Thursday, May 28, 2020

45 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there are 13 new positions for May 25, 19 positions for May 23 and 13 positions for May 21.

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

May 2020 Chemical Activity Barometer down 5.4%, "consistent with a recession"

From the American Chemistry Council:
WASHINGTON (May 26, 2020) – The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), fell 5.4 percent in May on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 5.4 percent decline in April. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer fell 12.4 percent in May. 
The unadjusted May data shows a 0.3 percent decline following a 6.3 percent drop in April and an 8.9 percent decline in March. The diffusion index fell from 35 percent to 29 percent in May as production declines became more widespread. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The April CAB reading was revised upward by 0.37 points and the March reading was revised downward by 0.08 points. 
“The May CAB reading is consistent with a recession, but given the small unadjusted decline of only 0.3 percent, one that may bottom out,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC. 
Production-related indicators declined in May. Trends in construction-related resins, pigments and related performance chemistry were negative, as were resins used in appliances, light vehicles, machinery and other durable goods. Plastic resins used in packaging and for consumer and institutional applications were mixed. Performance chemistry was negative and U.S. exports were weak. Equity prices are improving and product and input prices are firming. Inventory and other supply chain indicators were negative.
Well, that's bad news. Hopefully, we will find the bottom of this very soon as Dr. Swift tentatively suggests. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Google Meet?

This year, I'd like to do a Google meeting with people who used this year's faculty jobs list (and may be interested in next year's list?) If you're interested, send me an e-mail: chemjobber@gmail.com 

Two new faculty lists

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty positions

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On May 28, 2019, the 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 586 positions.

Open threads: firstsecondthirdfourthfifthsixthseventheighth, ninthtenthThe current thread is the eleventh.

Can't see additional comments? Look for the "load more" button underneath the comment box.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 20 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 20 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day; back tomorrow

Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
Credit: Trevor Curran
Today is Memorial Day in the United States; it's a national holiday.

Back tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Have a good weekend



I came across this piece via the United States Marine Band, which is holding open tryouts for a B-flat clarinetist. (This is one of the audition pieces.)

Have a great weekend. 

Dow has a research reactor on its site?

From the New York Times article covering the Midland floods and its effect on the Dow site, this interesting tidbit:
...There is also a tiny nuclear research reactor on the site, used to create material that can be used in product experiments. Overnight, Dow filed an “unusual event” report with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission warning of potential flooding at the site. But the reactor had already been shut down because of the coronavirus crisis, and there were no indications of flood damage on Wednesday....
Here's the reactor's NRC page, which indicates the reactor is still active. According to this 1982 presentation, looks like (unsurprisingly) the reactor is used for neutron activation analysis. Here's a nice 2007 article about the reactor operators.

Again, best wishes to Dow employees and blog readers who are in Midland. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Dams break near Midland, MI

Via Bloomberg News, this developing news: 
Dow Inc.’s Michigan Operations has activated its emergency center “and will be adjusting operations as a result of current flood stage conditions,” the company said after two dams failed upstream of its Midland, Michigan, headquarters. 
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is already managing a public health crisis in one of the states that has been hard hit by Covid-19, announced an emergency declaration in response to the dam collapse. She told people to evacuate the area around Midland, urging those in the flooding zones to get to a shelter. 
...The Edenville Dam, at the base of nearby Wixom Lake, failed amid high floodwaters in the area, sending water gushing through a now-gaping hole near its spillway. A second one, the Sanford Dam at the base of Sanford Lake, had also failed, according to the National Weather Service, which issued an alert advising of “extremely dangerous flash flooding” in the area.
Best wishes to the Dow team and Midland readers.  

Want to be a contact tracer?

Via the New York Times, this job of our times:
When Jessica Jaramillo calls someone to talk about the coronavirus, she usually starts with something like this: 
“Hi, my name is Jessica. I’m calling on behalf of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. I’m part of a contact-tracing team, and our job is to reach people who have come into close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with Covid-19.” 
Ms. Jaramillo, 41, a San Francisco Public Library district manager in ordinary times, has made dozens of such calls so far, all in Spanish. She began contact tracing, or “seguimiento de contactos,” this month...
Well, how does it pay?
Estimates for the number of people needed nationwide for contact tracing range from 100,000 to as high as 300,000. 
The work is mostly phone-based and can be done from home. The jobs can be full- or part-time, often with an hourly wage of $17 to $25; some include benefits. They differ from one place to the next in part because training and recruiting efforts have largely fallen to state and local governments (and some of the programs have already run into problems, both practical and political).
Important work - I imagine that those with a science background would be valued...

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Did you get a faculty offer pulled because of COVID-19?

I am attempting to understand how COVID-19 may have impacted faculty hiring for the 2019-2020 season. If you were/are a faculty candidate, and you have had an offer recinded due to COVID-19-related issues, please contact me at chemjobber@gmail.com. Confidentiality guaranteed. 

Two new faculty lists

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty positions

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On May 21, 2019, the 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 586 positions.

Open threads: firstsecondthirdfourthfifthsixthseventheighth, ninthtenthThe current thread is the eleventh.

Can't see additional comments? Look for the "load more" button underneath the comment box.

Postdoc: Computational Systems Chemistry, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

An up to two-year postdoc position starting 1 August (or as soon thereafter as convenient) is available at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Southern Denmark (SDU). 
A central role of the selected candidate will be to interact with colleagues from computer science to assist with chemical sensibility in the development of causal analysis for reaction networks and in their dynamical simulation.  
The ideal candidate has a background in biochemistry or organic chemistry as well as experience with computational approaches to chemistry or biology, such as cheminformatics or bioinformatics. The candidate's research will be central to a pilot grant led by a team committed to succeed. The nature of this project is highly exploratory. The candidate must therefore be able to improvise, grapple with ill-posed questions, and have an attitude conducive to creative problem solving in the context of an interdisciplinary team.  
The position involves collaboration with colleagues at the University of Vienna and Harvard Medical School and includes the opportunity for extensive visits at these locations. The position comes with generous travel support in addition to a competitive salary.
Best wishes to those interested.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 20 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 20 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Thursday, May 14, 2020

19 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there are 19 new positions for May 10.

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

This is a weird position

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BIOM) of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana will be hiring a new Professor (tenure track) at the Assistant or Associate level who possesses expertise in Chemical Biology with application to chemical protein synthesis and peptide therapeutics. This appointment will conduct scientific research in the area(s) of peptide- and protein analogs, including analysis of structure-activity relationships and use of unnatural mutagenesis. These projects utilize synthetic and semi-synthetic methods. 
Basic Qualifications  
A Ph.D. or M.D. and at least 5 years of training/experience in peptide is required. Experience with the chemical synthesis of polypeptide greater than 30 residues and familiarity with native ligation chemistry are preferred. Publications on how biological peptides modulate the activity of peptides and proteins will be an added advantage...
This is a remarkably specific set of criteria - one wonders what will happen to the poor candidate who only has experience synthesizing polypeptides of 25-29 amino acid length...

(clearly an ad designed for a single person)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Work samples better than interviews?

Interesting part of a recent New York Times piece on job interviews:
...A work sample can also be a live simulation of the job in real-time. In orchestras, women finally got a fair chance when blind auditions were introduced. Suddenly, managers started making decisions based on the quality of music being played behind a curtain instead of the demographics of the person playing it. At General Electric, to identify aircraft engine mechanics who work well with others, managers dump a pile of LEGOs on the table and ask a half dozen candidates to work together to build a helicopter, and score their teamworking skills. 
At Momofuku, the chef, David Chang, asks job candidates to make him an omelet. “You can tell a lot about an individual if they’re cracking the eggs and they’re trying to get every bit of the albumen out of the egg,” Dave said on my TED podcast, WorkLife. “I’m not trying to see perfect technique. I’m trying to see the intent of the individual first and foremost. I’ll take hungry and eager over super talented any day of the week.”
It would be interesting to understand how various chemical companies do interviews, and if they have a lab practical portion. So far as I understand, there aren't a lot of them (and I suspect that US safety/labor law has something to do with it.

Overall, I agree with the author's perspective that interviewing is a blunt and not very useful tool, but I am not sure what a better one is.  

Employment in the German chemical sector down 5%

From ICIS, this unpleasant news: 
LONDON (ICIS)--Employment in the German chemicals sector fell 5% in April as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to research from the Ifo institute on Monday. 
While the pharmaceutical industry has recorded no job loss due to the pandemic, other markets downstream of the chemicals sector have marked much higher cuts in the same period. 
The services sector marked the largest decline as lockdown measures have prohibited hotels, restaurants and travel agents from operating. 
In the manufacturing sector, 39% of automotive companies have recorded a downturn in employment figures, surpassed by a 48% drop of jobs in leather, leather goods and footwear manufacturers.
Curious to see if these trends continue, and continue globally.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Did you get a faculty offer pulled because of COVID-19?

I am attempting to understand how COVID-19 may have impacted faculty hiring for the 2019-2020 season. If you were/are a faculty candidate, and you have had an offer recinded due to COVID-19-related issues, please contact me at chemjobber@gmail.com. Confidentiality guaranteed. 

Two new faculty lists

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty positions

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On May 14, 2019, the 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 585 positions.

Open threads: firstsecondthirdfourthfifthsixthseventheighth, ninthtenthThe current thread is the eleventh.

Can't see additional comments? Look for the "load more" button underneath the comment box.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 20 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 20 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, May 11, 2020

What will the industrial job market look like post-COVID-19?

In this week's C&EN, the cover is on the chemistry job market post-COVID-19 (by Linda Wang* and Andrea Widener). The whole article is worth reading, but I thought I would highlight the industrial section.
The chemical industry is also bracing for a tough economic climate. “Somebody hit a giant pause button,” says Ron McElhaney Jr., owner of Management Recruiters of Savannah, which recruits for the specialty chemical job market. “Over the last 3 months, my business has cratered. Nobody is hiring anybody.” But McElhaney is optimistic that when the pandemic gets under control, hiring will come “roaring back.” 
Others are not so sure. “It’s going to be several years before we come out the other side,” economist Hodges says. “And when we come out, we’ll be coming out in a completely different place from where we went in. There’s no business as usual here.” To survive, he says, businesses will need to focus on potential new opportunities that will develop. 
Hodges predicts the petrochemical sector will be hit hard by the economic recession. “If you’re looking at ethylene and polyethylene, they are just a disaster area, and they’re not going to get any better,” Hodges says, noting that it’s just a matter of time before layoffs and hiring freezes hit these areas. “Inevitably, some companies are going to go bankrupt because the market is not there anymore,” he says. 
Recent data on chemical industry output are sobering. According to the American Chemistry Council, a trade group, US chemical output is estimated to fall by around 3.3% in 2020 if shutdowns are lifted before the end of June, and output could drop by 6.5% if shutdowns last through the fourth quarter. Job losses could total 28,000, or 5.1% of the workforce, in 2020. Some chemical companies have announced hiring freezes. Huntsman, for example, announced in its first-quarter earnings call on May 1 that it is implementing a company-wide hiring freeze and suspending 2020 salary increases.
One area of employment that is likely to remain strong is in the pharmaceutical industry. 
In fact, many pharma companies C&EN spoke with said they are continuing to recruit. Jeffrey Sperry, associate director of process chemistry at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, says Vertex has 300 open positions. “We’re hiring new PhDs, we’re hiring new bachelor’s and new master’s candidates, we’re hiring across the entire spectrum,” Sperry says. The company is conducting interviews virtually.
It will be really interesting to see what hiring looks like in the fall. It doesn't look like the economic outlook is going to get better any time soon, so it will be interesting to see what both the chemical firms and the pharma firms will end up doing as their profitability in 2020 and 2021 becomes more clear. I don't predict mass layoffs, but I think it's safe to predict a slower market for both early- and mid-career industrial chemists.

Readers, what do you think?

*full disclosure: Linda Wang is the editor for my column. 

This week's C&EN

Friday, May 8, 2020

Have a good weekend



Well, folks, we've made it another week. Have a great weekend. 

BLS: US unemployment at 14.7%. 20,500,000 jobs lost

Credit: Calculated Risk
Well, that's bad news. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the national employment rate is 14.7%, and payrolls fell by 20.5 million positions in April

The broader U6 measurement of unemployment was 22.8%.

The chemical manufacturing subsector saw a drop in positions from 850300 to 819200, a drop of 31000 positions (seasonally adjusted).

The unemployment rate of college graduates was 8.4% for April 2020, while by contrast the unemployment rate for people without a high school diploma was 21.2%. 

C&EN: Chemical company earnings down in the first quarter

The first quarter of earnings to be impacted by the novel coronavirus is on the books. A few US companies—petrochemical makers and others tied to heavy manufacturing—are already stinging from the slowing economy. Earnings at other firms, especially in agriculture, are holding up. 
Executives uniformly say the worst is yet to come, however, possibly in the current quarter. 
“We did begin to feel the early impact of COVID-19 in some areas of the business,” Chemours CEO Mark Vergnano says in a statement. But the company managed to improve first-quarter earnings by about 10% from the year-earlier period, despite a sales decline due to weakness in fluorochemical demand. 
Chemours’s former parent, DuPont, felt the impact as well. The company increased production of Tyvek protective garments by 55% and is now making more than it ever has, but the pandemic hit businesses like materials for the automotive sector. DuPont posted a 10% decline in overall earnings for the first quarter.
Dow, DuPont, Grace and Huntsman all had earnings down against the first quarter of 2019 (-39.8%, -10.4%, -23.7%, and -23.5% , respectively). This doesn't bode well for either the rest of the year, nor hiring for 2020.