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Helping Chemists Find Jobs And Create Jobs

by Lisa M. Balbes
April 2, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 14

According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the national unemployment rate in February was 8.3%. Overall, this is encouraging news for the U.S., representing slow but steady improvement since unemployment averaged more than 9.0% throughout 2009 and 2010.

Although chemists, with an unemployment rate usually one-half the national average, have generally fared better than other workers in the U.S., I am alarmed that—unlike the overall national trend—unemployment for chemists increased. In 2010, the average unemployment rate for American Chemical Society chemists was 3.8%. In March 2011, that rate climbed to 4.6%—the highest number on record (C&EN, March 26, page 10). Even more troubling is the unemployment rate for recent chemistry graduates, which is now 10.7%. Without the ability to provide good jobs to recent graduates, the future of the chemical enterprise is in jeopardy.

ACS is dedicated to reversing these trends, both by helping chemical professionals find work and by expanding the chemical enterprise and creating new jobs. If you are currently looking for work, the best place to start is ACS Careers. We offer a broad range of services not only to help you find a job but also build your job-search skills and create a rewarding career.

ACS Careers Jobs Database (

This is your number one tool for finding open positions that match your skills and career goals. There are always hundreds of positions posted by industry, academic, nonprofit, and government organizations. Set up a free account, post your résumé, and begin identifying appropriate openings.

Personal Career Consulting (

ACS career consultants are ACS member volunteers with firsthand work experience in all facets of the chemical enterprise. They are available anytime to advise ACS members via e-mail or phone to help you improve your résumé, build your interview skills, make a career transition, and more. They are also available at ACS Career Fairs for in-person résumé reviews and mock interviews.

ACS Career News (

Each week, ACS Career News reports the latest news and events of interest. You’ll find articles to support your job search and professional development, as well the latest market and hiring trends in all chemistry job sectors.

Career Fairs: On-site and Virtual (

ACS Career Fairs are held during ACS national meetings. The On-site Career Fair offers a variety of programs to help you connect with employers, build your job-search skills, and choose a career path. The Virtual Career Fair enables you to participate from anywhere in the world in many of those same programs, including talking with employers via real-time text or video chat.

Visit the ACS Careers website at to access the many other job-search and career services available at no charge to ACS members.

Career Tips Column

Beginning with this issue, ACS Careers is launching a monthly Career Tips column in C&EN (see page 50). These columns will be published in the first issue of every month and will cover a variety of topics of interest to ACS members who are looking to find new jobs and new ways to advance their careers. They’ll also be posted on the ACS Network and the ACS Careers website, where you’re encouraged to get involved in the discussion and suggest future topics.

ACS Entrepreneurship Initiative

Recently launched, the ACS Entrepreneurship Initiative ( is dedicated to helping ACS members transform their innovative ideas into successful business ventures while creating jobs in the U.S. for chemical professionals. The initiative has already resulted in two programs, with more on the way, to support ACS entrepreneurs in all facets of planning, launching, and building their entrepreneurial ventures.

ACS Entrepreneurial Training Program

ACS has partnered with Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac program to offer an Entrepreneurial Training Program that stimulates innovation and entrepreneurship, offering three curricula that correspond to the needs of members at different stages in their entrepreneurial plans. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an established entrepreneur looking to optimize your venture’s performance, you should apply to receive a $500 scholarship toward a 30-hour FastTrac course.

ACS Entrepreneurial Resources Center

Coming in June 2012, the ACS Entrepreneurial Resources Center will enable approved applicants to support the development and launch of their entrepreneurial plans with free access to all ACS journals and Chemical Abstracts Service’s SciFinder. Participants can take advantage of the professional services of ACS’s legal, marketing, finance, human resources, information technology, and other outside support teams at low or no cost. In your application, you must present a feasible entrepreneurial plan that creates innovative products and services and jobs for chemical professionals in the U.S.

If you’re looking for your next job or to create new jobs with your own entrepreneurial venture, ACS resources are here to help you. Take advantage of what your professional society has to offer!

Finally, if you have an idea for a program or resource you’d like us to provide, let us know! Contact us at, or contact your ACS local section or division.

Lisa M. Balbes, Chair, ACS Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs



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