Friday, July 1, 2022

Have a good weekend


Well, this was quite a week! I had a lot of fun, and I worked pretty hard, and managed to travel the length of the country. I hope that you had as good of a week as I, and I hope that you have a wonderful Independence Day weekend. We'll see you on Tuesday. 

A minor tech rant

I have a Lenovo T480s, and I like it a lot. It has been with me across the country and around the world, and it has treated me well over the years. Recently, it has displayed some problematic charging issues (especially after a Windows 11 "upgrade") and it's also had some difficulties starting. It will hang on the "Lenovo" boot screen. 

That instability is going to drive me to purchase a new laptop, and probably another Lenovo. It's the price of doing business, and one that I will begrudgingly pay. 

What I don't understand is how difficult it has been to find fixes to some of the problems I have experienced, and how I seem to be reliant/I am resorting to searching Reddit threads to see if someone else has run into this problem. Even the various user forums sometimes are no match for the bajillion copycat websites attempting to Get My Clicks when I type "Lenovo t480s charging problems Windows 11" into Google. 

(For that record, Google is not what it used to be, and I feel like I need to start using quote marks more and more to avoid stupid ridiculous helpful AI-driven suggestions for my search terms. I quail to think about the difficulty of migrating my email and blogs away from Google/Alphabet in my dotage...) 

Well, that's enough ranting. I wish I knew what to do other than fork over another $1600....

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Swiss newspaper: Novartis to layoff 8000 globally, 1400 cuts to come in Switzerland

Via FiercePharma: 

For months, Novartis has hinted at layoffs coming for some of its global staff. Now, the news has come down from HQ.

Novartis is laying off around 8,000 of its 108,000 staff worldwide in a bid to save $1 billion, the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger was the first to report. A spokesperson for the company confirmed the move on Tuesday.

The news comes as Novartis works to merge its oncology and pharmaceuticals departments into a singular innovative medicines unit. The move "will allow us to reduce duplications of business structures in every country," the company's spokesperson said.

The changes will make Novartis "leaner and simpler," so the company "intends to eliminate roles across the organization," he added.

Further, Novartis is combining its technical operations and customer and technology solutions units into a singular "operations" unit. The drugmaker is making progress on all of these changes and has appointed most of its leadership teams.

In Switzerland, Novartis is cutting up to 1,400 positions, the company's spokesperson said.

Hard to know if this is purely about Novartis, or the beginning of a larger trend. If I had to pick one, I would say it's more of a one-off than not, but who knows? 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

2022 Chemjobber Industrial Organic Starting Salary Survey results

I received 49 responses to the Survey of Industrial Organic Chemists and winnowed them down to three categories: 

Major pharma (13 respondents)
  • Geography: CA (4), PA (3), New Jersey (2)
  • Median respondent got 3 offers
  • Most indicated that on-campus interview or connections were most useful
  • Median number of applications: 10 applications (low of 2, high of 30)
  • Median salary: $117,500 (low of $105,000, high of $138,000)
CMO/chemical industry (13 respondents)
  • Geography: NJ, DE (2), TN, NE, CO (2), PA, NJ, MN, CT, TX, NY, OH
  • Median respondent got 1 offer
  • Web application was most useful for them 
  • Median number of applications: 20 applications (low of 4, high of 100)
  • Median salary: $95,000 (low of $52,000, high of $135,000)
Biotech new employees (17 respondents)
  • Geography: CA (5), MA (7) 
  • Median respondent got 1 offer
  • Web application was most useful for them 
  • Median number of applications: 23.5 applications (low of 1, high of 60)
  • Median salary: $121,000 (low of $95,000, high of $175,000)
Pretty interesting, but I wouldn't draw any major trends. More data to come from this, and more analysis. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 14 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 14 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

On June 29, 2021, the 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 16 research/teaching positions. On June 30, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 8 research/teaching positions and two teaching faculty positions. 

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

Job posting: NMR/XRD technologist, Department of Chemistry, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON

From the inbox: 
The technologist is responsible for the daily supervision and operational requirements in the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) laboratories. These facilities consist of a JEOL ECZ-400 MHz spectrometer and a Bruker AVANCE 300 MHz spectrometer, as well as a powder and a single crystal X-ray diffraction spectrometer.

The technologist is responsible for teaching faculty, staff and students in the operation of the NMR and XRD spectrometers and the safety precautions that must be adhered to in these laboratories. Proper sample handling and preparation techniques are also taught to ensure the maximize performance from the spectrometers.

The technologist offers both technical advice and guidance to students and research groups to help them choose the best experiments to use for their particular compound.

Full ad here. Deadline is July 4, 2022. Best wishes to all interested.  

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Monday, June 27, 2022

ACC survey of economic forecasters: mixed, but generally positive for 2023

Via the American Chemistry Council's Weekly Chemistry and Economic Trends report, this survey of economic forecasters: 
  • The outlook for 2022 continued to weaken with ongoing inflationary pressures, disruptions related to the  war in Ukraine, and aggressive tightening of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve.
  • Expectations into 2023 were also lower for many indicators compared to a month ago.
  • U.S. GDP is expected to grow by 2.6% in 2022 as the highest inflation in decades erodes spending and higher interest rates raise borrowing costs. In 2023, forecasters continue to expect the U.S. economy to grow by 1.8%, a pace below its long-term trend.
  • Consumer spending is expected to increase by 3.1% in 2022 before slowing further to a 1.7% gain in 2023.
  • Business fixed investment will be a larger contributor to GDP growth in 2022 with an expected 5.4% gain. In 2023, growth in business investment is expected to slow to a 3.1% Y/Y pace.
  • Industrial production is expected to rise 5.1% in 2022 (as manufacturing continues its momentum and oil & gas activity expands) and 1.9% in 2023.
  • With continued supply chain challenges for vehicle manufacturers, expectations for light vehicle sales were lowered again to 14.8 million in 2022 and rising to 16.1 million in 2023. 
  • Expectations for housing starts were the same compared to last month at 1.65 million in 2022 but lowered to 1.55 million in 2023. 
  • The unemployment rate is expected to average 3.6% in 2022 and 3.8% in 2023.
  • Inflation continues to accelerate through mid-year. Expectations for gains in consumer prices continued to grow compared to our mid-year outlook with forecasters looking for inflation of 7.6% in 2022, before easing to a 3.6% pace in 2023, as constraints ease. 
  • Compared to last month, expectations for interest rates (10-year Treasury) continued to move higher for 2022, as the Fed implements aggressive tightening. 
  • Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Covid lockdowns in China, forecasters have downgraded their expectations for the global economy. Global GDP is expected to rise by 3.2% in 2022 and 2023. Global industrial production, hampered by ongoing supply chain challenges in addition to the disruptions from Chinese lockdowns and the war in Ukraine, will rise 3.9% in 2022 and 3.6% in 2023.
  • In addition to ongoing supply chain challenges, slower growth in global GDP and industrial production will be reflected in softer projections for global trade. Following a 10.4% rebound in 2021, global trade volumes are expected to rise by 3.6% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023, both lower than previously expected. 
According to this, there is no prediction for a "technical" recession for 2022 or 2023 (i.e. two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth), this is broadly good news. Either way, I would continue to expect a slowing of hiring (i.e. less torrid than 2021), but still generally a good environment for job seekers. This will be important to watch, especially as the Fed continues to respond to inflation with additional (?) rate increases... 

Slowing in biotech investment

From economics blog Marginal Revolution, a statistic from the Financial Times: 
Just nine biotech companies have listed in the US this year, raising a total of $1bn, according to LifeSci Capital, a boutique investment bank. Almost 60 companies did so in the same period last year, tapping investors for $7.4bn.

 This corroborates what we've been seeing in the biotech media, including this recent article from FierceBiotech: 

The massive $15.9 billion haul for biopharma technology deals in 2021 was always going to be tough to beat, but dealmaking in 2022 is off at a snail's pace, with M&A, IPOs and fundraising all plummeting, according to a new report.

Funding for the world’s biopharma technology companies totaled $2.8 billion in the first quarter of the year, down 10%, according to CB Insights’ State of Biopharma Tech Q1’22 Report. This was the fourth consecutive quarter with a decline in deals, with just 66 signed for the months of January through March.

We already know that M&A has been slow—just ask anyone who came out of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January disappointed with the slew of licensing deals. But the CB Insights report has the details: There was a 60% drop in M&A exits in the first quarter, with just six recorded, compared to 15 in the fourth quarter of 2021.

I imagine this will not really affect hiring per se, but it may slow down some of the wage growth that we're seeing for the Boston or San Francisco area for entry-level scientists... 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Have a great weekend

This was a quieter week than I expected, but that's nice. Next week will be quite busy and stressful (especially before a July 4 weekend!) but that's okay. Have a good weekend, and we'll see you on Monday. 

A Survey of Industrial Organic Chemists

Did you find an entry-level position in industrial organic chemistry in the US in 2020-2022? If so, please take this short survey to help future job seekers. 

Please let others know about this survey! I would really appreciate it if you could send it to relevant friends. 

Thanks, Chemjobber

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Survey of Industrial Organic Chemists

Did you find a position in industrial organic chemistry in the US in 2020-2022? If so, please take this short survey to help future job seekers. 

Please let others know about this survey! Thanks, Chemjobber

Nine basic hiring practices from Edward Nevraumont

Via Marginal Revolution, a list of hiring practices from Edward Nevraumont, an advisor at a private equity firm: 
Most of the time you can win candidates by getting the basics right:
  1. Reach out to people, don’t wait for them to come to you.
  2. Build relationships before you need them.
  3. Develop followership (so people that work with you once will want to work with you again).
  4. Get candidates excited for the job before you start screening them.
  5. Make your workplace a good place to work for smart and talented people (which is NOT the same as making it a “good place to work” generally, or anything from the HR/PR lists.)
  6. Be the type of manager that top talent will want to work for.
  7. Ensure that you have someone selling the candidate once you know you want to make an offer and start the selling process before the offer is made.
  8. Be polite.
  9. Be fast.
If you take care of these type of basic things, you will out-compete almost every rival — without the need for experimental interview techniques that push people “off script.”

I broadly think this is correct, but I really think it is numbers 1 and 2 that are really important for small organization. In other words, if you're running a faculty search for Harvard, you could post the ad on a 3X5 card in a random bathroom in Cambridge and get all the candidates you need. For the rest of us, I really believe that recruiting (especially targeting specific people) is important and probably a much better route than simply posting an ad, and wading from a sea of CVs. 

I also think that numbers 8 and 9 are difficult, but important. Making the process fast is appreciated by everyone, especially if you can get back to everyone, even just to reject their application. 

Job posting: Ambercycle, senior scientist, Los Angeles, CA

From the inbox, this position: 

About Us

...We're developing and scaling a breakthrough technology to manufacture yarns and fabrics from old clothes, without a sacrifice in quality, rather than from petroleum or new agriculture resources. Our apparel products avoid the use of new raw materials and go into the highest quality applications, exceeding the expectations of end customers with a fraction of the environmental footprint. Using our technology, we are fundamentally changing the fashion industry and building the infinite textile ecosystem. For more information, visit www.ambercycle.com

The Job

 We are looking for a highly motivated Senior Scientist who will develop and help scale our technology for making brand new yarns from old clothing. You will help bring Ambercycle’s innovative technology out of the lab and into commercial operation. You will be responsible for experimental process design and implementation and will work closely with the R&D team and the Research and Engineering leadership.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 10 research/teaching positions

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 10 research/teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

On June 22, 2021, the 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 14 research/teaching positions. On June 23, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 7 research/teaching positions and two teaching faculty positions. 

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

Monday, June 20, 2022

A Survey of Industrial Organic Chemists

Did you find a position in industrial organic chemistry in the US in 2020-2022? If so, please take this short survey to help future job seekers. 

Please let others know about this survey! Thanks, Chemjobber

C&EN: "What I learned from my lab accident"

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this article from Francesca Lorandi:
In February of this year, I was injured in an accident in a chemistry laboratory. I had set up an experiment that involved the separate use of hydrogen and oxygen gases fed into a glove box from compressed cylinders located in the lab. Though this was a well-established experimental procedure in my research group, something caused an explosion. The specific cause of the accident is still under investigation.

When the explosion occurred, the experiment had been paused for a few hours, and I was standing by the glove box. I spent 7 days in the hospital undergoing surgery for wounds on my face and neck and getting splints and implants for dental trauma. A neck fracture meant I had to wear a brace for 2 months. There are also invisible consequences that I’m still discovering day by day. I’m not confronting them on my own: I ask for help or talk to my partner, family, mentors, friends, and colleagues.

The accident triggered extensive discussions at my institution about safety measures in all the departments that conduct potentially hazardous experiments. Department heads and safety services are implementing changes. Importantly, these changes are aimed at germinating a culture of safety rather than just implementing stricter regulations and promising compliance.

It's quite remarkable to have a pretty open incident report this early on. I'm glad that Dr. Lorandi wrote this article, and I hope that it begins a trend. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Have a great weekend


This was a pretty good week, really. Could have used not going to urgent care for stitches, but other than that, it was a good week. I hope that you have a great, fun weekend, and we'll see you on Monday.

 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

28 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, curated by Brian Struss, there are 28 new positions for June 12. The jobs can be viewed on the website or spreadsheet.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Science: Professors report difficulty in recruiting postdoctoral fellows

Via Twitter, this article: 

When Jennifer Mason posted an ad for a postdoc position in early March, she was eager to have someone on board by April or May to tackle recently funded projects. Instead, it took 2 months to receive a single application. Since then, only two more have come in. “Money is just sitting there that isn’t being used … and there’s these projects that aren’t moving anywhere as a result,” says Mason, an assistant professor in genetics at Clemson University.

She isn’t alone. On social media, many U.S. academics have been pointing to widespread challenges in recruiting postdocs. An investigation by Science Careers bears this out: More than 100 U.S.-based researchers were contacted because they advertised for postdoc positions this year on scientific society job boards, and of the 37 who responded with information about their hiring experiences, three-quarters reported challenges recruiting. “This year is hard for me to wrestle with: … we received absolutely zero response from our posting,” one wrote. “The number of applications is 10 times less than 2018-2019,” another wrote.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to professors (especially early-career professors) who rely on postdocs for their work. At the same time, what we are hearing right now (i.e. professors offering lower wages not being able to compete with industry) is the ideal situation. I hope this is the new normal. 

We'll get a chance to find out if it is. I have not been shy in predicting a relative slowdown in hiring this year, and I imagine that within a year, professors will once again have no problem in selling inferior goods filling their postdoctoral positions. We shall see. 

(I suspect this situation has to do with Trump-era tightening of immigration, i.e. it has been more difficult to get international students and Ph.D. graduates to get visas. I haven't articles contrasting the Biden Administration's positions on this - anyone have relevant knowledge to share?) 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 8 research/teaching positions

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 8 research/teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

On June 15, 2021, the 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 9 research/teaching positions. On June 16, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 6 research/teaching positions. 

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

Job posting: director of instructional and research support, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, St. Mary's College of Maryland

From the inbox: 
St. Mary’s College of Maryland at Historic St. Mary’s City is accepting résumés for the position of Director of Instructional and Research Support for Chemistry and Biochemistry. The director acts as the department laboratory manager in support of instructional and research activities, and teaches the equivalent of six laboratory sections per academic year.

Non-sectarian since its founding, St. Mary's College of Maryland, a public Carnegie Baccalaureate, Arts and Sciences institution located in Historic St. Mary's City, 70 miles southeast of Washington, D.C., has been designated as Maryland's public honors college.  Undergraduate and residential in nature, with a diverse coeducational student body numbering approximately 1600, St. Mary's emphasizes excellence in teaching.  The institution was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 1997.  The quality of life is enhanced by the recreational opportunities of the Chesapeake region and close proximity to the amenities of Washington D.C., Baltimore and Richmond.

Qualifications: Master’s degree in biochemistry, chemistry, or related scientific field, or bachelor’s degree with documented equivalent experience.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

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To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

Monday, June 13, 2022

Bloomberg: CSB chair Lemos quits

Via Bloomberg: 
The head of a federal safety agency that investigates major industrial accidents has submitted her resignation, according to a letter seen by Bloomberg.

Katherine Lemos’s departure would leave the five-person US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board with two members, though the White House said this week it would nominate Catherine J.K. Sandoval, a professor at California’s Santa Clara University, to the board.

The turmoil at the Chemical Safety Board is, by now, not really news, but the fact that it keeps happening, across three presidential administrations tends to indicate there's something strange going on there...  

Post-pandemic, the US private sector is almost all the way back

Via Axios, this economic news: 

Stunning stat: The private sector has recovered 99% of all jobs lost, but public sector has regained just 58% — one illustration of the gaping hole that persists in certain areas of the economy.

Other industries have recovered and then some: the transportation and warehousing sector — think package couriers or truckers — has never made up a bigger share of the workforce, reflecting, for one, the historic appetite for goods.

The manufacturing sector is currently 17,000 positions short of its pre-pandemic peak (so close to 99%?), and that's where chemists mostly are.