Posted by: Audrey Erbes | January 15, 2011

Jobs That Crossed My Desk as Economy Improves

I’m a few days late with this week’s list of Jobs as I was attending the JP Morgan and Biotech Showcase conferences in San Francisco this past week. But I’ve attached the Jobs That Crossed My Desk accumulated since my Jan. 5th listing plus the previous 3 weeks. (Right click on highlighted word and open in a new window.)
There’s good news on the economic front with the stock market up and many other indicators positive as well. Doug Braunstein and Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan emphasized this in their presentations at the meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at over 11,700 on Friday with possibilities of reaching 12,000 on Monday. This would normally mean a more rapid recovery in jobs but that change is slower to develop than would be preferred in this environment. We’re told that corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars which once unleashed should resolve the problem. But an important question will be where will they spend that money in this global economy?
Our industry has always been the source of innovation and, therefore, should benefit from corporate America’s recovery and comfort in spending once again. But with VC money reduced for the time being, there won’t be the level of new startup and emerging company jobs that we’d expect otherwise. As reported in my PharmExecBlog on Big Pharma, numerous jobs in the major 7 markets are being cut to invest in a new and growing workforce in Emerging Markets, especially, China but also India, Brazil and Russia. The heaviest hits are in the sales force ranks as the Big Pharma companies try to recover with cuts from the loss of blockbuster drugs that went off the “patent cliff” or will soon go off of patent and drugs that failed in Phase III.
Promoters from China are encouraging U.S. entrepreneurs to locate their potential startup in China where they can access cheaper labor and even possibly qualify for government grants. But these arrangements often come with a catch. We know that any science breakthrough that rises to patentability status there must be patented in China first and the company must first get permission from the government to patent elsewhere. Many Americans who have gone to China, just as those who rushed to Russia and countries like Latvia after the fall of communist rule, have learned that the anticipated labor cost savings may not be real savings when the costs of management from afar and corruption are considered in the equation. Corruption and the rule of thugs in several of those newly “democratized” countries of Eastern Europe spoiled the dreams of visionary entrepreneurs from the U.S. and sent them back to the U.S. much poorer.
Experienced management and workers are scarce and in high demand in China. One of the common complaints I hear is that there’s constant turnover as newly trained workers are lured to other companies. One impact of this is rising wages with management costs quickly becoming equivalent to those, perhaps not in the Bay Area, but at least Alabama as mentioned by returning a Chinese ex-patriot in a news story recently.
In a culture where innovative thinking was suppressed and the academic elite tortured and ridiculed by the Cultural Revolution not so long ago in my lifetime, a whole generation of thinking individuals either fled the country or came into line to survive. An experienced management class is missing in the Chinese demographics.
China is still a Communist country without an open market of ideas and free market capitalism. It’s called State Capitalism which means the State/Communist party runs the economy and shapes the outcomes. Western industry-experienced Chinese ex-patriots with fluency in Mandarin who take Phase II patented products to China to form a company there seem to have an easier time and are claiming business success. But they know that the society is not open and they must be careful not to question government decisions that impact their business. The disappearance and jailing of press and dissenters and human rights abuses against those who practice a religion continues despite all the outward trappings of rising middle class and wealth of China.
I haven’t seen any statistics on it but I’ve noted that the Bay Area families of these entrepreneur returnees remain remain here and that a large number of the very rich also live outside China. I’m concerned that without the “rule of law” the individual is left to the vagaries of the State and its ruling Communist Party elite who will personally benefit and reap a major share of the financial rewards of innovation and high technology brought into their system by outsiders. I suggest great caution on the part of those who are getting desperate to establish a new company to develop their ideas to include a careful assessment of the risks of operating a business in a State Capitalism society without the “rule of law.” This should become an important part of any “opportunity assessment” before  starting a new company. I’d add to my “Six Pillars of Success,” the macro  environment’s impact on business operations–that of the economic and government system.
I came away from the JP Morgan meeting with greater confidence that our economy is improving for those employed and looking for a change or career advancement as well as those “in transition” seeking a new job. I continue to collect the jobs that cross my desk in the hopes that it’s useful to you personally or a friend or colleague.
Be sure to consider the upcoming Biotech Bay Career Fair on Jan. 24th listed on p. 48 and my next UCSC Extension Course, Bioscience Product Marketing with an early enrollment discount that ends on Jan. 27th. The course will run for 6 Thursday evenings starting Feb. 10 through March 24th with exception of March 17th. See details at


  1. […] looked at growth of companies in China in the blog of Jan. 15 where we discussed the potential for outsiders to be successful in China . In this blog I turn to […]

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