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November 24, 2003
Volume 81, Number 47
CENEAR 81 47 pp. 35-40
ISSN 0009-2347


Employers report little change from last year's soft market, but some are still hiring in earnest


Next year's employment situation for chemists and chemical engineers is like "The Matrix Revolutions": a disappointing sequel to a disappointing sequel. It's the third year in a row that chemists looking for their first job will face a weak market. Most of the companies C&EN talked to about job prospects for new graduates said that the economy has remained pretty steady or taken a slight dip since last November. And on the heels of a year in which the chemical industry was already a pretty soft workplace, no news may not be bad news, but it's certainly nothing to celebrate.



A combination of factors has the chemical industry struggling. In addition to the general malaise of the economy--which still has no clear end in sight--chemical companies are dealing with public image problems, concerns over facility security, a slew of mergers and acquisitions that continue to take big employers out of the market for entry-level workers, high feedstock costs, and a lingering slump in the manufacturing sector. What that means for new graduates is an uncertain future; chemists looking for entry-level positions are starting earlier, taking longer, fielding fewer offers, and considering more alternatives than in past years.

"In general, I don't see the market fundamentally changing from last year," says Ron Webb, manager of doctoral recruiting and university relations at Procter & Gamble. "The market for new chemists is still depressed."

John Primeau, head of infection chemistry at AstraZeneca R&D Boston, is more pessimistic. "The job market for chemists has softened a little bit," he says. "Candidates are going to have less choice than last year."

Even the encouraging signs are mixed. According to the National Association of Colleges & Employers' (NACE) Job Outlook Fall Preview survey, overall, U.S. companies do expect to hire more college graduates in 2003–04 than in the previous academic year. About half of the employers surveyed by NACE said they expect to hire more college graduates this year than last year, with 28% planning on cutting back hiring plans and 21% holding steady. But it's a distribution not entirely favorable to chemists. The biggest increases noted by NACE were from service-sector employers, who are planning a 22% increase. Manufacturers, a category that encompasses most companies employing new chemists, foresee a meager 3.4% increase in their hiring plans.

And while the U.S. economy, bolstered by tax cuts and low mortgage-refinancing options, grew by leaps and bounds in the third quarter--at around 7% growth, it was a 19-year high--some economists predict that it's just a temporary boost, destined to disappear when the tax breaks dry up. However, the numbers did help U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to be optimistic about a revival in job creation.

If there is a return of job growth, though, it remains too far in the future to provide much help to new graduates, who have to face the reality that there will be fierce competition for a limited number of job slots.

In addition, the recession has gone on long enough now that chemists who thought to dodge the slow market by taking postdoctoral positions are now reentering the job pool, compounding the problem. That's a situation that is likely to persist for some time; many chemists are still taking postdocs rather than a first job. "A good fraction of our Ph.D.s opt for postdocs. For example, it appears that an abnormally large number--about 90%--went that route last year," says James A. Holcombe, chairman of the chemistry and biochemistry department at the University of Texas, Austin.

Job seekers continue to flood ACS's national meeting employment center, but employers and openings dwindle

Dallas 1,039 164 967 2,405
Boston 1,637 228 1,168 3,141
Anaheim 1,018 118 1,628 2,178
New Orleans 964 134 829 3,049
San Francisco 1,052 169 1,069 3,367
Washington, D.C. 1,057 156 1,616 3,479
San Diego 897 209 1,429 4,299
Chicago 1,112 169 1,392 4,377
Orlando 867 131 436 3,146
Boston 1,231 137 521 4,688
New Orleans 1,151 96 305 1,751a
New York City 1,374 97 291 1,673a
a Figures for interviews scheduled for 2003 may not be comparable with previous years' because of implementation of a computerized registration and communication system. SOURCE: American Chemical Society Department of Career Services

STILL, AS ALWAYS in times of economic duress, some sectors are holding up better than others. Most chemical employers continue to recruit at a steady pace, and a few are even embarking on aggressive hiring strategies. For the patient and highly qualified chemist, there are job opportunities to be found, and top candidates will continue to obtain multiple offers and highly competitive salaries.

Take, for example, the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Though certainly not hiring at the same levels as they did during the tremendous growth period of the late 1990s, they are still recruiting at moderate rates for suitably trained chemists--mostly those with medicinal and synthetic organic specialties. Those sectors remain the largest employers of new chemists. According to data from the 2002 American Chemical Society Starting Salary Survey, pharmaceutical and biotech companies together hired about 26% of new chemistry Ph.D.s and 22% of new chemistry bachelor's candidates. Those figures are down from the previous year--when the numbers were 39% and 28%, respectively--but still represent a significant source of chemical hiring.

"I believe that the job market for chemists seeking positions in the pharmaceutical industry remains reasonably tight, as it has been for the past couple of years," says Joel R. Huff, vice president of medicinal chemistry at Merck's West Point, Pa., labs. "A few companies within the pharmaceutical industry appear to be hiring chemists aggressively, although the majority are hiring modestly. Merck, for example, plans to hire a significant number of medicinal chemists in 2004."

The company is looking for chemists at the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels and is, as usual, striving for the right balance between discovery and product development. "Organic chemists will comprise the majority of new hires for Merck in 2004, although some positions will be available in other areas of chemistry," Huff says. A number of those opportunities, he adds, come from Merck's opening of a new basic research facility in Boston.

At Roche Palo Alto, there are also opportunities for chemists despite the difficulties in the economy. "There is a mix in hiring practices in industry; some companies are aggressively hiring, while others are taking time to digest mergers," says Hans Maag, vice president of chemistry at Roche Palo Alto. "Students coming out of school may be anticipating that job prospects will be gloomy, but judging from the information I have so far, it seems like it will be an average year for grads."

Roche is optimistic that it will be able to expand its medicinal chemistry capabilities next year and is therefore recruiting B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. chemists "above our annual average," Maag says. The company is looking to hire chemists with strong synthetic organic backgrounds for medicinal chemistry work and early process development. "In that respect, I don't think we differ from any other pharmaceutical company," he adds.

The company has been gradually increasing its hiring during the past five years, in part because it has avoided much of the general downturn in the economy. "That may be because, in general, the pharmaceutical industry is more immune to economic swings," Maag says. But that is tempered by the fact that, "in past years, the industry has seen decreases in hiring as a result of mergers," which can take the companies involved off the market for several years as they prepare for and then deal with the melding process.

A case in point is Pfizer. "We are in a somewhat unique position--we just completed in 2003 a large acquisition of Pharmacia," says Martin R. Jefson, executive director of central nervous system discovery and general pharmacology at the firm. "During the consolidation, we are looking to fill available positions internally. We still have a few opportunities externally, but relative to other years, these opportunities are diminished because of this one-time factor."

Bachelor's degrees fall slightly, while master's and Ph.D.s hold roughly stable

1981–82 6,740 1,285 333
1982–83 7,185 1,368 692
1983–84 7,475 1,514 409
1984–85 7,146 1,544 504
1985–86 5,877 1,361 531
1986–87 4,991 1,184 584
1987–88 3,917 1,088 685
1988–89 3,663 1,093 712
1989–90 3,430 1,035 658
1990–91 3,444 903 691
1991–92 3,754 956 725
1992–93 4,459 990 737
1993–94 5,163 1,032 725
1994–95 5,901 1,085 708
1995–96 6,319 1,176 798
1996–97 6,564 1,131 767
1997–98 6,319 1,128 776
1998–99 na na 674
1999–00 5,807 1,078 724
2000–01 5,611 1,083 727
2001–02 na na 705
NOTE: Data were collected from degree-granting institutions. na = not available. SOURCES: National Center for Education Statistics, National Science Foundation
The company is recruiting medicinal chemists, though fewer than it did in peak years in the past; Jefson anticipates single-digit hires for next year. Pfizer also employs chemical engineers and analytical chemists. The reduced figures are fairly consistent with the past couple of years for the company, which toned down its recruiting efforts in anticipation of the Pharmacia acquisition.

Jefson says recruiting has been a little more robust at its Groton, Conn., and La Jolla, Calif., sites and for B.S./M.S.-level chemists. "We're getting a very, very good response and finding very good candidates," he says. "A few offers have been tendered, and we're happy with the response."

Eventually, the company will be refocusing its attention on external hiring. And when it does, Jefson predicts that "it will not be a high-growth environment. We're looking to maintain our strength and hire to replace departures. I don't anticipate significant growth."

Still, even in the light recruiting that Pfizer is doing this year, the weakness of the job market is apparent. "The effect of the acquisition greatly overwhelmed the economic environment for us, but we do see the economic effect in the sorts of high-quality candidates that apply," Jefson says. "And the percent of offers that are accepted is also quite high."

There are also a number of opportunities for chemists at larger companies, though these kinds of firms are employing a shrinking percentage of the chemical workforce as smaller companies and start-ups become more prevalent. Chemical giants Dow Chemical and DuPont, for example, predict that their recruiting situations will be slightly better next year.

Last year, Dow told C&EN that it was going ahead with plans for moderate hiring, but soon after that, it was forced to scrap its recruiting efforts and institute a hiring freeze, in part because of high raw material costs and the sluggish economy in general. Things are now looking a little brighter. "From Dow's perspective, it's clearly a better job market than last year, but it's still challenging," says John MacKinnon, Dow's manager of R&D recruiting for North America.

The company hopes to complete the plans that it had to put off last year: It is again looking for Ph.D. chemists, especially those with expertise in small-molecule organic synthesis, process organic chemistry, and polymer synthesis, as well as Ph.D. chemical engineers. It will also be looking for smaller numbers of B.S.- and M.S.-level chemical engineers and chemists. "We have real positions to offer to folks," MacKinnon says. "I think they'll be surprised by just how many jobs we have."

But Dow's recruiting efforts are still not anywhere close to levels before the slump, and MacKinnon is unsure when they will return. "The number of open positions we have is significantly smaller than in previous years," he says. "But bringing in good people is important, so we are going ahead with recruiting in these challenging times."

And at DuPont, the prognosis is similar; the company is going ahead with hiring despite a weak economy. "We believe this is not a good year for biochemistry, chemistry, and chemical engineering graduates," says Lin Wang, Ph.D. and science recruiting consultant for the company. "Most pharmaceutical and chemical companies are not hiring due to the economy and weak global climate."

In comparison with some other chemical companies, though, DuPont had a good year, Wang says, and it is being aggressive with recruiting efforts. The company plans on hiring 80 or more Ph.D.s next year, primarily in the areas of organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and biochemistry. "We are putting a strong emphasis on discovery research," Wang says, "and need more people with strong synthetic backgrounds."

He also says that DuPont's demand for B.S./M.S. chemists is stronger than in previous years--particularly synthetic chemists specializing in polymer, organic, and inorganic chemistry--though the company has less need for chemical engineers.

Aggressive recruiting seems to be the exception, however, not the rule. Many chemical companies are still hunkering down for the moment, hoping to ride out the economic cycle by cutting costs and slashing recruiting efforts.

"The overall job market is weaker this year but not precipitously lower," says David M. Giddings, vice president of research for Ondeo Nalco Energy Services. The company, headquartered in Sugar Land, Texas, supplies chemicals and services to the hydrocarbon and water treatment industries. "There is a great deal of caution on the part of our customers in the business environment--typically oil companies," he adds, reducing demand for the firm's services.

Because of the economic situation, Ondeo Nalco plans on hiring at a pace to replace its normal attrition. In particular, it is looking for Ph.D. chemists and B.S.- or M.S.-level chemical engineers, especially process and petroleum engineers, "which remain a much-needed subset of chemists, particularly for the kind of work we do," Giddings says. Petroleum companies are the subsector employing the largest number of bachelor's-level chemical engineers--about 14%--according to the 2002 ACS Starting Salary Survey.

Though AstraZeneca will not be as cautious as Ondeo Nalco when it comes to recruiting, Primeau says that "the weak economy combined with consolidations in the pharmaceutical industry have all combined to make hiring more difficult. Candidates may find that the job situation is inferior to the way it was in 2000–01, and it is probably weaker than last year."

The company has a strong commitment to grow its chemistry capacity, Primeau says, and is therefore recruiting at all levels--experienced chemists as well as new B.S./M.S. and, in the future, Ph.D. candidates for entry-level positions. It's part of a strong recruiting push to make up for inconsistent hiring in the past couple of years. "Consistent, steady growth is better for us, and it's better for academic institutions," he says.

HE PREDICTS that the company will continue to hire chemists across its global R&D organization, particularly at its Mölndal, Sweden, site. And the company is recruiting for chemical and bioinformaticians, an area where he says demand still outweighs supply. "They have been very competitive in the past couple of years, and they will continue to be, I think."

Bachelor's and Ph.D.s continue their slow decline; master's rise slightly

1981–82 11,062 1,751 1,680
1982–83 10,796 1,622 1,758
1983–84 10,704 1,667 1,765
1984–85 10,482 1,719 1,836
1985–86 10,116 1,754 1,903
1986–87 9,670 1,738 1,975
1987–88 9,052 1,708 2,015
1988–89 8,625 1,774 1,970
1989–90 8,132 1,682 2,100
1990–91 8,321 1,665 2,194
1991–92 8,641 1,780 2,214
1992–93 8,914 1,842 2,137
1993–94 9,425 1,999 2,257
1994–95 9,722 2,099 2,162
1995–96 10,415 2,254 2,149
1996–97 10,644 2,240 2,148
1997–98 10,582 2,141 2,216
1998–99a 10,120 2,037 2,132
1999–00 10,043 1,888 1,989
2000–01 9,493 1,985 1,980
2001–02 na na 1,922
NOTE: Data were collected from degree-granting institutions. a Bachelor's and master's degree information estimated from ACS 1999 Starting Salary Survey. na = not available. SOURCES: National Center for Education Statistics, National Science Foundation
Similar sentiments are shared by Alexander Chucholowski, executive director for chemistry at Chembridge Research Laboratories (CRL). "We are receiving many more CVs uninvited than last year, and the quality of applicants looking for jobs is fairly high," he says. It's an indication that "the job market for chemists today is more difficult than one year ago."

"There are two main factors," he says. "The economy is influencing hiring, but there is also an overall pressure on the health care industry to reduce costs. That's the biggest factor influencing companies involved with drug discovery. For example, certain contracts with biotech and pharmaceutical companies have been delayed because [those companies] are feeling the squeeze."

CRL's profits have remained pretty steady, so the company is looking to recruit at about the same level as last year. "We are looking for highly educated synthetic organic chemists and medicinal chemists," Chucholowski says. Since the job market is so weak, the company hasn't made any definite plans about numbers but instead will play it more by ear next year, he adds.

Procter & Gamble's Webb also anticipates similar hiring plans. "Our hiring will be essentially the same as last year," he says. "And that rate is about one-third the rate we have historically averaged over the long haul."

That means that the company plans on hiring a total of about 20 Ph.D. scientists, including chemists, life scientists, pharmacists, and other specialists such as M.D.s. P&G's chemistry needs are predominantly in the areas of organic and analytical chemistry, but Webb says other areas, such as polymer chemistry or materials science, will also be in demand.

And though health care does not provide the bulk of P&G's business, Webb is optimistic about prospects for chemists in those industries. "I'm seeing more jobs on a relative basis in biotech than in nonbiotech areas," he says. "Biotech is a sustained-growth area, providing opportunities for bioanalytical and synthetic organic chemists trained in the skills and approaches it takes to be successful in drug development."

Hiring at biopharmaceutical behemoth Amgen seems to support his point, as the company is rapidly growing despite the economic situation. "We've had a tremendous year," says Genette Simon, Amgen's manager of staffing processes. "We hired in excess of 3,000 people." That figure, however, encompasses all of Amgen's hires--including administration and mid- and upper-level positions--not just entry-level scientists and engineers. "And we hired graduates across all areas. It was our most aggressive year ever of hiring."

The firm is committed to maintaining a strong pipeline of chemists and plans another round of recruiting. "We think next year is going to be a healthy year--it'll be strong," Simon says. "But it will slow down; 2003 was an extraordinary year."

Again, Amgen is casting a wide net, looking for chemists across the board, including chemical engineers, analytical scientists, and biochemists in addition to chemists trained in more traditional areas.

Many smaller companies are also taking advantage of the weak economic climate in order to recruit top talent that they otherwise wouldn't have a chance to obtain. "Gilead will be recruiting chemists and biochemists at all three levels," says Bill Lee, senior vice president of research at Gilead Sciences. "Our company continues to grow research and development, and chemists are critical to the expansion." In particular, the company is looking for organic and medicinal chemists, as well as biochemists.

The plan continues an aggressive growth strategy. "Gilead has grown substantially over the past several years and continues to do so," Lee says. " In the past two years alone, the company has brought to market three important new therapies for infectious diseases. We have a full research pipeline, and we continue to recruit scientists."

But he acknowledges that this goes against the grain of the market. "The job market in 2003 for chemists overall is not as strong as it was in 2002. We are seeing many more résumés than in past years for organic and medicinal chemists in particular. In large part, this is due to contraction in the biotech industry, as well as a slowdown in hiring at big pharma," he says. "Given the contraction in the biopharma industry this year, Gilead's aggressive hiring plan is somewhat unique."

Chiron will also be recruiting actively. For the California biotech industry, "in general, hiring managers seem more optimistic in their recruiting outlook this year," says Allan S. Wagman, chairman of medicinal chemistry recruiting. "The caveat is that several notable companies have shut their doors, adding a pool of talented and experienced researchers to the job market."

The firm is trying to hire from that talent pool. "Companies such as Chiron have viewed this as an opportunity to increase our depth of skilled, seasoned research staff," Wagman says. "Having hired many experienced scientists, we have not yet filled our needs for either veteran or entry-level positions. As is typically the case, top synthetic organic candidates from the principal research universities and leading laboratories are in high demand."

Chiron's medicinal and process chemistry groups are recruiting for B.S.-, M.S.-, and Ph.D.-level organic chemists, and the company also plans on expanding its structural biology and computation groups. That continues a trend of expanding the company's scientific capacity, and Wagman predicts that its medicinal group will keep growing during the next few years to fill upgraded research facilities in Emeryville, Calif.

Academic recruiting has also seen belt-tightening. Though better insulated against economic vagaries than the business sector, universities and colleges--which hired about 18% of new bachelor's-degree and Ph.D. chemists in 2002, according to the ACS Starting Salary Survey--are still facing financial difficulties. Many private university endowments took a beating during the stock market woes of the past two years and are still recovering. And a number of states, wrestling with reduced tax income and growing fiscal deficits, have slashed funding to their university systems, leading to rapid rises in tuition. Still, those interested in academia should be heartened by the knowledge that most chemistry departments will continue hiring at a pretty steady pace.

But candidates looking for junior faculty positions should be prepared for a long and sometimes frustrating process. Many universities are looking to fill vacancies with candidates who have very specific backgrounds, and sometimes it's a matter of luck whether the right kind of opening will come up. In addition, while academic positions generally offer lower salaries than industry positions--forcing universities to work hard to attract good candidates in economic booms--the recession has made these positions increasingly attractive.

For example, Stanford University has been looking for a junior organic chemist and a junior inorganic chemist for a while, says Hans C. Andersen, chairman of the chemistry department. "We conducted the same searches in the past two years. Two years ago, we made no offers. Last year, we made several but were not successful in hiring anyone," he says. "We are always looking for the best candidates, but we typically compete with other universities for those people, so we are not always successful."

There is also a strong recruiting drive at the University of Texas, Austin. "We definitely are looking for two new junior faculty and hope to build a case to hire another if a third strong candidate emerges," UT Austin's Holcombe says.

LIKE AT STANFORD, sometimes reaching that goal is tough, even though the department is pretty flexible about what kinds of chemists it is looking for. "Our open faculty positions often go unfilled at the end of recruiting season," Holcombe says. "This results from either our not identifying the crème de la crème with the right fit that we are looking for, or not being successful in our 'bid' for an applicant who has many other offers to choose from. Sometimes, the latter is due to the size of the start-up package required, but oftentimes, it is a result of intangibles such as location."


TREASURE HUNT A Roche chemist evaporates solvent to recover a new compound for biological testing. ROCHE PHOTO

Harvard University is more specific about what it is looking for. The school has ads out for junior faculty specializing in organic and physical chemistry, says Anthony R. Shaw Jr., director of laboratories and codirector of graduate studies for the university's department of chemistry and chemical biology. "Those positions are more for individuals with certain specialties, so we can keep a well-rounded faculty," he says. "We're not just looking for the best person, but someone who also fills a need in the organization."

Shaw says that the department puts particular emphasis on teaching ability and how well the candidate fits in at Harvard. It is also looking for individuals "who have been exposed to multidisciplinary areas. Those kinds of candidates tend to be very attractive, because of the nature of change in science."

Gregory S. Girolami, head of the chemistry department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is seeing an increase in the numbers of candidates with interdisciplinary training. "We remain impressed with the quality of candidates that we see here at UIUC," he says. "But we do see a shift: More of the highly qualified candidates are studying biology-related topics. The biological aspect of chemistry is attracting quality people." The university is conducting searches for multiple positions and plans on hiring the best candidates it can find regardless of specialty.

Holcombe also sees a blurring of traditional division lines in applicants to UT Austin. "The number of applicants seems to vary with different subdisciplines," he says. "For example, we tend to see a large number of biochemistry or bio-related applicants relative to other areas. Recently, of course, materials and nanotech researchers are on the increase in the pool."

At Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the chemistry department is taking a break from recruiting after an aggressive eight years of growth, says department chairman Stephen J. Lippard, although, like most universities, it might make an exception if "someone truly extraordinary comes along." Last year, the department hired three junior faculty, and it recruited two the previous year.


ANOTHER OPTION for scientists interested in basic research is finding a position at a federal or state government agency. In 2002, they employed about 8% of new chemistry and chemical engineering bachelor's candidates and chemistry Ph.D.s, according to the ACS Starting Salary Survey. But many of these agencies are working on continuing appropriations resolutions--the federal government has yet to approve a budget for this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1--leaving them partially in the dark about funding for next year. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security, however, could provide new opportunities for chemists and chemical engineers.

"There has been a general leveling of funding from federal agencies; budgets have been flat and continue to be flat," says Michelle V. Buchanan, director of the Chemical & Analytical Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "We're not going to expect any major increases. Funding just has not been increasing in the physical sciences. But we are doing some expansion--some honest-to-goodness growth."

The division is looking to hire a small number of materials scientists, inorganic chemists, and polymer specialists, as well as analytical and biochemical experts for research into protein complexes. In total, the numbers will be similar to last year's figures--single-digit hires, with part replacing leaving workers and part expanding capacity.

That might change as more emphasis is placed on the Department of Homeland Security, "but it's still too early," Buchanan says. "I'm not aware of much in the way of things having been funded yet. But I do think that DHS will positively affect chemistry."

Randall L. Simpson, division leader for chemistry and chemical engineering at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is facing a similar situation and will hire at rates similar to last year. "It's not a robust environment for hiring at national labs, but there are still some significant and important openings," he says. "Even in times of a receding economy, we work very hard to keep doors open and get the best people in staffing and the pipeline."

Therefore, "we are hiring the best people we can obtain in computational chemistry, materials synthesis, and inorganic and organic nanoscale synthesis," Simpson says. The division is also looking for classically trained chemical engineers, mostly at the B.S. and M.S. level, for help in modeling and designing experiments.

But he anticipates that prospects will be very strong. "We have a leading role in largely national security, as has been the case since the inception of the lab," he says. "There are some very important national and international problems that need to be solved, and Lawrence Livermore is leading in solving these problems in national security."

Much of that falls under the purview of Al Ramponi, leader of the Chemical Biology & Nuclear Science Division at Lawrence Livermore. DHS "has given us a fair amount of support," he says. That will not only provide new opportunities for scientists but also will provide them with a "strong sense of being able to contribute to an important problem at a close range on the front lines of homeland security and terrorism."

His division is therefore hiring a single-digit total of experts in chemistry, biochemistry, nanoscience, and other fields. The goal is to put together a set of scientists who can work on chemical and biological weapon detection, diagnosis, and treatment in a multidisciplinary way. He is also looking for nuclear chemists--an area of expertise he says is harder and harder to find as fewer chemists go into the field.

It may not be a pretty picture for chemists entering the job market, but it's clear that there are opportunities available even in tough times. And there are some positive signs that things will be getting better. UIUC's Girolami is enthused by the behavior of recruiters visiting the campus. "Many companies had positive earnings in the last quarter, and they may hire in the spring at an increased rate if this keeps up," he says, noting that many recruiters are keeping tabs on additional candidates for this possibility.

But even if that is not true, time and patience usually pay off. "Most of the graduates seeking employment last year got the kind of job they were looking for," Girolami says. "It may have taken longer than they wanted in some cases, but most are satisfied with what they ended up with."


With the slow economy persisting yet another year, unemployment for chemical scientists is high and demand is soft. New graduates can expect a long job search and fewer offers, but some companies are hiring.

Unemployment among American Chemical Society members in the domestic workforce is 3.5%. This is a record high since the society started measuring the employment status of its members annually more than 30 years ago. Salaries continue to make steady gains.

Becoming a high school chemistry teacher is a great choice for a chemist with an advanced degree, and a few are taking that option, sometimes as a second career. These workers can help fill a need for qualified science teachers that is expected to skyrocket with impending retirements.

Graduate students, freshly minted Ph.D.s, and postdoctoral fellows are all vying for the few open positions in industry. Find out what industrial employers are looking for and how applicants can get noticed.

A guide to sources of job and career information designed for those in chemical and related sciences who are seeking industrial, academic, or government positions or looking to change careers. Online resources for scientists are highlighted, as are American Chemical Society career services.


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