Here is a news article that appeared online at The Seattle Post Intelligencer
I wonder how many of us can use this to leverage an increase in our wages :)
Shortage of scientists threatens biotech boom
By LUKE TIMMERMAN
Biotechnology companies, including Genentech Inc. and Gilead Sciences Inc., can't find enough scientists to hire, threatening to slow one of the industries bolstering U.S. job growth.
Genentech's work force doubled in the past four years to 10,500 and may rise 11 percent this year -- if managers can locate biomedical scientists.
Gilead bought two companies last year, partly to get 200 skilled employees.
The biotech business, which generated $51 billion in U.S. sales in 2005, is one of the fastest-growing U.S. industries, creating 40,000 jobs from 2001 to 2004, according to Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio.
Genentech says the lack of qualified applicants means the company is "scrambling" to grow. A drop over the past decade in the percentage of U.S. college graduates pursuing science is making the task harder.
"The big failing is in education, not only postgrad but also undergraduate, and even K-12," Robert Reich, the former U.S. labor secretary who is a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, said in an e-mail. "We do a lousy job of training our kids to be scientists."
About 1.2 million people held biotech jobs in the U.S. in 2004, in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and medical laboratories, Battelle says. Biotechnology involves the manipulation of proteins that form the building blocks of living organisms to develop drugs and vaccines. About 25 percent of U.S. biotech jobs are in California, according to the California Healthcare Institute.
Gilead, based in Foster City, Calif., says it must expand its work force by about 10 percent this year from 2,515 to deliver on investor expectations that revenue grow by about a third. Analysts estimated that Gilead's sales, which more than tripled in the past four years, will rise 30 percent in 2007, based on the average of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
Genentech, in South San Francisco, Calif., needs to recruit more than 1,000 people annually to keep up the momentum of the past three years, when revenue tripled to $9.28 billion, company officials said. Sales will rise 26 percent this year, based on the average estimate of 30 analysts.
"We're hiring as many good people as we can out there, but there's not an infinite number of terrific people," Art Levinson, chief executive officer of Genentech, said at an investor conference.
Biotech companies, which have produced some of the world's best-selling drugs to treat cancer, arthritis and AIDS, have long complained of a shortage of available scientists. Companies such as Genentech and Amgen Inc., the world's biggest biotech company, have given millions of dollars to schools for science education.
Last August, Genentech made 25 grants totaling $1.2 million for science programs near its California headquarters.
Amgen pledged $25 million in October for an eight-year program pairing science undergraduates with researchers at schools including Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
Biotech companies that can't hire in the U.S. will recruit foreign workers or open research centers overseas, Reich said. U.S. workers stand to miss out because the average biotech job pays $65,775 a year, compared with $39,003 in the overall private sector, according to the April 2006 study by Battelle.
Gilead and Genentech declined to say how many jobs they are filling with foreign-born or foreign-educated workers. About a third of Gilead's work force is outside the U.S., and the company is expanding in Europe, spokeswoman Erin Edgley said.
"It's hard to find enough people to grow the way we want," said John Milligan, chief operating officer of Gilead, the world's second-biggest seller of HIV drugs behind London-based GlaxoSmithKline PLC.
Instead of just hiring one at a time, Gilead has also acquired groups of workers elsewhere. In August, Gilead bought Corus Pharma in Seattle, primarily for its cystic fibrosis drug in the final stage of development, and also to get 90 scientists specializing in lung diseases.
Three months later, Gilead took over Myogen Inc., based in Westminster, Colo. It got two drugs in late-stage development and 160 new employees with expertise in cardiovascular disorders.
The number of qualified people looking for biotech jobs hasn't kept up with demand, according to the National Science Foundation. About 12 percent of U.S. college graduates in 2003 took science and engineering jobs, little changed from 11 percent a decade earlier, according to a December 2005 foundation study.