Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Starting chemist salary at gold refiners' in Jackson, Ohio? $25,000

Via the Wall Street Journal*, more anecdata about how we do not have a shortage of chemists in this country (emphasis mine): 
JACKSON, Ohio—Building contractor Alan Stockmeister is known around town for his stewardship of local businesses: radio stations, a movie theater and a bank, for example. But nothing has been quite like his refinery just off Main Street, which has become an outpost in the multibillion-dollar global gold trade. 
Ohio Precious Metals LLC owns one of five refineries in the U.S.—there are 73 world-wide—certified to melt scrap gold and pour it into ingots that can be traded on global markets. OPM’s more than 170 workers process several billion dollars a year in gold and silver headed for banks and jewelers in New York, London and Shanghai... 
...Mr. Stockmeister, 62 years old, who took over his father’s small construction business, wasn’t particularly interested in gold or recycling when he bought OPM a decade ago. His goal was to protect and create local jobs, he says. When he heard that the assistant manager at a local Wendy’s had a chemistry degree, Mr. Stockmeister gave him a job. Starting wages for entry-level chemists at OPM are $25,000 a year. Engineers start at $45,000. 
Gold from all over the world arrives in this city of 7,200 people in UPS envelopes and armored trucks. The plant, about two hours east of Cincinnati, is ringed by barbed wire. Employees pass through metal detectors and put their shoes through an X-ray machine. Violating the “no metals in, no metals out” policy can result in dismissal...
For some reason, I am inclined to wonder if there's some sort of typo here. I hope  OPM is just a really stingy employer (although, not according to Glassdoor) and that they don't actually employ all that many chemists. Also, if Wendy's is the only upwards wage pressure in Jackson, Ohio, there might be a problem.

That said, as long as rock-bottom wages like that exist, I'm going to keep thinking that not all is well with the chemistry job market.

*Can't get to the article without a subscription? Search "Gold Rush in Ohio? Small Town Plays Big Role" and the WSJ website will let you in.

24 comments:

  1. $25K probably goes pretty damn far in Jackson, OH, though. It looks pretty backwoods.

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    1. We can skin a buck and run a trot line...

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    2. Estimated median household income in 2012 was 38,476, according to the American Community Survey. (Census Bureau)

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    3. Damn straight. The worker can buy a used truck and survive comfortably there since it's like a West African country in terms of prices. I hear student loans in Ohio are also about half less too.

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  2. Not if you are anything but a singleton - I live in the big city (Columbus), and while it's significantly cheaper than on the East Coast (NJ, MA), $25 K probably isn't going to work well.

    If my choices are working for $25K refining gold or working as a Wendy's manager in Jackson, I'm taking the third choice - getting the @%^! out. Now. Being a hobo might work out better financially, and working at Wal-Mart probably would. My wife's part-time job with the government (BA - don't know fed level) will make not much less than his pay.

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    1. Accept the 20 K and love frugally......and alone......forever...........

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    2. " love frugally......and alone" is that what you've been doing with your time, then?

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    3. And reading "Evolution of Desire" by David Buss. Might be some good reading for you on your road-trip to the west coast....

      http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Desire-Revised-4/dp/046500802X

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    4. At first glance, the description of the book which you refer to sounded interesting, if not provocative. Then I read the differing reviews of the same. My conclusion is that you are again drifting into hot water, since our female scientist colleagues are obviously not obligated to abide by the hypotheses of David Buss. Along those lines, here is an example of a scientist who very recently got himself into trouble with similar attitudes, but fortunately saw the errors of his ways:
      http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-30055278

      Again, I am male not female, but yet have a lot of respect for the graduate- and undergraduate women with whom I have (recently) worked. The psychology behind their private lives is completely separate from their professional demeanor, and is frankly none of my business.

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    5. So, you prefer the opinions of non-expert reviewers over the hundred's of cited references of David Buss's book? Now you are in "hot water", my friend.

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    6. This is a great blog, and my comment is too snarky and this is not the right forum for it. The persona of "Bring the Movies will forever dissapear from this blog. Good luck in your new job, GC.

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    8. "Along those lines, here is an example of a scientist who very recently got himself into trouble with similar attitudes, but fortunately saw the errors of his ways"

      He got in trouble because he accepted a gift from a female colleague apparently. The whole story is complete garbage and should be ignored. http://time.com/3589392/comet-shirt-storm/

      Back when I was taking a nukelar chemistry class as an undergrad, there was a female, blonde graduate student who was our TA, and who while working at the accelerator which we went to visit, wore an Army of Darkness tight fitting T-shirt, complete with Bruce Campbell's naked ripped chest with a chainsaw in his hand, and a half naked woman in the background. I think most of the unconsciously sexist male nerds in my nukelar chemistry class were in love with her, but only because of the 'Army of Darkness' t-shirt I think.

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    9. Uncle Sam, thanks for drawing my attention to the article on time.com. It is good to see that not all women are radical feminists, especially the article's author. In the ideal world, it would be better to not offend anyone, but personally, I would settle for not offending a significant portion of audience members. I am tempted to contact my former undergrad co-eds and to hear what their take is on "ShirtStorm".

      Regarding "Bring the Movies' " comments on the qualifications of the reviewers of "Evolution of Desire", there were a number of faculty members (in psychology, I think) who contributed, and it is their opinions which IMHO are more credible.

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  3. That makes no sense - according to Glassdoor Wendy's assistant managers start at 27k, and I'd rather do that.

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    1. At "Glassdoor", (a) their staff will e-mail you at non-North American times and (b) they refuse to speak with you over the phone. So my tentative conclusion is that their staff are actually in India, and not in "Sausalito, California", like they claim on their website. Ironic, of course, since the salary findings which you report are actually more typical for India than the US.

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  4. I got a M.Sc and I was offered 30K starting (Canada). Chemistry is sad everywhere you go.

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  5. In the UK, I got turned down for a lab job (MSc level) as the salary I was asking for was too high- 13k GBP (which is about 20k USD)-- it's the minimum wage here or nothing.

    There's plenty of PhDs who'll work for that here.

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    1. A M.Sc chemist gets 30k the same as a business admin (Two years of community college).

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  6. For chemists, can it go any lower? Feel humiliated especially after paying so much for my graduation.

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  7. #9 Anonymous: Agreed. As a chemist in the UK you are treated little better than a serf nowadays. Shameful.

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    1. Actually that was me. Didn't mean to comment under the 'blatnoi' moniker. I should pay more attention to what it says at the bottom especially since I don't write that blog anymore now that I have a real job again. It's always 'uncle sam'... unless I become unemployed again.

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  9. Wow, this salary is not even competitive with grad school these days. That Alan Stockmeister is a piece of shit on the level of chemistry departments who still don't feel ashamed advertising adjunct positions in C&En News (and that's pretty much most of them). And I forbid anyone reading this comment thread from taking a job with him as you might be better off going to grad school and being an adjunct slave. If he wants to sue me for libel, I will be happy to reveal my identity, but I heard that stating the truth (i.e. that a person is shit and it's true), is an absolute defense against libel charges.

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