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The MedZilla Report: May 2009 Employment Outlook for Biotech/Pharma/Health

Health care employment rebounded in May, with 24,000 new jobs created even amid widespread announcements of layoffs. Pharmaceutical companies, though, laid off fewer employees in May than in any previous month of 2009.

Seattle, WA (Vocus) June 24, 2009 -- Health care employment saw May as something of a rebound month, with 24,000 new jobs created in the industry -- 7,000 more than in April. Average monthly job growth has remained steady in 2009. However, heavy layoffs also struck health care, with several companies announcing as many as 500 positions eliminated. Pharmaceuticals, conversely, announced relatively few layoffs compared to the previous six months.


By far the largest layoff in May was announced by Medtronic, who, according to the Associated Press, faced a 69 percent drop in profits after fourth quarter 2008. Minnesota-based health systems continued feeling the pinch, as did several facilities across New England. New Jersey's Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield said a combination of factors including employers cutting the benefits they offer employees, which in turn affects the amount of money coming in to the insurer (The Star-Ledger, May 5, 2009). Most job elimination announcements came as a result of the downward trend in the United States economy, which has yet to turn around.
Despite layoffs, employers continued posting jobs on employment websites. New Jersey and Massachusetts both had substantial increases in the number of jobs posted -- 2.5 and 3.5 percent, respectively -- and no state saw a drop of more than one percent. The real change in postings came as a result of what types of jobs were posted; business development jobs, including research, were posted about 10 percent more overall than in April, while sales, marketing, and management positions all declined by an average of four percent. Meanwhile, employers actively searching for qualified applicants increased their efforts quite substantially in Illinois -- an increase of more than seven percent -- and New Jersey and Connecticut employers were up about three percent. California, Texas, and New York-based employers, conversely, decreased their candidate search efforts by three percent or more. Companies appeared to prefer active search to passive posting, increasing their efforts to find qualified medical, technical, and management candidates.
Job search efforts remained almost flat, changing very little from April to May. No state had swings of more than one percent. "Sometimes, the numbers can be a little deceiving," said Michele Hopps, director of marketing for, the internet's leading source for health care, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology jobs. "'Change' indicates more or fewer people looking, when it's more likely that the volume, rather than the proportion, has changed." Given the sweeping layoffs being announced by health care systems nationwide, as well as in Canada, it would be surprising to learn that more people are not looking for jobs.
As it becomes more difficult to secure available jobs, it has become more important than ever for applicants to ensure that they don't sabotage themselves in preventable ways. Generally this can be avoided by securing letters of recommendation -- and, if their careers are in sales, items for the brag book -- before departing the office that last time, but it goes beyond that. Recent news from Bozeman, Mont., indicates that employers of all types are starting to catch on to the information they can learn from social networks and the potential for exposure as a result. According to, someone seeking a job with the city was asked to provide not only links to social networking sites but the usernames and passwords used to enter them. While the consensus was that asking for usernames and passwords was going too far, employers have increased their diligence in digging up digital dirt on applicants. "Once something is on the internet, it's there forever, even if you think you deleted it," said Hopps. "It's hard to keep social networks professional -- especially when you use them to share photos and news with your friends -- but mistakes, especially now, can be very costly."

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 ©2009, MedZilla, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute this text in its entirety, and if electronically, with a link to the URL For permission to quote from or reproduce any portion of this message, please contact Michele Hopps, Director of Marketing and Development, MedZilla, Inc. Email: press(at)


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