Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010 C&EN Back-to-School Issue Analysis: type of faculty opening

by Chemjobber. See post for footnotes and methodology.

As promised, we're going to take a little closer look at the 88 or so postings in the September 13, 2010 issue of C&EN. I counted the different positions and classified them as best I can; the tabulated results are above, with the spreadsheet here.

From just the ads, you can see that organic professors and professors doing things with either the energy or the environment are in high demand. If you added up the positions that were "bio-hyphenated" (as one of the universities put it), you'd have a goodly number of those positions as well.

*I did my best to shoehorn very odd positions into either the more recognized field, or I dumped it into the "Any" category. The "Any" category is pretty catchall, including ads/positions that said things like "we're interested in candidates excellent in p-chem, biochem and supernanotechnologychem." An analysis of the "any" category is coming tomorrow (or tomorrow or tomorrow). (UPDATE: See below.) Also, there were probably more than 29 positions in the category, as some universities announced their intentions to hire more than one assistant professor.

**There were more than 10 energy/environment positions as well, as some universities announced their intentions to hire more than one assistant professor.

UPDATE: As you can see from the above graph, the "any" category is not too different from the overall picture. Interesting how many organic chemistry profs are desired...


  1. Just spent some time looking at the webpages of some synthesis groups I am familiar with. They all of them have the same, or even more grad students than they did 5-7 years ago. Ten or 15 fresh-faced youngsters, lining up to be unemployment fodder. Has the news not trickled down to them yet? Are they all assuming things will get better before they finish? Are they as naive as I was back then? Scary, and sad for everyone involved.

  2. I know... My undergraduate more than doubled the number of BS degrees in is awarding in chemistry. Don't these schools have any conscience? Did you see the C&EN issue describing that the number of chemistry graduates is increasing? All these young people lining up to satisfy the 'shortage of scientists' this country is facing.

  3. 3:52--If you mean synthesis groups that are name brands (as opposed to ones you just know someone at) i wouldn't worry. It's the small groups you haven't heard of that have a hard time placing people.

    7:22--An undergraduate chem degree is a lot more flexible than a PhD... many might be headed for med school, which is a 'safe' option today.

    Conversely, what's a 'safer' major? Sociology? Communications? Engineering's the only thing i would guess that has reliable employment.

  4. hell, I'll be an org. chem. professor. I love to teach. I would probably expect these numbers to get worse in future though. Noone wants to do these jobs due to the stuff that you don't see behind the scenes. It's alright teaching more chemists if there are jobs for them but seriously are there jobs for chemists out there really? Also, I feel the era of the chemistry professor is past there are more and more "disposable chemists" with BScs filling jobs and less jobs for PhD grads. The desire to learn and research and delve deep into science is being overshadowed by the need to reap the monetary reward.

  5. bad wolf- I was referring to marquee names that I have personal connections to. Even some big names are struggling to find adequate jobs for their students, so "hey! why not do *another* postdoc?" is becoming far too common a refrain....

  6. @OrganicOverdose Great, you try producing more "disposable" chemists. You feel secure in your academic job, hidden away from the real world. (That is if you get a job, competition is pretty stiff). It is really difficult when you see 'used-up' chemists at all educational levels with many many years experience not able to find jobs. I guess there will always be an endless supply due to people like you who will cheer for more chemists to serve their own self-interests. If I were you I wouldn't breathe easy unless you happen to make tenure. You are no more safe of being labeled a "disposable" chemist within your careeer then the rest of us.

  7. Uh, that was exactly his point. Did you read this line?

    It's alright teaching more chemists if there are jobs for them but seriously are there jobs for chemists out there really?


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