In this July 13, 2016, file photo, a woman walks toward the main entrance of The Jackson Laboratory. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

For the second time in five years, the Jackson Laboratory is raising base pay for its workers, this time to $18 an hour.

Chief Operating Officer Katy Longley said the pay hike should help recruitment and retention of animal-care and other workers in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

“We want to stay ahead of the market and we want to stay competitive and not lag. Over 51 percent of our workforce are frontline workers, and we’re obviously indebted to them for the success of the lab,” Longley said.

Longley said there are about 70 vacancies at the company’s Maine locations, and more than 100 openings at facilities in Connecticut and California.

She said Jackson Lab has been subject to the same pandemic-induced employment squeeze as other U.S. employers, due in part to the boost in federal unemployment benefits. But she said even without those dynamics, the pay hike was in the works.

The Mount Desert Island-based company supplies genetically tailored mice to the international scientific community.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.