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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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June 18, 2010

Chemistry Employment in New England?

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Posted by Derek

Linda Wang at C&E News tells me that she's looking for recent graduates in the New England area for a story she's working on about the current job-search conditions.

She'd be interested in hearing from recent grads who have managed to find positions, those who are currently looking, as well as those who are technically working but underemployed. Her e-mail (de-spamified) is l-underscore-wang-at-acs-dot-org, or you can call her at 202-872-4579.

Comments (12) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. InfMP on June 18, 2010 5:50 PM writes...

I can't figure out whether finding a job is easier as a recent graduate or an experienced industrial chemist.
Opinions seem to differ and everyone always says its easier to be what they are not.

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2. YoungKemist on June 19, 2010 12:16 AM writes...

After starting work at a large pharma company these past few weeks, the people I've met are just barely reaching the five year mark. However, there are not many beyond that in the labs. Management has been there longer of course. But it looks like it's easier to get a bench job in the 1-5yrs experience range. But after that, it seems to get difficult to survive layoffs. Up or out.

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3. anon on June 19, 2010 12:28 PM writes...

Recent grads are probably worse off at the BS/MS level than someone with 1-5 years of industrial experience, since companies would rather hire many co-op students instead of a FTE. About half of the people working at the bench in our group are co-ops, for example. The 1-5 year experience mark chemist is competent enough to not require alot of supervision and can supervise the co-ops (a basic job requirement for all of us who work at the bench now). Those of us who were hired over the last few years were all replacements for people who had left the company, and they aren't hiring any more chemists in our group unless they dip below what they consider as critical mass.

It is a rough time to be a chemist at any level, with layoffs threatening at many companies and constant uncertainty during the "stable" times while you wait to see if the other shoe is going to suddenly drop.

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4. Chemjobber on June 19, 2010 3:11 PM writes...

I've been seeing ads for folks with 3-5 years industrial experience, mostly. Not so many of the 0-3 years experience ads, really.

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5. Jesus on June 19, 2010 8:53 PM writes...

"Linda Wang"

Has the ACS outsourced its writers of outsourcing articles to China? I'm sure she'll be fair and balanced.


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6. SP on June 20, 2010 1:07 PM writes...

"Linda Wang, Associate Editor- Education: B.S. Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison; M.S., Science and Technology Journalism, Texas A&M, College Station."
I'm sure the market is pretty bad for racists, too, Jesus.

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7. Anonymous on June 20, 2010 9:00 PM writes...

I'd say it's probably easier for the experienced people even though more of the available jobs are at or near entry level - when I first got out of school, I wasted a lot of effort sending resumes to "chemical companies" that were either just reselling stuff or banging out commodity products with no R&D. Last time I was unemployed, I was overqualified for a lot of jobs, but a heck of a lot savvier about this kind of thing.

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8. fred on June 20, 2010 10:30 PM writes...

I can't speak to the greater market, but the Pfizer plan is to punt anybody over about 40 out the door, keeping the green chemists.

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9. Anonymous on June 21, 2010 2:23 AM writes...

Is this going to be as a balanced as the article they ran a couple of issues back where outsourcing was cited as being the bright spot for UK chemistry R&D ? I particularly enjoyed the comment from one recruiter pointing out how they were able to "exploit" the current market conditions. Perhaps it would be a good idea for C&EN to consider i) the erosion of pay and working conditions for chemists in the US/UK as chemistry is outsourced ii) the environmental, health and safety conditions we are competing against in Chindia (how many injuries have there been in CROs contracted to big pharma in the last year ?)

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10. Shamus Mcgee on June 21, 2010 11:17 AM writes...

Here's a portrait of So. Cal employment.

Amylin lays off 60 for efficiency purposes (executives need bigger bonuses to become efficient).

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11. Leo on June 22, 2010 10:42 AM writes...

I'm in the mid-Atlantic region, and we've certainly experienced signifant layoffs in the local pharmaceutical companies, big and small, lately. Among those who are now looking for a job, younger people with less experience (and lower salaries) are finding positions much more quickly than the more experienced chemists.

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12. Anonymous on June 23, 2010 2:14 PM writes...

"Among those who are now looking for a job, younger people with less experience (and lower salaries) are finding positions much more quickly than the more experienced chemists."

In the UK it's generally the 30-40 year olds who are gettting the jobs but only if they're prepared to work for the pay of a newly qualified grad -US $30,000 is a good benchmark right now for a post-doc organic chemist with 5-10 years experience.

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