Availability Of Jobs For Chemists
In 2011, unemployment among ACS members reached 4.7%, the highest point recorded since ACS began compiling data in 1972 on the employment status of its members. In the most recent survey, done in 2013, the picture had improved slightly, with unemployment among members falling to 3.5%.
Despite this modestly encouraging news, job seekers at ACS Career Fairs, held at each national meeting, still find the number of available positions to be minuscule compared with the number of applicants. For example, at last year’s ACS national meeting in New Orleans, 131 job listings were posted, but there were 807 candidates for those openings—slightly more than a 6:1 ratio. Of those 807 people looking for work, 590 (73%) hold advanced degrees.
The response to this invariably seems to be that we need to generate more jobs for chemists in the U.S., and of course this is a logical and laudable goal. However, another view that should be equally obvious is the possibility that we are training too many advanced-degree chemists, especially at the Ph.D. level. That’s an elephant-in-the-room viewpoint that needs to be addressed. (emphasis CJ's)
Because the overwhelming majority of chemists are employed in industry, I believe it behooves ACS to expend considerable effort to learn what it is that industrial chemists need from us. I have a concern that chemists in industry may view the society as more of an academic endeavor. (emphasis CJ's) That actually is not the case, and we must put in some serious effort to make sure that it is not reasonably perceived to be the case. Any thoughts on how to achieve this would be much appreciated.I do not recall ever reading such a section from the presidential addresses of recent years past. I'll have to do a little double checking.