Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pharma labor market looking up? Really?

From my personal non-CJ inbox a week ago, a note from the managing partner of Klein Hersh International, a big life sciences recruiting firm:
A lot of media attention in 2011 has been has been devoted to the BLS (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) Unemployment Report.  You may have wondered, "What are the implications for my industry, Life Sciences?" 
Since we are winding down 2011 and looking forward to 2012, I wanted to share some brief perspective from Klein Hersh International with you.  
As a niche provider of executive search and consulting services specifically targeting the Life Sciences vertical for the past 12 years, we have experienced six consecutive record breaking months.  
As our business has traditionally been a leading indicator of what is to come from a broader macroeconomic perspective, we feel that we are in the early stages of tremendous reinvigorated growth in the Life Sciences.  We see and feel further reinforcement as we speak daily with thousands of hiring managers, key decision makers, and top professionals in the industry.  We are collaborating with these people right now to bolster their teams for strategic growth, and / or personal career enhancement to be best positioned for this growth in 2012 and beyond.  
Below is an update about the broader employment market in November, which reflects slow but consistent overall economic recovery.  Not exactly consistent with what is reported in the media, is it?  Typically, the belief is that life sciences companies have very different pressure than the broader economy and employment market. But what do you think?  As you begin to build and execute your talent plans for 2012, we hope you'll engage with us further in this dialogue. 
Any feedback is welcome.
Josh Albert
Managing Partner
Klein Hersh International
Huh. I don't think there's any really compelling reason for them to lie, but I find this to be not really what I'm seeing from the broader macroeconomic trends. While I do see some positive signs in the overall labor market, I think I see far more threats (Europe, outsourcing, pipeline problems, decreasing labor force participation) than I see promising signs. Nope, don't see it at all.

Best wishes to all of us.


  1. I wonder if they are including temporary and/or contract positions as part of this reinvigorated growth.

  2. I wonder how they define recordbreaking growth. It is easy to experience recordbreaking growth if hiring resumes after years of steep decline. Some companies may have fired such a high % of their workforce they really can't function any more. Let's say a department has 5 people to handle all the workload. They fire 4. Some time later they hire 1. A year later they hire 2 more - voila, explosive growth! We doubled hiring in just one year!

    The other factor that may impact their observations is a shift from lower to higher turnover in Life Science field. Now we have 4 people in the department dealing with a workload designed for 5 - and they are not quite reaching the goals. Let's fire them all and hire 4 new workers. Hey, we doubled hiring yet again!

  3. Like the fortune cookie game, it all makes more sense if you add "in China" to the end of everything he says.

  4. I would take what Mr. Albert states with a huge grain of salt. He is as unprofessional as they come in the recruiting world (and that does say quite a bit). I’ve had one bad experience with him, and have heard from other colleagues about similar experiences.

    Mr. Albert seemed to burst onto the scene in Pharma recruiting about 6 years ago and was soon contacting everyone (and I mean everyone) in our department by phone/email on a regular basis. Back in 2005/2006 the market was still pretty decent, so he had all the jobs in the world available (according to him) and seemed to know what he was talking about – dropping name after name. When you actually talked to anyone about it, they would say the same thing, the guy calls/emails non-stop, but few actually knew him.

    Anyway, I decided to change jobs (on my own) in 2005 and soon after taking the job, my new employer decided to stop internal R&D and shut the site down. So, I was looking for a new job and Mr. Albert contacted me regarding some openings he was working on. None of the openings fit, but he did put me in contact with a “personal friend” (which wasn’t too personal, just an acquaintance). Anyway, after talking, there was a fit for me and the company and I was offered a position. While this was going on, I was also working with my own contacts and was fortunate to receive multiple offers (different time than now). I decided to take one particular offer (not the one through Mr. Albert’s contact) and was planning on contacting all of my offers to personally let them know I was accepting another offer. Mr. Albert called about the offer and I had told him I had not decided (although I had, I wanted to personally speak with the chemists) – unbeknownst to me, had been going behind my back and had deduced that I had accepted a job with a different company. He then spoke with his contact company and stated I had taken a job and wasn’t going to let them know about it? And then, to top it off, he calls me practically yelling at me about how unprofessional I was. So, I had to go back and smooth things over with the other companies with the intent of not burning any bridges. This is not an isolated incident. Lesson learned…only give pertinent information, nothing more.

  5. A9:47a: That's not cool. Sorry to hear it.

  6. I got that email too.

    Also when my division was shut down in 2008, I got repeated calls from another individual at Klein-Hersch. The first call was 15min after the announcement of the division shut-down was complete. I found his timing distasteful and disrespectful, and did not call him back. A number of my other colleagues had also gotten repeated calls from him. I wonder if a senior manager had leaked a list for a pretty penny.

    After receiving multiple calls from him, I finally talked with him. He had nothing but contract jobs on the other side of the country. By that time I had been laid off, and had begun to apply to jobs. He seemed most interested in obtaining a complete list of all jobs I had already applied to. When I made the mistake of telling him of one, he kept calling me back asking if I knew if the position at that company had been filled.

    Indeed the position had been filled, I got the position, with no help from him. After reading 9:47am I am wondering if he had tried to slime his candidates in by bad-mouthing me. Perhaps I could have negotiated a better salary if I had not made that mistake.

    The guy was unethical. Since this incident he got a promotion at K-H. I would not have anything to do with him or his colleagues.

  7. There's something strange and form lettery about that message. If Mr. Albert is paying attention to your site, and I would think that he is, then he would want to address some of your concerns a little more personally, lest he look like he is trying to sell something. This letter looks like a PR statement. There's probably a lot of competition with other recruiters, so this letter tried to position them as the "best." Moreover, as Anon 9:47 says, Mr. Albert is definitely into competition by any means, so this letter being sent to blogs who are connected to job-seekers is just part of the drill. The "numbers" might be true, but what does "record breaking" mean in terms for getting rid of this surplus of talent? CJ's observations usually go much deeper than the simple BLS stats.

    I can attest that Mr. Albert helped a friend of mine get a job where he needed one to be with his wife, so he can't be all bad.

  8. Actually, that was my personal e-mail, not to the blog. The [brackets] were my notation that my actual name was used.

  9. I got one of these too, and it made me laugh a little. (I'm sure they're sending them out to everyone on their mailing list.) However, one of the other recruiters at the firm got me 3 job offers over the years so I can't knock them too much. I think you have to be slightly overconfident/delusional to be a recruiter.

  10. The key in dealing with recruiters is to remember that they are working for themselves and not for you when it comes to 'finding' you a job. If they have several folks on their rosters that are more qualified or look better on paper, your name isn't the one that's getting submitted, most likely.

    I had one recruiter be totally honest with me when I told her I was looking at possible alternate careers. She said that recruiters look to put the most qualified people in opening, and that their clients have very specific needs and aren't looking for folks to train. Basically, they aren't here help people start new careers, but simply fill slots with people with those specific skill sets and experience. I appreciated her honesty on that one...


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