NIH Workforce Growth in 2023*
  • +10.1% 
    OHR Workforce Growth in 2023*

* First time reported this year. 

NIH Workforce Demographics

The following illustrations provide a snapshot into our workforce demographics in 2023. We use this information and related data to measure developmental progress over time.

Self-identified Race Percentage of Workforce
White 51.32%
Asian 20.74%
Black or African American 20.54%
Hispanic or Latino 5.17%
Two or more race groups 1.42%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0.7%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0.11%

Note: Data for employees represented in this reporting are self-identified; those classified in the five racial groups and two or more race group are all non-Hispanic or non-Latino. Hispanic or Latino employees are included in that category regardless of their race selection(s). To maintain confidentiality and protect individual identification from deductive disclosure risk, values of less than four are suppressed for reporting purposes. Total calculations shown may not match that derived from detailed data presented due to rounding.

Gender Percentage of Workforce
Female 60.5%
Male 39.5%

Since 2022, NIH has increased in:

  • +1.0% 
    Hiring women
  • +0.7% 
    Asian populations
  • +1.1% 
    Hispanic or Latino
  • +0.4% 
    Individuals that identify as two or more race group

NIH employees self-report disability status and this information helps us further understand and support the needs of our workforce.

In 2023, 12.7% of employees self-identified as having a targeted or non-targeted disability.

Disability Type Percentage
Non-Targeted Disability 10.3%
Targeted Disablity 2.4%

Non-Targeted Disability

Employee reports some type of disability.

Targeted Disability

This is a subset of a reportable disability which includes severe disabilities such as total blindness, deafness, and missing extremities.

Positions Supported by OHR

OHR provides full support over the course of the employee lifecycle to 12 of 17 different types of positions at the NIH.

A diverse illustrated group of 14 people
  • Title 5 - GS
  • Title 5 - WG
  • Title 38
  • SES, SL, Title 42 Executive
  • Staff/Senior Clinical or Scientist
  • Commissioned Corps
  • Clinical or Research Fellow
  • SSO or SPL-2
  • Tenure Track & Tenured Investigator
  • Senior Biomedical Research Service
  • Title 42 Undergrad Scholarship Program (UGSP)
  • Summer Intern
A diverse illustrated group of 8 people
  • Contractors
  • Visiting Fellow
  • Guest Research
  • Volunteer & Special Volunteer

** The NIH Civil Program supports contractors and other non-FTE staff.

Distributed Workforce

The NIH has six main research campus in the continental United States as indicated by pin drops below in Maryland, North Carolina, Montana, and Arizona.

Maryland: 3 locations

Montana: 1 location

Arizona: 1 location

North Carolina: 1 location

OHR hires and services employees geographically dispersed across the United States ensuring our workforce includes members of underrepresented communities as a result of increased remote work opportunities in the Federal Government.

State NIH Staff
Maryland 16857
North Carolina 721
Virginia 317
Montana 246
District Of Columbia 143
Florida 96
Arizona 77
California 76
Pennsylvania 75
Texas 75
Georgia 61
New York 48
Massachusetts 47
West Virginia 47
Colorado 37
New Jersey 36
Illinois 30
Michigan 26
Ohio 25
Washington 24
Connecticut 21
Louisiana 20
Alabama 18
Tennessee 18
South Carolina 17
Missouri 13
Kansas 12
Kentucky 10
Minnesota 10
Oregon 10
Delaware 9
Indiana 8
Utah 8
New Mexico 7
Maine 6
Nevada 6
Iowa 5
Mississippi 5
New Hampshire 5
Rhode Island 5
Wisconsin 5
Arkansas 4
Hawaii 4
Vermont 3
Wyoming 3
Idaho 2
Oklahoma 2
Puerto Rico 2
Alaska 1
Nebraska 1
North Dakota 0
South Dakota 0

Did You Know: NIH’s research expands well beyond the beltway. NIH provides grant funding across the United States furthering the reach of our research.

Workforce Planning

OHR’s role in supporting employees throughout the entire employee lifecycle expands beyond recruitment and onboarding. OHR works closely with the Institutes and Centers to understand their workforce needs as they continue to change and evolve. Retirement eligibility data helps the NIH prepare for the future and allows OHR to proactively recruit and retain a highly skilled and diverse workforce.

  • 11.3 
    Average Number of Years at NIH

    Decrease of 0.3 years since 2022

  • 6.4 
    Average Number of Years Past Retirement Eligibility

    No change since 2022

  • 20.2% 
    NIH Workforce Eligible to Retire Now

    Decrease of 0.8% since 2022

  • 35.9% 
    NIH Workforce Eligible to Retire in 5 Years

    Decrease of 1.1% since 2022

Workforce data shows that even though staff are technically eligible to retire, it is not unusual for NIH employees to stay past their eligibility date. In fact, approximately one-third of NIH employees who can retire now have been eligible for retirement for over 6.4 years, which is the average timing for all NIH actual retirements over the past 10 years. This chart shows the average years past retirement eligibility for each workforce category.

Group Years past initial eligibility
Scientific 7.3 years
Infrastructure 5.7 years
Health and Research 5.1 years
Average of all groups 6.4 years

20,474 NIH Total Headcount

Scientific Infrastructure Health and Research
49% 40% 11%

3,976 Eligible to Retire Now

Scientific Infrastructure Health and Research
55% 37% 8%

Of those Eligible to Retire Now (above), 55% are scientific, 37% are infrastructure, and 8% are health and research. The categories shift slightly for those Eligible to Retire over 5 Years (below) to 52% scientific, 29% infrastructure, and 9% health and science. This chart represents the cumulative number of staff eligible to retire over the next 5 years. Both data points are projections based on retirement eligibility data and are in line with typical attrition for the NIH.

7,081 Eligible to Retire Over the Next 5 Years

OHR leverages all of our available workforce data to support workforce planning for our Institute and Center (IC) customers. Retirement eligibility data, as well as many other data points, allow OHR and the NIH to ensure we continue to build and support the workforce necessary to support the mission of the NIH.

Note: All data as of 01/01/24