Well, we made it to the weekend. I hope that your week was relatively stress-free and that you have a great Saturday and Sunday. See you on Monday.
Via the New York Times, a pretty interesting article about tech entrepreneurs leaving the Bay Area for elsewhere, with numbers to show for it:
...The biggest tech companies aren’t going anywhere, and tech stocks are still soaring. Apple’s flying-saucer-shaped campus is not going to zoom away. Google is still absorbing ever more office space in San Jose and San Francisco. New founders are still coming to town.
But the migration from the Bay Area appears real. Residential rents in San Francisco are down 27 percent from a year ago, and the office vacancy rate has spiked to 16.7 percent, a number not seen in a decade.
Though prices had dropped only slightly, Zillow reported more homes for sale in San Francisco than a year ago. For more than a month last year, 90 percent of the searches involving San Francisco on moveBuddha were for people moving out.
Twitter, Yelp, Airbnb and Dropbox have tried to sublease some of their San Francisco office space. Pinterest, which has one of the most iconic offices in town, paid $90 million to break a lease for a site where it planned to expand. And companies like Twitter and Facebook have announced “work from home forever” plans...
I have long asserted that the Bay Area's dominance in the American life sciences space will continue unchecked, and it would take an epic natural disaster to change that. While I don't think the pandemic measures up, it certainly is doing its part to push people elsewhere. I still think that San Francisco will maintain its pre-eminence (1A to Boston's #1, IMO), but we shall see.
It would be interesting to know who exactly is leaving, i.e. the people who were successful in tech entrepreneurship, or those who were not?
From a recently hired entry-level PhD organic chemist (let's call them HQN), this helpful information:
Small/med pharma - med chem, SF: was quoted at 110-120k typical base pay, plus relocation (amount unknown)
Small pharma Boston, med chem and process: 90-100k (medium confidence on this one, this is thru the grapevine for previous hires within past few years, but nothing current right now)
Large pharma companies, med chem or process positions, Boston, Philly, Bay Area, Chicago: 115-120k base for very competitive applicants. Offers also typically included some type of sign-on bonus (10k+), as well as relo. I know a few people that fell into this category, and they were really lucky because they had multiple offers in hand and let companies actively ‘bid’ against one another.
Before receiving offers, these individuals were quoted at “97-115k” for typical base salaries.
CMO, [redacted], process: (90k?)-100k base, plus very generous relocation. (100k base was my offer, but i got stuck in the “whoever goes first, loses” camp. I did get to name my price and they met it. Glassdoor said that the range was more like 80-90k, so I thought my ask was decent. Probably could have gotten more but alas… idk how much more I could have actually gotten anyway, and without another offer immediately in hand, I kinda felt I didn't have good leverage to ask for more now. I am assuming that 90k is actual low end of the range here, but not confident on that.
Small pharma NJ, med chem: ~92k base, 5k signing bonus in lieu of relocation.
For context, I would suggest that those who are entertaining offers really consider relocation vs signing bonus (ideally, one could negotaite for both, but if foregoing relo, think VERY hard about the actual relocation costs associated). I've heard general murmurings that sometimes companies will forego relocation packages (something to do with setting a precedent for them? idk), in lieu of a sign on bonus. I had originally thought that the NJ offer was decent, but i turned it down just because it wasnt the right company for me. In hindsight, my current relo is lavish, and the 'signing bonus' from other company would have basically ONLY covered my lease break and nothing else.
CMO, Boston suburbs, salary range quoted was around ~80-85k iirc. I had originally asked HR for 100-110, and they said that salary would be for someone 1-2 levels above entry level PhD - their rationale was “we’re in the suburbs so CoL is different” but that still struck me as low for the greater Boston metro area.
Thanks to HQN for their kind contribution! Readers, would you like to contribute? You can add in the comments, or e-mail me at email@example.com
Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 24 new positions for December 21.
Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company list, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.
|Credit: St. Louis Art Museum|
DuPont has signed a letter of intent to sell its 74,000 m2 Chestnut Run lab campus in Wilmington, Delaware, to MRA Group, a science-focused real estate development firm. The companies did not disclose financial details.DuPont will lease several lab buildings at the site from MRA, which plans to convert Chestnut Run into a tech hub emphasizing chemistry, life sciences, and advanced materials. DuPont will retain its adjacent office space, home of the firm’s corporate headquarters since it moved from downtown Wilmington in 2014......A former DuPont site in Wilmington is being redeveloped as Barley Mill Plaza, a 56,000 m2 mixed-use facility. DuPont says extensive restructuring in recent years has left it with empty labs and offices in Wilmington. The firm employed around 3,000 people in Delaware in 2020, down from 7,000 in late 2015, according to IndustryWeek.
The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 248 research/teaching positions and 29 teaching assistant professor positions.Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.
From the inbox:
The Trant Lab at the University of Windsor is looking for a motivated postdoctoral fellow; the position is initially for 1-year and renewable indefinitely based on satisfactory performance at $40,000/year. The candidate should have significant experience (from their doctoral work, industrial career, or previous postdoctoral work) in multi-step small molecule synthesis, medicinal chemistry, or process chemistry. Individuals from under-represented groups are especially encouraged to apply.
This includes ethnic, religious, sexual, disability, and gender minorities as well as first-generation university students (those whose parents do not hold university degrees). Individuals who have faced obstacles that have hindered their education and productivity are encouraged to apply. We are looking for a good colleague with strong problem solving and outstanding teamwork skills: a flashy CV full of top-journal publications is not necessary, please do not self-select out. The position is expected to start as soon as filled.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested:
The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 51 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).From Dr. Josephson: This year we will try to utilize the list further by circulating among the professors, as well as using the hashtags #facultychemEjobs and #MeettheCandidatesChE2020.
The Academic Staff Jobs list has 91 positions.This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
|Credit: Calculated Risk|
The broader U6 measurement of unemployment was 11.7%, down from 12.1% in November.
The chemical manufacturing subsector saw a rise in positions from 835200 in November to 835800 in December, a rise of 600 positions (seasonally adjusted).
The unemployment rate of college graduates was 3.8% for December 2020, while by contrast the unemployment rate for people without a high school diploma was 9.8%.
...Smell alerts the brain to the mundane, like dirty clothes, and the risky, like spoiled food. Without this form of detection, “people get anxious about things,” Dr. Dalton said.Even worse, some Covid-19 survivors are tormented by phantom odors that are unpleasant and often noxious, like the smells of burning plastic, ammonia or feces, a distortion called parosmia.Eric Reynolds, a 51-year-old probation officer in Santa Maria, Calif., lost his sense of smell when he contracted Covid-19 in April. Now, he said, he often perceives foul odors that he knows don’t exist. Diet drinks taste like dirt; soap and laundry detergent smell like stagnant water or ammonia.“I can’t do dishes, it makes me gag,” Mr. Reynolds said. He’s also haunted by phantom smells of corn chips and a scent he calls “old lady perfume smell.”
Weird/fascinating how smell is related to our nervous system, and how the virus has altered it for some. I imagine we'll eventually get a handle on this, but it won't come soon enough...
I wonder what the corn chips thing is about - olfactory nerve phantom pain?
When Elena Parisi, an engineer, left Italy at age 22 to pursue a career in London five years ago, she joined the vast ranks of talented Italians escaping a sluggish job market and lack of opportunities at home to find work abroad.
But in the past year, as the coronavirus pandemic forced employees around the world to work from home, Ms. Parisi, like many of her compatriots, seized on the opportunity to really go home, to Italy.
In between Zoom meetings and her other work for a recycling company in London, she took long strolls on the beach near her family’s home in Palermo, Sicily, and talked recipes at dawn with vendors in the local market.
“The quality of life is a thousand, thousand times better here,” said Ms. Parisi, who is now in Rome.
I imagine that there are some chemists who may have been able to return home (wherever that may be) due to the pandemic, but how long will that last?
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,
Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
From along-time denizen of chemistry Twitter Anthony Maiorana comes a new newsletter, the Polymerist. This is a long and interesting post about good approaches to job hunting, and I agree with all of it. I found these questions pretty amusing:
In every technical presentation I’ve given I have had to answer questions from the audience. In crafting your presentation you should know many of the logical questions. If you are really good you can lead the audience with what questions you want them to ask and have the answer on the next slide.
Sometimes you get asked ridiculous questions that have no bearing on what you are presenting about. This might happen during the presentation or it might happen during 1-on-1 interviews with team members or non-team members. An example might be:
The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 242 research/teaching positions and 27 teaching assistant professor positions.Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.
We have two PDF positions in medicinal chemistry, immediate start
The successful candidate will support an ongoing medicinal chemistry program by synthesizing small drug-like molecules in a hit-to-lead optimization campaign.
Interested candidates will have a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry and a demonstrated record of problem-solving skills in the context of small molecule synthesis.
Responsibilities and skills:
We offer a competitive post-doctoral salary and benefits.
Interested applicants should contact professor Orellana by e-mail with a CV, detailed research summary and references.
Best wishes to those interested.
The Life Sciences concentration at Soka University of America (SUA) seeks to fill a full-time visiting assistant professorship in Organic Chemistry, beginning on August 16, 2021.This is a one-year position. The successful candidate will demonstrate the ability to engage students in small classroom and laboratory settings. This position will support SUA’s new Concentration in Life Sciences housed in a new state-of the-art science teaching and research facility.
The teaching responsibilities of this position include developing and teaching Organic Chemistry courses (I and II) and general education courses for non-science students. All courses should involve students via project-based and active learning approaches suitable for small class sizes. The teaching load per academic year is five courses. This individual will also be responsible for operating, maintaining, and training users on our new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer. We anticipate hiring a tenure-track Organic Chemistry professor in the next few years.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.
The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 48 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).From Dr. Josephson: This year we will try to utilize the list further by circulating among the professors, as well as using the hashtags #facultychemEjobs and #MeettheCandidatesChE2020.
The Academic Staff Jobs list has 88 positions.This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
Sabrina Burns, a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, had thought she would be launching a lucrative career in the oil and gas industry when she graduated in a few months. But the collapse in the demand for oil and gas during the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted her well-laid plans and is forcing her to consider a new path.“We got a slap in the face, an entirely unforeseen situation that rocked our entire mind-set,” said Ms. Burns, who is studying petroleum engineering. “I have applied for every oil and gas position I’ve seen, like all my classmates, and nothing really has turned up. I’m discouraged.”With fewer people commuting and traveling, the oil and gas industry has taken a punishing blow. Oil companies have laid off more than 100,000 workers. Many businesses have closed refineries, and some have sought bankruptcy protection......Ms. Burns, 22, said her choices have narrowed considerably over the last nine months. With opportunities in oil and gas limited, she recently accepted an internship with an engineering consulting firm specializing in energy conservation, and she may eventually apply to graduate school in environmental science. She is also considering moving in with her sister after graduation to save money.“I feel like companies are going to be pretty cautious about coming out of this, about taking new hires,” she said.Ms. Burns was enticed into an oil and gas career by stories her father, a helicopter pilot, told her about the successful female engineers he had met servicing offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. But while her professors have talked up the future for oil and gas companies, she is worried.
This must be a near-historically-bad time to be an entry-level petroleum worker, i.e. there's the problem of the pandemic, and there are also cross-pressures in the broader energy industry. I'm a bit surprised that her professors didn't seem to warn her about the up-and-down nature of oil and gas, but perhaps they sent missed signals.
I presume that the same issues that have hit Ms. Burns have also hit the various chemists who work in and around the oil and gas industry. Best wishes to them, and to all of us.
What's the job market like for chemists? Dude -- it's always bad.*
How bad is it? How the heck should I know? Quantifying the chemistry job market is what this blog is about. That, and helping chemists find jobs.
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(*For the literal-minded, this is a joke. Mostly.)