The numbers bear this out: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the materials science field will grow by just over 10%—around 900 jobs—between 2010 and 2020, compared with 4% growth in chemistry jobs. But delving deeper into the BLS numbers, it’s clear there’s a significant shift under way in the field, with consulting, research and development, and academic positions on the rise, while most jobs in manufacturing are expected to decline.
Despite these changes, and the weak economy, heads of materials science departments around the country report that their graduates have, by and large, continued to find employment in recent years....
[snip] Today, some of the hottest areas are gallium nitride and its role in solid-state lighting; oxide semiconductors, which hold promise for electronics; hybrid structures of organic and inorganic components, which are ultralightweight or have unusual mechanical, thermal, or energetic properties; additive manufacturing, in which products are made in layers by a printerlike machine; and energy-related materials such as organic photovoltaics and thermoelectrics, according to UCSB’s Pollock.
Dow Corning is looking to fill positions in specialties such as ceramics, solid-state chemistry, and metallurgy, according to Michele Stafford, a recruiter with the firm. In addition, she says, “we have a large need for materials scientists who have a focus on doing device development. Not only would they synthesize the materials, but they would look at how those materials fit into electronic devices.”
The competition among companies for scientists with the right backgrounds—whether they’re old hands or newly minted Ph.D.s—is quite stiff, says Dow Corning’s recruiting manager for North America, Jason Saavedra. In response, many firms partner with universities and offer internships to cultivate relationships with students doing research in desired areas, he says.Not to be particularly repetitive on this point, but I find it amusing and irritating that department heads cannot simply tell Ms. Williams what the employment rate of their graduates is.
(I wonder who Dow Corning is working with?)