Monday, January 21, 2013

CEPA makes its report to the Philadelphia ACS conference

The official write-up of the presentations made to the Fall 2012 Philadelphia ACS Council is up, including the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs' (chaired by Dr. Lisa Balbes) report:
The unemployment rate for ACS chemists fell from the all-time high of 4.6% as of March 2011 to 4.2% in March 2012. This number was still high, and CEPA was concerned.

The percentage of ACS chemists who experienced some period of unemployment during 2011 was 8.2%, down slightly from the year before, with a median length of unemployment of four months. Industry members had the greatest probability of a period of unemployment.
Some 12% of ACS member chemists said that in the prior three years they had accepted a position or compensation package that was less than their previous position in order to maintain employment. 
In addition, 9% of chemists felt their current position was not in-line with their professional goals, 8% felt it was not commensurate with their level of education or training, 6% said it was not professionally challenging, and 6% said it was not related to the field of their degree.

The rise and fall of salaries for chemists measures the demand for our services and expertise. In 2012, salaries in real dollars declined for Ph.D. and M.S. chemists, while B.S. chemists kept pace with inflation. In addition, many members reported that they were “underemployed” and that some employers were hiring higher degree holders at “rock-bottom” prices. 
Overall, the majority predicted their situation would be about the same in March of 2013, with only 25% expecting their employment situation to improve. Interestingly, postdocs and those currently unemployed were significantly more optimistic than those employed full-time or part-time. 
The percentage of respondents employed in domestic chemistry-related manufacturing jobs continued to decline, while the share of nonmanufacturing jobs also showed decline. Self-employment remained stable, accounting for roughly 2% of respondents.
There's some new information in there, so I'll be circling back to this. For now, do be sure to check out the slides that are attached with the report, including the still-irritating comparison of ACS members with construction workers and nursing home attendants*.

*Honorable occupations, both of them.

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