Thursday, January 14, 2016

Daily Pump Trap: 1/14/16 edition

A few of the positions from C&EN Jobs this week:

Mead, CO: Boulder Scientific looking for an experienced analytical chemist.

Livermore, CA: Sandia is looking for a Ph.D. physical chemist "to establish and grow a capability in applying ultrafast laser spectroscopic methods to the diagnostics of fundamental chemical reactions." Sounds fancy.

South San Francisco, CA: Genentech looking for a B.S./M.S. chemist to do SFC chiral separations.

Basking Ridge, NJ: Lexicon looking for a Ph.D. chemist to work on API development/manufacture.

A broader look: Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed and show (respectively) "1000+", 412 (that's down), 2911 and 17 positions for the search term "chemist." LinkedIn shows 1,642 positions for the job title "chemist", with 169 for "analytical chemist", 25 for "research chemist", 22 for "organic chemist", 9 for "synthetic chemist" and 40 for "medicinal chemist." (whoa.) 


  1. Hi Chemjobber,

    Do you think it would be of interest to current PhD students to also post in the blog about non-research jobs? In especial for non-traditional careers such as: consulting, regulatory science, medical science liaison, policy science (I saw one of those last year, thanks!), patent scientist, technology transfer positions, etc.

    I believe that with the current job market situation, recent closures of research centers of big chemical and pharmaceutical companies, continuous mergers and acquisitions,and low number of tenure-track professor positions compared with the number of PhD graduates, we need to be realistic and show them more opportunities beyond industry research and academic positions.

    My two cents. Than you for keeping this blog!

    1. So on the Daily Pump Trap posts, I tend to post whatever flows in via C&EN Jobs, because that's one of the main conduits for employers to attempt to hire folks in the chemical enterprise (broadly speaking.)

      If there are non-bench positions, I do tend to cover those in the DPT postings.

      Do you have a favorite website to look for non-research jobs?

  2. I use almost the same websites you are using but with different keywords.

    The only one I know that searches non-academic positions is Oystir. I have hear about the Cheeky scientist but I have never use it. Maybe someone else can suggest other resources.

    Thank you for your response!

    1. No problem. I should check out Oystir. I find Cheeky Scientist.......... off-putting.

    2. Im a member of cheeky scientist. If you need a basic, step-by step guide on how to look for jobs in science, its good. But the view there is that networking is absolutely essential, which for me is depressing.

    3. I don't understand why networking (and leveraging your network) should be depressing. Can you elaborate a little?

      It's always something that I have done with minimal effort by surrounding myself with people who share similar professional interests. Even better if we share some non-chemistry interests. I just call it, "making friends at work," or, "meeting cool people outside the lab." It goes without saying that it requires a bit of extroversion.

      Of course, not all networks are equal. Yours or mine might not have the same leverage as Dr. Double-Pedigreed. They're kind of a reflection of yourself in the end.

    4. If networking is used to make friends or to help you improve yourself with your work: I'm all for it.

      What I find disturbing is that it may be the only way (according to cheeky scientist) to get a job in a very competitive job market, such that only if you know someone in the company that likes you you will get a job there, over equally qualified candidates that don't know anybody.

      Cheeky Scientist really pushes this kind of networking as essential; basically saying you will not get a job anywhere you dont know somebody in the company. They suggest sending Linkdlin e-mail and to people in companies that you may want to work for and ask questions about the work...not so much to gain information that may help you with your work, but to befriend somebody who can help you get a job.

      Also, networking at the level that CS suggests you do takes a lot of time.

      I guess I miss the old days when you e-mailed your resume to a company and that would be enough to be considered, and get a job (that happened to me in the year 2000).

    5. I really heartily agree with NMH; this "I have to know a person to get hired" aspect of looking for a job in science 1) I assert is not entirely true, and 2) leads people to do things that are borderline creepy. Are people connecting with me on LinkedIn because they want to get to know me, or I have something they want? (don't answer that.)

      The over-emphasis on networking, at the moment, seems to me to be more evidence of 1) a very loose labor market and 2) a broken labor market that does not emphasize actual scientific/technical skills. Maybe I overstate.

    6. My, likely incorrect, take on most of the talk of 'networking' is that it comes from HR consultants who get paid to talk about how to get hired in field X while never having themselves been hired in field X.

      Having hired and been hired both from cold contact as well as via knowing someone I'd guess it's 50/50. I think real 'networking' (i.e. with people you're actually friends with) does help get jobs, but I'm quite convinced 'networking events' are a waste of time dreamed up by HR drones to make themselves seem relevant.

    7. I'm equally skeptical of networking events to the extent that I have a distaste for the very word "networking." It's a word that conjures machine interactions more than human interactions. On the flip side, I've witnessed such events giving a boost to certain people--less with job searches as with finding resources for their small businesses.

      In terms of positions on the corporate ladders, my "network" is decent. Like biotechreador said, it's still 50/50 (on a good day) in landing a decent job. But more importantly, they--my circle of friends--make chemistry way more fun (and less isolating) than it would otherwise be. I guess that's the most I can hope for.

  3. Yo, C-Jobs, did you see this article from December in Science Careers? I especially like that they emphasized the "what is striking... is the low salaries" quote in there twice for extra emphasis.

    1. Yeah, I did. I found that study to be really, really strange. It was all Midwestern universities, and the median salary they were reporting for Ph.D. industrial chemists in ~2011 was $40-50k. That's really low. Really, really low.

      Short answer: I think there's something wrong with the sampling of chemists there. Either way, someone is wrong, either that study, or the ACS Salary Survey/New Graduate Survey (which I don't really buy all the numbers there, either.)

    2. Law of supply and demand. Perhaps we agree that the ACS survey is biased in that (a) it only counts its own member, and folks who are forced to change career directions likely drop out of the ACS, and (b) to my best knowledge, the ACS survey doesn't distinguish between P/T and F/T employed chemists.

    3. I think that's the total salary for new PhDs and not just the average salary for PhD industrial chemists. They do mention that industry earnings are bigger by an average of 25%, and probably more for the chemistry filed. Plus ~75% of the industry chemists are working in high-wage firms, but it's good to have your perspective on it.