Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Daily Pump Trap: 2/18/14 edition

Good morning! Between February 13 and February 17, there were 128 new positions posted on the C&EN Jobs website. Of these, 25 (20%) were academically related. Not counted: 14 irrelevant academic positions and 3 irrelevant private sector positions.

Ahhh, the Pfizer onslaught continues: I think I've figured it out, which is that Pfizer is repeatedly posting (so far as I can tell) 72 positions weekly. This constitutes 56% of new C&EN Jobs positions for this time period, even as most of them seem to be repeats from before. There are some that are relevant, and many that are most certainly not.

Audubon, PA: I think this position is emblematic of the wage issues that young chemists face. Here's a position with JRF America (which is some sort of CRO?); they're looking for an analytical chemist with 3-5 years experience, B.S. degree. Salary (drumroll, please): $38,000-40,000. That is the $2000 more than the salary I was offered at a much smaller firm around the turn of the century (love that phrase.)

Latrobe, PA: Looks to be a B.S.-level metallurgy position with Latrobe Specialty Metals -- interesting.

Alexandria, VA: Now this is an interesting position:
The Operational Evaluation Division (OED) has an immediate career opening for an Analyst supporting the Department of Defense's assessments of the performance of personal protective equipment, vulnerability of military ground combat vehicles, and lethality of weapons/munitions. IDA research staff members conduct multi-disciplinary analyses in a small-team environment. IDA takes great pride in the high caliber and timeliness of its analyses, which are produced in an atmosphere that encourages independent thinking and objective results.

The Live Fire group supports and advises Department of Defense officials regarding the Live Fire test and evaluation of Major Defense Acquisition Programs. The Analyst will support test planning, observe realistic survivability and lethality testing, conduct independent analyses, and provide written assessments to the Department of Defense’s Director, Operational Test and Evaluation. The Analyst will conduct in-depth analyses of data from ballistic testing of personal protective equipment, ground combat vehicles, and weapons/ munitions.
M.S./Ph.D. in science required.

Like swallows to Torrance: Phenomenex has posted its usual slots for organic surface chemists (2 years industry experience) and the like.

India: I see Piramal is advertising positions in India.

Upton, NY: Brookhaven National Laboratory is looking for a electron microscopy postdoc.

Grand Rapids, MI: Meijier is hiring a FIFRA/TSCA specialist; needs relevant experience.

The Irrelevants List: Are you a chemist? Do you wish to work in chemistry? C&EN Jobs would like to know if you might be an RN. 


  1. 40K per year? I had classmates who were getting double to triple that going into consulting straight from college. In the late 1990's.

    1. Yeah, I was make 42k straight out of college in 2000 with minimal experience, and I was making 55k within 3 years. So they're really putting the screws on BS/MS chemists these days (if you can get a job)

  2. Oh, Stop whining. Im a PhD in Chem in academia making $45 K. And Im 50 years old, and work with very difficult people. Its the new normal, folks.

  3. Sad, but $40K is still likely more than the corresponding position in Asia or Eastern Europe by a long shot....

    Globalization will equalize wage disparities throughout the world, but not in a way that Americans are going to enjoy.

    Fortunately $40K buys a huge # of 6 for $2 tube socks at Walmart!

    1. Better hope that the Chinese don't develop graduate programs in Venture Capital, or your salad days are over, my friend...

    2. Chinese MBA students are just as smart as American MBA students, and probably harder working.....

  4. CJ I think you are being a bit unfair about the "irrelevant" positions on C&EN. Why not praise them for giving us more options to look at? Just because we have a Ph.D in chemistry does not mean we couldn't teach nuclear engineering or be a medical writing specialist. I work in an academic lab with Ph.Ds from chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, physics, and applied physics and we all work on many of the same problems. Who says a chemist has to do "chemistry"? Who decides what "chemistry" means?

    I remember hearing faculty members in grad school complain at qualifying examinations that certain projects "aren't chemistry." Bollocks. If the research is well done and a problem is being solved, who cares?

    1. Medical writing specialist, $60k, no phd required. Not a bad job lol. My husband is doing this between permanent jobs.

  5. Anon, I think that's a fair criticism of my position, *if* the positions were likely "chemistry-adjacent" or whatever the relevant term is. I'm happy to ignore those or praise them, if I think they're a good fit for someone.

    But when they're posting positions for experienced physicians, how should I respond?

    For the academic listings, I'm quite willing to be flexible because I believe that most academic departments can be flexible as to who they hire. I think that's much less true for industrial listings.

    I'm interested to hear your opinion, so please respond.

    1. Thanks for the response CJ. I agree that something like an experience physician is well outside the range of reasonable for most (though I suppose there may be ACS members with MD PhD's). My strong opinion on this topic probably arises from the fact that I'm not sure exactly what I want to do in my career (and I know I am not alone in that with my generation). What I have learned is that I can wear many scientific hats and still do well enough. I want others in the scientific community to be a bit more receptive to crossing traditional boundaries of disciplines.

    2. As you see from the "so you don't want to be a bench chemist" category to the left, I routinely think about these issues and challenge chemists to think about those careers and their positives and negatives.

      That said, I approach things from my perspective, which is that I'm a chemist, I work in a lab (mostly) and I enjoy doing it. (Also, that when I go to C&EN, I expect to look at positions for which they need *chemists*, not doctors or nurses or whatever.)

      Best of luck with your career path -- feel free to e-mail at chemjobber -at- gmail/dot/com if you would like to converse more.