Monday, March 11, 2013

ACS President Wu: "today’s job opportunities are global"

From this week's C&EN, more from ACS President Marinda Wu on ACS New Orleans:
As part of my initiative to promote jobs, ACS will launch a program in New Orleans that is intended to expand job opportunities for ACS members. The International Employment Initiative (IEI) will bring international recruiters to meet job seekers at Sci-Mix on April 8 and the ACS Virtual Career Fair on April 8–9. Connecting job seekers with global opportunities increases potential options for members looking for new prospects. 
The launch of IEI at Sci-Mix will coincide with introduction of the new ACS International Center. The center will serve as a comprehensive source of information about work, education, and travel around the globe. It can offer guidance for members wishing to explore jobs or exchange programs. 
In the increasingly global chemistry enterprise, job opportunities—whether in teaching, research, manufacturing, marketing, sales, or beyond—can be found anywhere in the world. Because today’s job opportunities are global, empowering our members to participate in this global enterprise can be transforming. I have met many individuals who have reinvented themselves with second careers overseas, where their skills and knowledge have found new homes. 
To remain competitive in this global chemistry enterprise, we must encourage members to view globalization more as an opportunity than a threat. Like it or not, globalization is here to stay and indeed is accelerating. My first priority remains serving our domestic members, and I am strongly advocating to bring both advanced manufacturing and research jobs home through regulatory and tax reform incentives.
 I think it's fascinating when such a paragraph shows up in someone's text without a variety of accompanying words, such as: America, China, Indian, pay, salary and outsourcing. Of course, we have to use the Up Goer Five editor to make things a little more clear:
If you are looking for a job, maybe you can find more jobs in places not in your home. We can help you do that. Lots of people have done that. 
The rest of President Wu's essay talks about the different ways that she's trying to help ACS members, i.e. 25 free SciFinder searches! (Actually I think that's a pretty cool idea, especially for interview agenda checking.) Also, she wants to hear how ACS members think that she should help members.

Isn't this something that we should be telling younger members about? It seems to me to be newsworthy that we have a historically high unemployment rate among members (as measured by the ACS Salary Survey) and the elected President of our society is saying that it's time for members to look overseas for jobs. Am I crazy for thinking that people aren't paying enough attention to this?

[I probably am. I suspect members have been hitting the "do something!" button, and this is something, so ACS going to do it. Will much come of it? Who knows? Will it last past this year? Hard to say.]


  1. ..she is reading from the boiler plate and nothing else! her essay are treated best by ignoring. That is what I did, until, CJ gave it some spotlight!

  2. Can't find the 25 free SciFinder. Forthcoming?

  3. So where are all of these "global opportunities" located? Are American chemists really needed or wanted in other parts of the world?

    1. In terms of countries where Americans can feel comfortable, Germany has a lot of jobs available, but realistically they should go to people from European countries where the economy has melted. Don't be greedy and let the Spanish and the Greeks have food to eat.

      Here's the relevant article.

      I wouldn't count out France either. They have a ton of chemistry companies, but I don't know how they are at hiring foreigners. Also, Brazil is a free country with a rapidly growing industry and economy. It's already sucking in a lot of the unemployed Portugese, so it could be a good destination if you know Spanish and are willing to expand to Portugese as work visas will not be a problem. Israel has a ton of jobs in start-ups despite its small population but it's a start-up that can go under... and you need to have jewish roots, although they are thinking of a start-up visa. Singapore is not entirely democratic; it is also small but is a good bet to look, although it's becoming saturated and recently there have been protests against immigration.

      I wouldn't go to South Korea though, it has bad demographic trends and not enough immigrants to make up the shortfall unlike Germany.

    2. American chem PhD working in Sydney here. And if you don't mind living in the middle of the desert, there's a big ol' mining boom here that needs chemists to support.

    3. Thanks for your comments uncle sam and anon8:03. Question for anon8:03: What is the best way of seeking out and applying for the jobs you mentioned?

  4. The Aqueous LayerMarch 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    The wonderful world of Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates and Dubai await you! Teach English and chemistry to wealthy princes who could, if they wished, have your head removed for insolence!

    Just remember, no public displays of affection.

  5. So we now have a shortage of STEM professionals AND we need to ship our chemists overseas? If we're going to hear the misconceptions from these people, I would appreciate some consistency.

  6. "In the increasingly global global enterprise, global opportunities—whether in globing, g-lobing, or glo-bing-—can be found anywhere in the globe. Because today’s global opportunities are global, empowering our global members to participate in this global enterprise can be transforming to the globe. I have met many global individuals who have reinvented themselves globally with second careers across the globe, where their global skills and knowledge have found new global homes.


  7. I should mention though, that if you're going to be a foreign worker, health is a big problem. If you have a health problem, then forget about it. Most of those countries have national health insurance schemes, but you are not a part of the nation. I have to buy my own insurance in the country where I'm at right now and they don't take care of pre-existing conditions. Also they renew it every year, so if I... let's say just for laughs, develop cancer, they won't be treating that when the insurance runs out in half a year or something. Also, they do a health check when you come here and I guess if you're not healthy they would kick you out of the country.

    It's a lot better if you're there on some sort of immigration scheme.

    A big problem with all the immigrants is that they don't care about local society and they don't pay charity or volunteer and the society collapses and all that. This is especially true of scientists. Why should you feel anythings for the locals if you are only there temporarily? Hell, I watch daytime German trash TV (it's on here at night) and I definitely don't want to help out the locals there after watching the latest episode of 'Farmer seeks wife' or some reality divorce story. Thankfully I work during the day so I don't watch the trash daytime TV in my current country. This is why there are anti-immigrant protests in authoritarian Singapore. Immigrants who only go there for jobs are a bit shiftless. You should learn the language and try to integrate in the culture, but it will be a lot of hard work.

  8. 1) If moving to other countries becomes significant for US chemists, countries will likely limit immigration to protect their own workers. I don't know about either China and India, but I had heard that it was difficult to get a work visa in India. Europe is close, but has the same problems as the US (and then some - austerity isn't working out so well, and debt isn't good).

    2) Don't expect to be paid a whole lot (other than in Europe, but see above), and (depending on the field) don't expect actual labor or individual protections. Even if you don't care about culture or family (and most people do), these factors are likely to be a kick in the pants.

    3) In China, the language barrier (for people who haven't lived there or who know the language) is steep.

    Besides the concept of the American Chemical Society president saying to go get jobs elsewhere, this doesn't even seem like a practical solution to anything. It also implies (for most people) that if you want to be a chemist, you need to be prepared to give up most of what you want from life. Other than solving the problem of political pressure against increasing visas and trying to defuse complaints over the lack of jobs, I'm not sure what this statement is supposed to achieve.

  9. Is Marinda Wu really committed to promoting jobs for non-academic chemists? How about a little more substance - posting a view jobs in China at a career fair is just lip-service. If this is the new paradigm, perhaps an ACS-approved degree requirements should reflect this new reality and include courses in foreign language and arrange overseas internship opportunities for American students.

    1. "arrange overseas internship opportunities for American students"

      That would actually be a good idea. Maybe tie it to having an ACS approved PhD as something that requires a semester of research at a foreign lab paid for by a research grant (should be 2x normal pay for one semester to cover everything). Learning a foreign language is not necessary for this.

  10. Its really sad when the ACS says things like this when we hear so much about letting more STEM workers into the country and how young people should go into STEM as we "need" more workers in this area. ACS should tell it like it is. Latest news from ACS is that they are proposing to be a "global" entity not an American one.