I’m in San Francisco for the week, and have still been perusing the online job boards and applying to relevant positions. On Monday and Tuesday I attended the National Biotechnology Conference. While I did manage to score plenty of free swag at the expo, my experience talking to the presenters was pretty dismal. Most companies are not hiring medicinal/organic chemists for synthetic positions, instead preferring to farm that work out to CRO’s. There were plenty of CRO’s there, but even they were not hiring, since the organic chemistry positions are full and most were not looking to expand that area. Most of the interest in pharmaceutical development seems to be in biologics and proteomics, as opposed to small-molecule medicines. Thus, there is a huge demand right now for biologists (especially immunologists), and a rapidly decreasing demand for organic chemists.
*Based on this information I would not recommend that anyone decide to dedicate the next 4-10 years of study to biology/immunology. The market fluctuates too rapidly and what is today’s hot field may be the fancy degrees held by the homeless in the near future.
That being said:
1. Dupont has a position available for a Crop Protection Process Development Manager. A PhD in organic chemistry is required, but they don’t mention anything about industrial experience, apart from “Non-academic laboratory experience with track record of accomplishment”. Hmm.
2. Gilead has a Process Development position open. PhD with 12+ years experience desired. I just hope the salary offered is commensurate with the experience…
3. Theravance Biopharma (South San Francisco) is also looking for a process chemist. Ph.D/MS in organic chemistry with 5+ years pharmaceutical industry experience desired.
4. Genentech is seeking an analytical chemist to join its structural characterization group. Seems to be mostly NMR work (extensive 1-D, 2-D and even heteronuclear NMR). PhD with 12+ years industry experience desired.
5. BASF has a “Staff Chemist” position open in Iselin, New Jersey.
I think this is the place? It’s opposite the Metropark station.
6. Synageva Biopharma is looking for a Research Scientist in Protein Engineering. PhD with 2+ years work experience in biotech required.
7. Proctor & Gamble (Cincinnati) has a position for a PhD Analytical Surface Scientist.
A few parting words before I leave. Lately, I’ve been getting career advice from a lot of people, some of whom I know very well. Separating the signal from the noise in this case is not difficult, apart from the emotional investment (i.e. realizing that someone has wasted your time yet again). This post on Reddit last night really resonated with me, however, and I realized that the biggest loudmouths in this regard are often those who had it easiest in their careers. The people who tell me to “suck it up and keep e-mailing people over and over regardless of whether they think you are an annoying tool” are often those who never went through that themselves, having been directly headhunted or recruited from school. The people who are usually most condescending when giving career advice are those who are out of touch with reality.
**Note: I am extremely grateful to my parents and to other benefactors that I now have 2 degrees and no student debt. But, as I have come to realize, the degrees that are worth getting are worth going into debt for. PhD’s in science (especially chemistry) are being given out for free, and so naturally they are worthless.