...Two recent events sparked my interest in this topic of where young talent develops and emerges in our industry. A good friend and “greybeard” med chemist forwarded me a note from a chemistry professor who was trying to find a spot for his “best student”, a new PhD chemist. I said we tended to not hire new graduates into our portfolio, but was saddened to hear of this star pupil’s job challenge. Shortly after that, I had dinner with a senior chemist from Big Pharma. He said the shortest-tenured chemist on his 30+ person team was 15-year veteran. His group had shrunk in the past and had never rehired. Since hiring a “trainee” post-doc chemist “counted” as an FTE on their books, they haven’t even implemented the traditional fellowship programs that exist elsewhere. Stories like these abound.
This is exactly what worries me, as the seeds are being sown for a major talent crisis in our industry...I'm pretty sure that I had this exact conversation on the phone with a friend of mine in either 2009 or 2010. Oh, well, I hate it when I'm right sometimes.
Read the whole thing -- it's quite good and there's a lot to think about there. I'll be writing more about this post, since it really talks about some important issues, especially for younger Ph.D. chemists who wish to work in small molecule pharma.