Industrial and academic markets bode well for new chemists

November 18, 1999

Annual employment outlook surveys job market

Presuming that all economic variables remain relatively positive over the coming months, "The job prospects for newly minted chemists in the new millennium look bright-- brighter, in fact, than at almost any time in the past decade," says Chemical & Engineering News editor-in-chief Madeleine Jacobs. The year 2000 may be one of the best job markets since 1998, the best of the 90s, according to C&EN's annual employment outlook.

On-campus recruiting is underway and going strong. Competition for graduates is expected to be aggressive, and as for the market itself, "My sense is that hiring in the coming year will be as vigorous as in 1998, according to James D. Burke, manager of research recruiting and university relations at Rohm and Haas.

The Nov.15 issue of C&EN, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, reports on employment and salary trends in the field of chemistry. Here are several highlights from the 34-page special report:

* There is an increased need for new graduates and experienced personnel in the industrial job market. Competition is fierce for top candidates in pharmaceutical and biotech firms.

* Corporations are going online to recruit and hire through use of employment websites as well as corporate websites.

* Cross-functional teams are being used by corporations to increase efficiencies and speed up product production and distribution by circumventing corporate bureaucracy. Such teams are comprised of individuals from disciplines such as research, marketing, finance, manufacturing, engineering and service. Some teams include vendors and customers as well.

* Retirement among the tenured in academia and an increasing undergraduate student population are catalysts for hiring at major research universities.

* Hiring in academia is expected to reflect the growing research and development opportunities in proteomics, bioinformatics and microbioanalysis.

* Universities continue to find ways to meet the financial challenge of start-up costs necessary to bring on new faculty.

* Median starting salaries were $29,500 for inexperienced B.S. chemistry graduates; $38,500 for M.S. graduates; and $59,300 for Ph.D. chemists, according to the 1998 starting salary survey conducted by the American Chemical Society.
A nonprofit organization with a membership of nearly 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. (

American Chemical Society

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