Scanning various employment trend articles I wish to
point out a piece by Louise Tutelian on “Disappearing
Jobs in High Paying Careers.”
The article points out: “nearly half of all chemists are
employed in manufacturing firms…” and “they are
continuing to outsource their R&D and testing to
small specialized firms…”
“…BLS projects only a 2 per cent rise in the total
number of chemists employed by 2018.”
Though the data in table form is true, one might be
a little suspicious of headline type warnings. My reasoning
1. growth, in truth, is expected to be slower in “traditional
chemical areas,” ie., 2%– list in the BLS publication:
plastics, polymers and synthetic materials. But, material
science and biotechnology will grow and remain strong
employment areas. This difference lacks an
plastics and polymers are material science and
biotechnology is synthetic materials.
[Is the author aware of the terms and meanings? I
2. using “one year factoids,” like the loss of 42,000
jobs in 2008-9, might be ‘real data’ reported by C&EN.
Combined with the job market being truly tight can
lead to short term thinking. The reality is that chemistry
formal education can be applied in other fields.
Employment in Chemistry is competitive with stresses
coming from outsourcing, global market realities (inflation,
recessions, mergers and acquisitions) and raw material
and hazardous waste regulations. We have learned not
to be complacent but to adjust and innovate. Careers
with shorter stints in various sized firms and different
fields are seen now as both an advantage and a norm.
3. There are sub-fields of chemistry that are critically
needed to support a growing population–
food, energy, chemical transformation and remediation
management, biotech/pharma, and the associated fields.
The article paragraph seems to reveal a short term
observation and misses the broader multi-dimensional
trajectories of other related fields and needs.
It is no surprise to chemists to expect the employment
situation to reward
- keeping up with trends in companies and industries,
- keep learning new techniques and
- remain abreast of the latest technical and business
The topic of using social media in a job search
is common with several firm offering to provide
advice and services for you. This is in addition
to the social web sites Facebook, LinkedIn,
Twitter, even ACS Network offering to be
“your tool of choice” for finding openings.
It might be worth first pointing out that job
seekers have different purposes at different
phases in their job search of their goal of landing
Far be it for me to suggest one “best” source
for all purposes. It might be wiser to understand
that before pursuing top firms on your list, you
have two parallel activities– (1a) determining your
musts, wants and restrictions and (1b) gathering
information about companies and industries.
Once you get a handle on your personal assessment
and what is available, then for most, there is a need
to narrow down your search to (2) identify where you
might focus your effort. A divided effort can yield
limited results or take longer. Being able to focus on
a few target companies or institutions will help you
There are many routes to obtaining information and
among them are the social media tools. I liked some
of Mark’s comments in Applicant blog comparing
the use of social media on this subject. Then, once
your targets are identified you are served well by (3) creating
strategies to introduce yourself and your desire to work
at them. There is no single approach for doing this.
Although social media may help, networking, identifying
current employees who can refer your resume and
interest to hiring authorities and creating an “introduction
opportunity” will be important for job seekers. No
single route works for all.
Persistence, rather than which is the “right way,” is
often the best advice.
Job postings will show up on many sites. But, as we know,
most jobs are not formally posted. They are in the “hidden
As we move closer to the interview stage both formal
connections and informal connections can prove helpful
for job seekers. (4) In anticipation of screening interviews,
learning about new products, recent news, and positive
(or negative) outlooks are timely. Finding consequential
strangers and secondary network connections who can
offer advice or a good word help, too.
I have recommended tools like LinkedIn.com to (5) inform
“on-site interviewers” about the people with whom they
will interview at companies.
Blogs and other tools can be helpful for (6) learning about
insiders’ views and rumors about company changes
that are not formally public knowledge or are
buried. (I know this was the case at a company
I previously worked for.)
We mentioned seven specific areas in a job search.
Popular and common social media seem to provide
value for several of them. It is helpful then for the
job seeker to have a purpose in mind when using
these social media. For some purposes, their value
might not be high.