Monday, September 16, 2013

ACS President-Elect candidates on #chemjobs

The ACS has 3 presidential candidates this year, G. Brian Balazs, Charles E. Kolb, Jr., and Diane Grob Schmidt. I have excerpted the #chemjobs portion of their candidate statements below:

G. Brian Balazs
An education in science remains a great investment, and employers want the analytical thinking and advanced skills that result from hiring chemistry graduates. However, ongoing changes in the job market have resulted in talented individuals at all degree and career levels unable to find a job in an area that matches their interests and abilities. I believe we can do more to help, and these are the areas I would emphasize: 
Work with potential employers to emphasize that chemistry graduates have the discipline and analytical skills employers are looking for 
Enable job seekers to identify a broader set of opportunities including “nontraditional employers” while simultaneously providing more tools to address the dynamic nature of the job search environment 
Provide students with better means for identifying potential internships and other in-school employment experiences, and better inform them of the value that employers place on direct work experience
Charles E. Kolb, Jr.
Third, we need members prepared to seize the ­future. 
Nearly all of the critical challenges facing our world have significant chemical components. ACS must help our current and future members better understand how their vision and their skills can contribute to a more prosperous and sustainable future. The fact that too many ACS members are unemployed or underemployed, while most global challenges need chemical insight and innovation to be addressed successfully, is a travesty. ACS needs to develop more effective ways to help current and future members orient their interests and capabilities to successfully address critical problems. ACS also needs to motivate both private and public investments to ensure resources exist to fund the science needed for progress.
Diane Grob Schmidt
...In order to realize a sustainable future in these crucial and difficult times, we must marshal our resources to bridge the gaps and solve problems. We live in interesting but challenging times. Chemistry is a rewarding profession, but only if you have a job. In the past, our graduates were offered jobs before graduating; now frequently they wait six to nine months or more before finding employment. Even midcareer chemists are concerned about job security and may fear job loss from outsourcing. No wonder our young people show increasing reluctance to select chemistry as their future profession. Further, the public image of chemistry is suffering from media attacks. “Chemicals” is seen as a bad word. Funds for research are being cut.... 
There are five focus areas where we must concentrate: 
Employment. Jobs, jobs, and jobs! This should be our major concern! ACS cannot create jobs but must work to create an atmosphere domestically that encourages growth and the addition of U.S. jobs. 
Education. Strong leadership, even a transformational role, in the educational system that prepares our future chemists and chemical engineers for getting, keeping, and growing in their jobs.
If you'd like to read their whole statements (who wouldn't?), they are here, here and here.


  1. CJ : I doubt it very much as to how much these inviduals can influence the big companies to create jobs for the chemists. They are running to fill in their resume and after serving they are going elsewhere! I came back from attending ACS at Indianapolis and it was a pathetic site! The overall attendance was smaller than the previous meetings I had been to and not many people showed up at exposition or scientific poster either. The meeting had a healthy participants from the academia but not much juice or substance in terms of presentation! Profs. Paul Wender, Mark Burke and others were there. Prof. John Gupton was there encouraging people to rejoin the organic chemistry division and ACS also had a reach out efforts encouraging people to join or rejoin them as well.

  2. From MArinda Wu's statement last year:

    "I will actively work with leaders from industry, small business, academia, and government to explore supply and demand of jobs and how ACS can better help with retraining and professional growth. Senior chemists offer an untapped resource."

    I wonder how many jobs the ACS helped create?

    Aside from a job website, and charging people to read others' content in publication, is there anything of tangible value that the ACS does? It flabbergasts me that people still pay money to belong to the ACS.

  3. Vote for me and I will encourage sustainable STEM™ paradigms that will allow us to kill the future with diversity facing our children are the future critical problems rewarding careers increasing opportunities for potential employers green initiatives…


  4. There are very few chemistry graduates with meaningful problem solving skills. That is because their undergraduate education did not provide them with problem solving skills in chemistry, but rather a survey of chemistry.

    How can you have problem solving skills in analytical chemistry with 1 class that only used basic statistics and memorized formulas and gave only a survery of different instruments?

    How can you have problem solving skills in physical and materials chemistry with only survey style classes of quantum chemistry and thermodynamics, and some schools having no classes on solid state and polymer phenomena?

    The only possible problem solving skills that an undergrad in chemistry can have is carrying out the most basic organic syntheses and running biological tests, which is exactly what they do as low wage temps.

    Only through making the undergraduate curriculum more rigorous can wages go up.

  5. Didn't we just go through this smoke and mirrors act? What kind of tangible gains does a 1 year presidency achieve?

  6. You should formulate your own survey with a few specific questions on how they think ACS can impact the employment market. Send it out and see if you get any response. Just say that you represent a blog focused on chemistry and science employment market and see what happens. After all, despite the hackneyed statements, this looks like three very different people--one a long time govt lab employee, one high up in a huge corporation, and one the head of a small business. Would be interesting if you could get them to say anything and how different their perspectives would be.

    1. That's actually a very good idea, anon. I'll do it.