Listening to Rudy Baum and Susan Ainsworth's keynote address at the 2010 ACS Virtual Career Fair, I was struck by a simple question: how will we know when the chemistry job market has recovered? In her article and her comments, Ms. Ainsworth notes a couple of things: mass layoffs are slowing down (the problem of the second derivative), and some mid-career scientists are finding positions.
Here are some signs that I think might herald an actual recovery:
- Multiple double-page ads in the back of C&EN. (The only one this year (that I can remember?): SABIC.)
- Ads that aren't regarded as "fishing." (Millenium, I'm looking at you.)
- Recruiters for contract employment agencies that can't seem to fill their positions
- An article from C&EN that there aren't enough chemists (I kid because I love, guys.)
- Comments from federal employers that they're can't compete with industrial positions
- Rumors of starting bonuses (remember those days?)
- Pharma companies begin hiring fresh PhDs at mid-tier universities (an indicator of a peak?)
Readers, what do you think? Do you remember the last boom employment time for chemists ('96 to '03(?)) What were the signs that things were good or even getting too hot?