Thursday, December 4, 2014

The GSK news

As you can obviously see, work and life were taking up a lot of time today. As tough as my day was (chemistry on a larger scale not being kind to me), it doesn't hold a candle at all to what has happened at GSK around the world today. There are lots of different write-ups on what happened, but here's what FierceBiotech had to say:
Hobbled by sliding sales of Advair, GlaxoSmithKline's U.S. group started to chop away at its large organization in North Carolina and Philadelphia on Wednesday as Glaxo's North American chief Deirdre Connelly began to outline exactly where the ax will fall. 
The company says that the bulk of the job cuts will be made in Research Triangle Park, NC, slashing R&D as it concentrates drug research work in Philadelphia and Stevenage in the U.K. No exact numbers were reported today by GSK, but the company filed a report with the state noting that it is eliminating 900 jobs. 
A total of 350 of those jobs will go in the first quarter of 2015, with another 450 following in the next three months, GSK noted in its WARN letter. The rest will be pink-slipped later in the year...
From what I can see at In the Pipeline, it appears that people weren't really being given the full details of whether or not they'll have a job, which is a little distressing. From Secret Glaxoid:
I'll confirm: the announcement to staff today was woefully vague. Basically the only thing announced today was the global strategy that we already knew ("yep, cuts are coming, its gonna suck."), followed by individual presentations from management at each site. 
Individual presentation at my site was equally not good at giving any specifics.
I don't think I can say anything to anyone at GSK that they haven't already heard before. (OK, I will make a note that you're not alone in this, and other chemists have been where you are before.)

My best wishes to you and to all of us. 


  1. I am puzzled, CJ, how you can reconcile this event, which will certainly lead to at least temporary unemployment for the concerned colleagues, with Obama's position on immigrant scientists, which you covered some days ago. I hope that you will agree that this is amounts to another example of either putting more water in the soup or the slow slide towards third-world conditions in the US. The link, which you provided, was:

  2. @Generic Chemist, you do realize that is an article written by C&ENews, not Chemjobber, right? I had to look for it and here is all CJ wrote:"Andrea Widener covers the science-relevant portion of President Obama's immigration executive order." That's just a link to an article that Andrea Widener wrote. You can see there is a comment box there.

  3. Obviously, yes I realize this. I am wondering if this would be an opportunity to comment on the discrepancy.

    1. Further hilarity: New editor of C&E is recently hired immigrant! No Americans found able to write convincing climate change editorials, apparently.

      Good luck with that discrepancy thing.

    2. Plenty of discrepancies for you too, Generic Chemist. You've spent decades traveling the world 'putting more water in the soup' in Mainland Europe, the UK, Canada etc and as soon as you struggle to find employment at home, it's all the fault of the immigrants.

      I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning

    3. Not really, Mr/Ms Anonymous. I don't begrudge any country for hiring their own citizens. Why should it be any different in the US? By the way, what is your own background? Where are you working?

  4. What strikes me is all of the young PhD's/post-doc's from top 10 universities that still get great job offers (recent post on salary on Derek's blog), despite the pharmaceutical industry implosion and jobs being lost. I can't imagine that there are more people working in science than 5 years ago yet young people do get hired.

    What this means to me is that if you are a 50 + year old bench scientist and lose your job, you are toast.

    Immigration only makes the environment more competitive in science benchwork, yet the deadwood faculty (and in industry, as I have recently heard) persist. Its really demoralizing to be a scientist these days.

    1. As I was finishing grad school and doing a postdoc (2002-2007), I saw new PhDs and postdocs from top ten schools starting to feel the pinch. When I started grad school in the late 1990's, it was almost unheard of for someone from a top ten school to need to do a postdoc to get an industrial job. It was unheard of for someone from a top ten school to need to do two postdocs or a single postdoc that lasted more than three years. Both had started to become noticeable and even commonplace as I finished my PhD.

      I suspect that things had been this way at other places long before this, but that's when things finally trickled up.

  5. @NMH..."What this means to me is that if you are a 50 + year old bench scientist and lose your job, you are toast." I am toast and it has been 5+ yeras! There are many like me who are still staggering.


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