Thursday, December 13, 2012

Job posting: Ph.D. inorganic chemist, Minneapolis, MN

From the inbox:
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Salary Range: $90,000 to $120,000/yr. base salary (depending on current salary level)

Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry or Physical Chemistry and AT LEAST 10 years of industrial experience. This person must know heterogeneous catalysis and have experience with testing, analyzing, evaluating and scaling-up catalyst processes. Candidates could come out of catalyst manufacturers or other operating companies such as refineries, petrochemical manufacturers, or plants that use hydrogenation. Hydrogenation experience is a major plus.

Job Description:
This person will work in a newly formed lab within a site of approximately 30 people. This company is a start-up company but in terms of stability, this company is much farther along than most start-ups. They have a manufacturing facility overseas that is producing material and they have plans to retrofit another site in Canada and build a pilot plant in the near future. This person will work in a growing small group responsible for the new pilot plant. This person will be working to scale-up new processes from bench to eventual pilot scale. The base material is biosuccinic acid which this company is going to be converting into other marketable materials. This company is based near Minneapolis and is aggressively expanding. Relocation assistance will be offered with this position if needed and this position is bonus eligible as well. If you are interested in this position, please send your resume to
Best of luck!


  1. Take note current and prospective grad students: a PhD and 10 yrs exp doesn't guarantee you'll make 6 figures. Don't even try to throw the cost of living argument up, $90K for that much experience is an insult, whether it's San Francisco or outer bumfuck Nebraska.

    1. Worth pointing out that it's start-upish.

    2. My first job out of my postdoc was with a startup and I made nearly $90K. It was a higher cost of living area, but I can't name a place in the US where $90K (or $120K, Lyle) seems reasonable after a PhD and 10 years of industry experience.

    3. Take note current and prospective grad students: a PhD and 10 yrs exp doesn't guarantee you'll make 6 figures.

      They should take note.

      In this economy and job market, that degree and level of experience doesn't guarantee you employment, let alone a 6 figure salary.

  2. Well, "postdoc" don't you deserve so much the entitlement here. Like how you use the lower limit for your "argument" (cough - rant - cough). Easily could be 6 figures (see the "depending on current salary level). And, by the way, cost-of-living argument is part of the equation, if you don't think so, I'll take 90 - 120K in Minny and give you 180 - 200K in San Fran - have fun with that.

  3. "Depending on current salary level" is just as flawed as every "argument" (cough-baiting-cough) that you've ever made. That metric supposes that two PhDs with the same amount of experience will make different salaries depending on whether they came from Boston or South Carolina.

    Love the mindless contrarianism you always bring. Maybe everybody in the country should just make minimum wage? Nobody should feel "entitled" to any more, right?

  4. 90 - 120 K in MN is now "minimum wage" - now that's entitlement. Keep on looking postdoc, maybe you'll find that 600K job you're looking for.

    1. ... ACS VP ...?

    2. 90K for a PhD with 10 years of experience is pretty insulting, regardless of where you live. Lyle is probably the hiring manager for that company and he is just trolling.

    3. I'd swallow that insult with gratitude.

  5. Just so we can get some numbers in this situation, this is the recent "ACS Salary Comparator" result for this position. You can see the parameters that I mentioned below, along with the salary decile guesses:

    Those who wish to try their own hand need ACS membership:

    Position: Non-academic (None)
    Experience (Years Since Bachelor's Degree): 15 (None)
    Gender: Male 1.0000 (+ 0.0%)
    Highest Degree: Doctorate 1.2744 (+ 27.4%)
    Current Specialty: Inorganic chemistry 1.0000 (+ 0.0%)
    Work Function: R&D: applied research, development, design 1.0000 (+ 0.0%)
    Employer Type: Biochemical products manufacturing 1.0000 (+ 0.0%)
    Employer Size: Less than 50 0.8553 (- 14.5%)
    Geographic Location: Minneapolis Metro Area 1.0000 (+ 0.0%)

    High Decile 90th Percentile $120,180
    80th Percentile $107,335
    70th Percentile $98,965
    60th Percentile $92,381
    Median (midpoint) 50th Percentile $83,650
    40th Percentile $80,912
    30th Percentile $75,528
    20th Percentile $69,639
    Low Decile 10th Percentile $62,196
    Hourly Equivalent Median Value $40.22

  6. Just to clarify, this data is saying that your snide anonymous commenters are way off base, and that someone named Lyle Langley, although also excessively snide, is in the right?

  7. It's not called "being right" it's called living in the real world. Some just don't get it...but you want to make the big bucks, get into the Monorail duping business - suitcases overflowing with cash.

  8. From experience...I finished my Ph.D. 11 years ago and went directly into the Pharma industry in NJ making $80K/year - which by the way was the amount all of my colleagues were making - even those living in Palo Alto. I no longer work in that industry; however, taking the starting salary and with a decent 3.5% pay raise each year (which was on the high end), one would be making ~115K right now. So, 90 - 120K in MN is pretty reasonable.

  9. I'd trust Glassdoor more than ACS. They list 10+ yr Sr. research chemists as avg 110K at Dow, 96K at Merck for 7-9 yr.

    1. It's really a tossup as to what has the larger sample size, yes?

    2. The fact that Dow and Merck are massive corporate entities versus a start-up company in MN also plays a role. Doesn't say anything about stock options, which is where most start-ups try to make up the difference.

      The salary range of $90-120K for 10 years experience is more than reasonable. The ad itself said that it would be based on current salary level. There aren't many people with 10 years at a Sr. Scientist role making more than $120K.

      Anyone at that experience level who is insulted by that compensation hasn't been looking for a job in the last couple of years.

  10. LOL...a friend of mine, BS in ChemEng., is making 80K in the oil&gas sector with less than 2 years experience. PhD with 10 years experience and only get you 90k is somewhat sad.

    1. Anyone doing anything in the oil and gas sector is making big bucks.

  11. 90 - 120K doesn't sound attractive for a PhD chemistry position. But I guess it has to do with what the firm is making at the moment. Maybe they are small.