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What Industry Seeks

Skills Gap Impacts ACS Career Fair

by Linda Wang
June 12, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 24

For many recruiters, the career fair at the American Chemical Society national meetings is one of the best places to find top-notch talent. But some are finding it difficult to find the right candidates.

“We’ve been recruiting at the ACS career fair for almost 14 years now, and when we started out, there were so many good candidates that we really had a hard time deciding who we were going to interview,” recruiter Stephan Rodewald told C&EN during the career fair in San Diego this past March.

“What we’ve noticed, within the time span of about 10 years or so, is that it’s now completely reversed,” said Rodewald, who is a research chemist at Goodyear Tire & Rubber. “We have trouble filling all the interview time slots with candidates that we think are qualified for the positions that we have. And when we actually take a chance on them and invite them out for closer scrutiny, often we find that they’re really lacking in terms of key skill sets.”

Rodewald believes that graduate students aren’t getting the preparation they need to work in industry. “It may be a situation where the time that is available for professors to spend with their students and to ensure that they get proper training has just diminished,” he said.

More academic-industry partnerships could help ease the situation, Rodewald said. “I think a lot more industrial research needs to be done in partnership with academic institutions,” he explained. “I think professors are realizing that one way they can help provide a future for their students in a responsible way is to have these industrial contacts and to nurture them.”


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