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Chips to Hits Job Fair Showcases Job Website, Employers, But Offers Few Microarray Jobs

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Type microarray in the search box on Monster.com and it likely will return some 76 “hits” on jobs ranging from a help wanted ad for a senior biostatistician posted by a job recruiter, to an ad for a principal scientist posted by GlaxoSmithKline.

In the future, the information on Monster might come from employment ads that originate on BioView.com, an Oakland, Calif.-based website covering employment in the biotech and biopharmaceutical industries that was acquired last year by Monster’s owner, New York-based TMP Worldwide.

Monday, BioView was co-sponsor of a job fair held at the Chips to Hits conference in Philadelphia. In a high-ceilinged ballroom deep in the convention center next to the conference venue, BioView and representatives from a half dozen other firms set up chairs behind 8-foot-long folding banquet tables covered with bright yellow tablecloths, accepting resumés. BioView was there to market itself to job seekers and job posters.

Like other job sites, BioView allows users to post their resumés and employers to find appropriate candidates for openings. Though in the same family as Monster, its ads and resumé base are separate from those on Monster, so searching on one, doesn’t mean getting both.

Employers joining BioView included a consulting firm, a clinical research organization, a local hospital, and Rosetta Inpharmatics. In a time when there are at least eight million unemployed, employers were far outnumbered by those who would be employed.

“It’s the end of the year, budgets are at a standstill and pharmaceutical companies are not hiring,” said Jason Dominici, sales manager for BioView. “Biotechs are being hit by the economy and they need financing and the VCs are not giving financing.”

Still, at least two employers had many jobs to offer. Lisa Junglov, a human resources business partner for Rosetta Inpharmatics, a Seattle-based subsidiary of Merck, had eight senior research scientist positions to fill in her specialty of molecular profiling.

“A great hire would have years of industry experience, Affymetrix experience, programming skills, a good publication record and experience working with glass,” — and all on a one-page resumé, she said.

Hospital Competes with Pharma, Biotechs for Talent

Nelcine Dudley, a consultant with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said she and a colleague came to their booth with 100 jobs to fill, 50 of them in senior research positions. She was seeking research skills, and experience in cell biology, tissue culture, PCR and genotyping with an education at the master’s degree level, as well as entry-level and senior-level jobs. Most of the jobs she was looking to fill would be funded by NIH grants and, depending on the length of the study, would pay from $35,000 to $50,000 a year, she said.

Her challenge, working in the Philadelphia market, is competing for talent with the many pharmaceutical and biotech firms located within an hour’s driving distance.

She said the job fair produced one or two candidates of interest and a lot of pathos.

“We had a lot of people come in who are unemployed,” she said. “It’s very sad, there were some very smart and talented people I talked to today who have been out of work for months and find it harder and harder to get a job.”

The Talent

Michael Nebozhyn and Andrey Lobado, two 30-year-old post-docs at Penn’s Wistar Institute, dropped in at several job fair booths. They left resumés with Rosetta and said they would be open to relocating across the country “for the right job.”

The resumés they left listed skills in the statistical analysis of microarray data. Nebozhyn, an engineer from the Ukraine, and Lobada, a biophysicist from Kiev, said their dream jobs would pay $80,000 a year.

They think they are in the right employment space.

“It’s an industry that is going to be exploding,” Lobado said.

The Rosetta recruiter took their resumés, scribbling a little note at the top of the cream-colored pages the two provided.

“If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll call you,” she told them.

— MOK

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