Monday, December 29, 2008

Chemjobber Index: Jul to Dec 2008

So, thanks to my coworker's magazines and a few days off, I've been able to put together the original Chemjobber data set. It covers issues from late July to mid-December 2008; it does NOT cover all the issues, merely all the issues that I've been able to find lying around the office.

I've tallied number of positions, total ads and total area* in square centimeters for industry, governmental (foreign and domestic) and university positions. For the academic page, I've tallied the type of job. In the long run, I will do the same for the industrial positions by field (analytical, organic, etc.) and position (BS/MS, PhD., whatever).


1. Academic >>>> Industrial >> governmental positions.
There are a lot of tenure-track positions out there -- a lot. The average number of tenure-track professor positions published per week far outstrips total number of industrial positions offered. Governmental positions are few and far between.

It's worth noting that the academic sections' graph actually understate the number of advertised positions, because I did not include the September 8 "Back to School" issue with 154 open tenure-track positions. It is telling that for the issues indexed, there were only ~112 open industrial positions at all levels advertised in C&EN.

2. September? Not so bad. December? Well... There are good hiring months and bad ones; September seems to be pretty good, while December is a terrible time to try to find a job. I suppose that's not such a big surprise. I know there's a cyclical nature to hiring in chemistry, I've just yet to figure out what that is exactly.

3. The market's not so great for working chemists. With the exception of the occasional mass ad, neither chemical companies nor Big Pharma have been seeking new employees. This is not good for either those of the layoff class of fiscal year 2008 or the new grads of academic year 2009. Then again, maybe there will be a turnaround and all of this will be moot. I don't think so, but one can hope.

*I've decided to use total area as the Chemjobber Index number from now on; if it proves not be useful, I'll change it. While it's not perfect, I think it's a good combination of the measure of intensity (willingness to spend money to try to find someone) and the number of positions available (while half-pagers can be used to try to hire one senior-level member, they're also used to hire many people with one ad.)


  1. Hello! I am enjoying your blog so keep up the good work. ;-)

    As for the pharma hiring cycle, here is my experience: it follows the ACS meeting cycle (or perhaps the meetings follow the hiring cycle of the industry if you prefer.)

    Postings for industrial jobs pick up in Feb and March with many of them doing on site interviews at ACS meetings' job fairs. There is a slow decline usually in late spring and then there are hardly any job ads posted at the ACS site during the summer.

    It picks up again in late July and August in time for the fall ACS meeting. The majority of the jobs seem to appear in the fall. (The ACS will occasionally publish numbers.) The fall meetings always have more jobs to interview for but the spring meetings' numbers have been increasing in recent years.

    Academia seems to follow its own cycle. Big schools typically start publishing job ads in the fall (for positions starting the following fall) and start inviting people out for interviews soon after. Many have filled the position by January.

    Smaller schools, especially liberal arts types, tend to start a little later than the big schools and subsequently hire in the first quarter of the year.

  2. Thanks so much for the compliments.

    Yeah, I think you're right about the timing of the cycles. Part of this blog's goal is gathering enough data to make those cycles quantitatively obvious.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20