A new study mentioned in this week’s Nature caught my eye–

“Molly Schmid and Helen Liu looked at the 3,790 jobs that were open in July at the top five revenue-generating drug companies (Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi- Aventis, Merck and Johnson & Johnson) and the top four biotechnology firms (Amgen, Genentech, Biogen IDEC and Genzyme). The results may surprise lifescience researchers.

Roughly 17% of the jobs were for positions in research and development (R&D); the rest were for jobs related to the business side of the companies. Of these, 7% were in manufacturing, 24% were in administration (including duties such as information technology, finance and legal services), 25% were regulatory jobs (such as quality control, technical writing and statistical analysis), and 27% were in sales and marketing.”

This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Once again, we are producing PhD students for a job market that has changed, and academia is slow on the uptake.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. It would be interesting to see how long people stay in their jobs though. Could it be that scientists in these companies tend to stay longer than admin, marketing, etc. staff? If so that could explain the relative lack of vacancies.

  2. If you look at NSF data for 10 and 15 years out, scientists tend to slowly move out of R&D over time.

    Ultimately, though, if you look at proportions of employees, R&D will always be the smallest number of jobs in industry.

  3. Yeah, I keep seeing stuff like this and I don’t like it. My chances of getting into academia = 1 snowball * hell. And my chances of becoming involved in industry on the science side are looking to be the same. I’m back in college because I actually want to enjoy my job. I work at a grocery store now, but before that I was a programmer. I present to you that this is a choice. I HATE aoftware development.

    Don’t make me go back. Please, please, please, don’t make me go back.

Comments are closed.