Friday, October 18, 2013

Derek Lowe: good news for pharma chemists?

I didn't want to forget Derek Lowe's post earlier this week about Big Pharma beginning to hire medicinal chemists. In the comments, a fair bit of RUMINT:
Anon3: "Pfizer in the process of hiring 14-18 med chemists" 
Dawning Realisation: "Rumor has it that this is serious and could be 50+ (yes that's fifty, not a typo) med chemists. All those students who have given up hope of ever finding their way into a big pharma outfit might want to start to reconsider.
I hope the skeptics see this for what it is - some genuine good news to put some scientific muscle back into drug discovery." 
Scientist: "Looks like there will be 40 medchem jobs in USA, 20 in NC and 20 in PA and 20 in UK."
One suspects that there's something behind these rumors, but it will take sustained hiring (250+ chemistry positions (all degrees) a year, industry-wide, for 3 years?) before I believe the market for organic chemists is back. 

I think I need to start tracking this more systematically than I have been. 

11 comments:

  1. CJ: The number of openings (genuine or rumored) in the pharmaceutical industry is a like drop in ocean. In the past five years many chemists that I personally know are gone and my list is really long. Some gone because of bad management decision and others because they are 50+. These openings will not help them as they are looking for people fresh of the mint.

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    1. We'll see, but I agree that an increase of 50 positions is notable, but not enough.

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    2. I know the feeling. Everyone in my cohort of PhD's that entered Big Company You Have Heard Of with me seven years ago has been laid off since then. My current employer, Tiny Company That Know One Knows, just whacked a third of its staff last week. Welcome four more PhDs and a half dozen other chemists to the market (thankfully, not myself). Both companies begged/pushed/shoved anyone over 55 to retire before they started the cull.




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  2. Two words. Irrational exuberance!

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  3. Okay, i think there are ~2K chemistry PhD's a year, with organic being the largest proportion (?) of that number. So if my numbers are in the ballpark, we need what, 1K openings a year to keep pace?

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  4. My favorite comment from that thread :

    "Let me guess, there will be a thousand applicants for every opening, and HR will do the interviewing. Every applicant will be tested on looks, political correctness, and most importantly, likeability. "

    Who says Chemists are not funny? And realistic?

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    1. I'm very likable. I just need to get invited to an interview first, and the longer the interview the better since my looks are not top notch. I keep planning to work on them and my fashion sense, but it's really kind of tough. I need a few hours to work past the looks handicap, so I've never managed to get an offer from a skype interview or something that only lasts an hour. But there was this one interview that I've just had that was the one whole day thing and it went really well and I heard lots of good things... just playing the waiting game now.

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    2. Well, at least you're likeable. After too many disappointing and bad experiences in science I'm way to bitter to be likeable, and I'm too untalented to do something else for a living.

      At least I'm not fat. That goes far where I live in the middle of the USA.

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    3. "Every applicant will be tested on looks, political correctness, and most importantly, likeability"

      Yes, at least once CVs have been screened: even there, if the hiring manager recognizes a name that candidate has a greater change of getting the job.

      Taller better looking people are also more likely to get promoted, and I think this is as true in academia as in industry.

      Believing the workworld is a meritocracy is close to believing in unicorns.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this nice information. pharma franchise massive lobbying effort received very little attention so it's a pleasant.

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