Friday, October 30, 2009

Job outlook for chemists: grim?

The news today is that US GDP rose 3.5% for the 3rd quarter of 2009. Good news, I think, even if most folks are attributing it to the stimulus package.

Unfortunately, all the talk is about a "jobless recovery"; for example, the Federal Reserve is worried that the pace of economic "was unlikely to reduce the unemployment rate appreciably." Worse, there's now talk of a "job-loss recovery", where companies continue to shed jobs while growth and/or profits come back.

I'm on record thinking that the job outlook for R&D chemists will pick up in late 2010 -- I don't see any reason (other than pique) to change my opinion. Take that one-year master's or take that postdoc and ride this bad boy out.


  1. 2010 is very optimistic. I'd say that 2012 is the bottom of the market for chemists after the large bulk of patents expire and generics begin their foothold. The market after then could only get better, like a fat, ugly woman could only look better on a sunny day in December. lol.

  2. Once pharma has gotten used to lower levels of chemists, are they ever going to come back to their former levels? I think a lot of big pharma companies have gotten rid of entire departments, and once the downturn is over, they may not open them again. They're getting more accustomed to outsourcing their research (both overseas and at biotechs and contract manufacturing) and not having to deal in house R&D.

    That's why I gave up and got out of science, rather than trying to hold on until the downturn is over. I'm not convinced it's ever coming back, at least not at the old levels.

  3. I lean towards Karen's pessimism although trust will turn around.

    Problem with people extending Masters or Post-docs is that when/if jobs start to appear there will still be competition with many who took similar "holding" pattern. If one can be found I think "any" industrial position or internship even if overqualified would provide more valuable experience. If nothing else apply to Wall Street even if not an Ivy Leaguer.

    CMC guy

  4. I think Karen has said this far better than I have.

  5. And she said less offensively.

  6. Sorry, the offensiveness of that comment was to highlight the offensiveness of chemjobber's positive outlook at the end of 2010. It's very stupid to think even an increase in jobs at that point really means much after so many jobs have been lost. Sometimes a shocking metaphor is what is needed, sorry to offend all those who prefer to be civil. I thank Karen for keeping it civil for those who can't comprehend jokes on the internet. I'm not sorry for the comment either,lol.

  7. Sorry, the offensiveness of that comment was to highlight the offensiveness of chemjobber's positive outlook at the end of 2010.

    Sorry, AlchemX, you can't get away with this - two wrongs don't make a right. Your metaphor was in poor taste, and I think you know it.

    That being said, I find your (civil) comments to be a useful counterweight to my relative optimism and I'm not offended at all that you find my prediction 'stupid.' Your prediction is more substantive than mine.

    For what it's worth, I think it's hilarious that my mild comment that jobs may pick up in late 2010 is viewed as outrageous Pollyannaism.

  8. Pollyannaism is a very good word for such excessive optimism. I just showed some of my fellow grad students the >55K job losses in pharma that will begin to occur in a few months (Pfizer/Wyeth, Merck/Shering Plough, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and J&J to name a few) pollyannaism is all I got from them. Even despite the growth in jobs overseas, that didn't stop the speed of the roto-vaps and tube collecting. I think you're right, my offensive jokes will not shock the reality into many grad students. I think the job market will do that for them. At that moment, my offensive comment will rather innocuous in comparison to the giant joke that is graduate school.

  9. There was a joke in that drivel? And it was suppose to highlight his offensive optimism?????

    You only succeeded in looking like a shockingly stupid, insensitive drama queen.

    Take your need for attention and go work it out on a therapist's couch.

  10. "There was a joke in that drivel?"

    I thought it was apropos.


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