The MedZilla Report: October 2008 Employment Outlook for Biotech/Pharma/Health

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Despite roller-coaster changes in the U.S. and worldwide stock markets, the trend in health care employment could be counted on once again: tens of thousands of new jobs created in October, bringing yearly growth up over 345,000.The MedZilla.com Employment Report analyzes the numbers for October 2008 and announces the findings.

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As 2008 starts to wind down, it’s a great time to update your resume or think about enrolling in some continuing education classes.

The U.S. economy experienced some subtle and – some might say – counterintuitive shifts in October, with the stock market moving like a roller coaster and gas prices dropping to sub-$2.00 per-gallon prices. According to MedZilla.com, the leading employment and career website for biotech, pharmaceuticals, health care, science and medical device, it found that one thing unchanged is the trend in health care job creation; 26,000 new jobs were created in October, putting health care employment growth at over 348,000 for the past twelve months.

News was not all good, however; as in previous months, some health care jobs were cut. In October, the most notable shrinkage was in Minnesota and the Northeast, but even the health system that announced the largest number of employment cutbacks – Alina in Minneapolis – was not planning to actively terminate employees. Instead, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, they will be eliminating positions via attrition – that is, not filling openings once current employees choose to depart. The greater number of outplacements, as in previous months, looks to come from pharmaceuticals. Once again, GlaxoSmithKline announced that they would be eliminating as many as 850 research and development positions. Most pharmaceutical companies that said they had planned to lay off employees did so under cover of restructuring efforts, as they – like most if not all companies in the country – work to eliminate costs and increase productivity at the same time.

Though it cannot be said for certain, Alina’s method of simply leaving open positions open and not advertising for new ones may be more widespread than expected. No state except New Jersey saw job postings increase (or decrease) by more than 1.5 percent. Of the postings available for candidates, qualified oncologists and those who work under that umbrella appeared to be in a position to at the very least find places to apply; in October, the number of postings in that arena increased by more than three percent. Companies also increased their postings for management, business development, and clinical research positions. There were also drops in the numbers of posted jobs; sales was off 4.5 percent, and primary care was off 3.5.

Companies that actively searched for candidates to bring in for interviews and possible employment always change from month to month, but it is rare to see a negative swing as wide as in California in October; employers there reduced their searches for candidates by more than eight percent. However, candidates in Wisconsin, Connecticut, South Carolina, Oregon, and Missouri all should expect a slight increase in the chance they will be contacted by a potential employer – each of those states saw increases of two percent or more. Most of those positions are likely to go to surgeons, laboratory technicians, and, surprisingly, medical writers and editors. For the first time in several months, there was a noticeable surge in those types of positions – four percent worth.

Even though positions were available in October, it did not seem as though candidates appreciably changed their job search behaviors. No state’s candidates increased or decreased their searches by more than one percent, and when looking at specific searches for positions, the change was the same – very small. This could be related to the fact that the calendar year is ending; some non-medical companies have retained recruiters to fill positions, but are not bringing candidates in for interviews despite the recruiters having qualified individuals at the read. It may also be as simple as wanting stability during the holiday season; as stressful as it can be, the stress of changing jobs is not something many people want to add on. “Many people are taking time off to be with loved ones, or just taking time out to recharge their batteries,” said Michele Hopps with MedZilla.com, the Internet’s leading job board for pharmaceuticals and health care. “As 2008 starts to wind down, it’s a great time to update your resume or think about enrolling in some continuing education classes.”

About MedZilla.com:
Established in mid-1994, MedZilla is the original web site to serve career and hiring needs for professionals and employers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, science and healthcare. The MedZilla jobs database contains about 7,500 open positions. The resume database currently contains over 285,000 resumes with 16,800 less than three months old. These resources have been characterized as the largest, most comprehensive databases of their kind on the web in the industries served.

Medzilla® is a Registered Trademark owned by Medzilla Inc. Copyright ©2008, MedZilla, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute this text in its entirety, and if electronically, with a link to the URL http://www.medzilla.com. For permission to quote from or reproduce any portion of this message, please contact Michele Hopps, Director of Marketing and Development, MedZilla, Inc. Email: mgroutage(at)medzilla.com.

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