Wednesday, September 18, 2013

So what would you ask a ACS presidential candidate?

If the comments to Monday's post on ACS presidential candidates' statements on #chemjobs issues, a commenter had a good suggestion:
You should formulate your own survey with a few specific questions on how they think ACS can impact the employment market. Send it out and see if you get any response. Just say that you represent a blog focused on chemistry and science employment market and see what happens. After all, despite the hackneyed statements, this looks like three very different people--one a long time govt lab employee, one high up in a huge corporation, and one the head of a small business. Would be interesting if you could get them to say anything and how different their perspectives would be.
That sounds like a great idea. Here are the 2 questions I plan to ask the candidates:
  • Which ACS program do you think best helps the job-seeking ACS member? How would you improve it? 
  • How would you describe ACS' response to the Great Recession and the increase in unemployment amongst its members? How should ACS respond to similar situations in the future? 
Readers, what would be your questions? I plan to submit 4 questions to the candidates -- that leaves 2 slots open, but if there are questions that are better than mine (and there will be!) I would be happy to substitute. 

(Perhaps to increase our bona fides, we could note whether or not we were members. For the record, I am an ACS member.) 


  1. I, a long lapsed ACS member, would ask:

    "Each ACS president candidate, for at least the past decade, knows the challenging job market facing ACS members and inevitably speaks of 'growing jobs in the US. SPECIFICALLY, what TANGIBLE STEPS would you take to increase the number of chemistry jobs in the US, and is this something you think is really achievable or something you just think sounds good".

    Second, "Offshoring (an 'inshoring' in the case of AMRI/LLY) of US chemistry jobs to lower wage states (IN, in the case of AMRI/LLY). Without using the terms 'dialogue', 'encourage', or 'lobby' how SPECIFICALLY would you alter this dynamic to benefit chemists in the US".

  2. Is the ACS policy to get more students to study in STEM field, specifically chemistry? If so, how do reconcile the fact that wages for chemists are stagnant or falling? Does this argue against the idea of a STEM shortage and the need for more STEM students?

  3. Should we be considering fundamentally altering the academic funding system such that it encourages long term employment of technicians and researchers rather than creating an exponentially growing number of graduate students and post-docs?

  4. To ensure timely response please address your questions directly to me.

  5. Do you believe that the ACS should fundamentally represent US-American chemist members or all members in the job market?

    1. What we have to do is have good relationships with the industries and governments of China, India, and South Korea, not just with Eastern and Western Europe. I think the ACS has a role to play in that. I think that we can continue to give our members the continuing education and life-long learning skills to enable them to have overseas assignments. I think our career services do help people through transitions, but we have to look at that to see if they are the right services in a global economy. Then we can give our members more tools in their tool kit to adjust. If they do lose their jobs, then we have to have the right kind of services to help them retool and get other jobs.

    2. Wow. Such a compelling narrative , in a Joel Osteen kind of way, Medellin. Have you thought of heading a mega-church? But then again, that would not give you the salary you have now.

    3. Christ, if only we had their numbers.


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