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

Even with layoff announcements from more than a dozen employers in health care, employment continued to increase in September, gaining 17,000 jobs overall. However, in the past month it seemed like no one was searching for those new jobs.

Seattle, WA (Vocus) October 31, 2008 -- Strong growth continues in the health care field, with an average of 30,000 jobs created each month. Even with layoff announcements from more than a dozen employers in health care, employment continued to increase in September, gaining 17,000 jobs overall.

Layoffs in health care were generally small in number with a few exceptions, most notably HealthSouth in Dallas and Massachusetts General. Meanwhile, biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms laid off fewer employees in September than in August -- only ten companies announced layoffs, and only one, Schering-Plough, planned to cut more than 100 employees. Most of the job eliminations came as a result of the overall U.S. economic situation; companies chose not to enter the credit market or had to restructure their financial situation overall and were forced to use layoffs as a way to save money. However, some pharmaceutical firms also eliminated research and development positions in an effort to narrow their foci onto new drugs with the greatest chance of success. Schering-Plough's layoffs, though, will come almost entirely from their 5,000-person sales force.
Despite the layoffs announced this month, companies are still in the market for new employees. Posted jobs for new medical education specialists rose by more than ten percent, followed by postings for medical and surgical candidates at 5.7 percent. Even sales representative postings rose from August to September by almost two percent. Less likely to be seen were business development and marketing postings, which fell by more than six percent over the past month.
Companies actively searching for new employees were mostly looking for clinical research associates or nursing candidates -- both up by more than two percent. Interestingly, they were not searching for medical technicians, physicians, or surgeons; those searches fell by more than 5.5 percent from August to September. This indicates that, while companies are creating new jobs and posting them, they are not specifically searching for candidates; instead, it appears they are waiting for the right candidates to come to them. This may be symptomatic of economic troubles on a wider scale; companies of course want to hire the best candidates, but they do not have the resources to go out and find them, nor are they always able to pay them what they deserve. Therefore, they prefer to make the jobs available and wait for candidates to find them if they want them.
The problem with that strategy, of course, is that people are not always looking for new jobs; in the past month, job searching by qualified candidates remained flat both geographically and on a type-of-job basis. In the past year, even though jobs have been created, the trend has been for people comfortable in their current positions to avoid changing jobs just for the sake of changing jobs. Over the past month, both U.S. and world markets have fluctuated wildly, and several major financial institutions have announced that they were in dire straits. With such uncertainty permeating the economy as a whole, even those dissatisfied with their jobs are less likely to look for something new.

This could spell difficulty for those who have the unenviable task of finding qualified candidates to fill the open positions. If people are not searching and applying, then companies cannot interview and hire them, but if companies do not have the capital to go out and find the candidates they need, then how will they find their new employees? It is a circular problem, but one that can be solved if employers remember that -- just like job searching -- fulfillment is an ongoing process. "It requires continuous assessing, planning, guiding, and nurturing," said Michele Hopps, director of marketing for "Recruiters can help, but if companies haven't made provisions for filling their new jobs, they will stand open until someone happens upon them on a job search site."

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 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)


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