Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ACS job fair numbers from #ACSAnaheim

Love the plush green carpet.
Photo credit: Carmen Drahl, C&EN.

Good morning! Thanks to intrepid (and very kind!) C&EN reporter Carmen Drahl, we have news (and a photo) of the white board numbers from the ACS Anaheim Career Fair:

39 employers
182 positions
746 job seekers

Looks not half bad. Not the high of Boston (fall 2010, 68 employers), but not the low of Salt Lake City either (spring 2009, 32 employers.)

The all-time high seeker/position ratio (of a grand n = 4) was close to 10:1 of Spring 2010 in the Bay Area. (Maybe a graphic representation tomorrow? Suggestions?)

Good luck to all of those looking for a job in Anaheim.


  1. OMG, why is the display so ghetto?! 746/182 = 4...not atrocious, but not great either.

  2. A5:55a: If not ironical, a serious answer: it's always been that ghetto.

  3. Are there any statistics on how many people get positions from the national meetings?

  4. I'm curious whether you have any data from meetings between 2000 and 2008? Also, that thing Unstable Isotope said. I know someone who got a job from an interview at a national meeting, but this was before our economy got deep-sixed so I'm curious what the statistics were before and after.

  5. One great way to screen for specialized jobs in academia and industry is to track the recent grant awards. There is a hot new resource, called the IARP project - It tracks the NIH, European Commission and many other grant sources. If you use the search with specific keywords and then rank by years, it shows the most recent grant awards in that area. Including SBIR and European Commission business grants.

  6. Damn, that sign *is* ghetto- both display and content. But the entire ACS meeting in SLC was infinitely more ghetto!

  7. On a serious note, what does it matter? As long as it delivers the information, I can't really complain. Would you rather they spent more dues money on it?

    Here's the thing that I'll note: I don't think ACS Careers gets very much financial support from ACS itself. That's a travesty.

  8. @CJ and Eka: How much longer until "day chemists" become available for hire in Home Depot/Loews parking lots?

    I agree with CJ's second point. Although the free webinars are nice, ACS could provide more funding towards career development initiatives instead of paying Rudy Baum to go jet-setting and complain about his transit times! :-P

  9. I received two job offers from the ACS career fair in Salt Lake City (I'm an MS associate). A associate friend of mine got offers in Spring 2007 to work for BMS and up in Groton (market for associates was quite good then). I also knew of associates who got offers to work for Wyeth (when it existed) via the ACS job fair.

    From my experience - it definitely helps to get face time with the recruiter and talk about your chemistry rather than posting an resume online.

    I will say though - this seems to be more for associates - who tend to come from all over the country and from all sorts of schools. I've never seen any big pharma recruiting PhD's at an ACS career fair - although I've only been attending since 2008.

    But, yes, people do get on-site interviews and offers from contacts made at the meeting.

  10. From my limited experience, I would concur with Anon5:06 regarding the "preference" for hiring MS- and BS-level chemists at ACS Meetings. I know three former classmates from grad school who, upon deciding to leave with their Masters, eventually secured job offers after interviewing at ACS Meetings during the middle of this decade (yeah, yeah...when times were still good). I guess the job fair at an ACS Meeting could provide networking opportunities that are otherwise unavailable to those not attending super-prestigious programs.

    I'm not trying to sound snobby, but the dry-erase board is really tacky, considering that the ACS is supposed to be the "world's largest professional scientific organization". Although the penmanship is readable, that board is totally scuffed-up (Carmen's camera has good resolution). I've seen better signage at country fairs. It's a convention center, at least have a real-time tally projected on screens!

    I wouldn't be surpried if a "career bulletin board" is set up at ACS Denver 2011, complete with fringed paper postings (you know, with the removable contact info tabs at the bottom).

    Anyway CJ, were you ever annoyed by the long lines for free food and booze at the Sci-Mixes?

  11. Just to explain, and echo anon 6:32pm:

    Yes, it is petty, but it speaks volumes about the professionalism of the entire enterprise. Go check out a job fair for MBAs, or government positions, or banks. Or hell, even the Avon lady.

    Moreover, this is the fundamental problem of chemists transitioning into other careers- our professionalism is way, way sub-par. We sneer at "project managers," MBAs and HR hacks, but they are infinitely more employable than all of us, and we would do well to pay attention.

  12. A6:32p: I confess that I've never actually attended one. I know, I'm a bad convention-goer. I'd rather eat dinner, wander, drink and go to bed, ya know?

  13. Employable and attractive are not equal to useful.

    Professional doesn't imply only a certain level of coherence and style, but also a profession - the ability to do something useful. The ability to convince people of the worth of your wares is a useful skill only if you have something of value to sell - and often, the higher one's ability to sell, the lower the worth of what one has to sell. Data and utility uber alles.

    If I can't tell people what I do and why it's important, well, then they don't have much reason to want to hire me, or work with me, or whatever. Those skills are useful - they're part of the relationships that make us human. Our economic world isn't suffering, though, from a lack of eloquence and attractiveness, but from a lack of substance and honesty. The people you cite, well, they have the ability to be emolliently dishonest, but if that's a necessity to be employable, then getting a job is unlikely to be the greatest of our problems.

    I think it wouldn't be hard to make the booth nicer, but I don't think I would care if I needed a job and could find one there. I don't know that it would drive off employers - if you need chemistry people, well, it's where they are. I don't know that it's disrespectful, and in that case, why spend money and effort if it doesn't matter?


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