Genzyme hiring push a hopeful sign for industry

The pharma operations job outlook may appear to remain bleak, given last week's news that GSK will divest two U.S. facilities, likely wiping out 460 manufacturing jobs. Add to that the recent Challenger, Gray & Christmas tally of nearly 300,000 pharma jobs lost since 2000. But operations jobs are in fact available, and more may be on the way.

Massachusetts-based Genzyme, for example, is in the midst of a hiring push that stems from a manufacturing ramp up at a new plant and the addition of jobs at its existing Allston Landing plant, currently operating under consent decree with the FDA. The company expects regulatory approval for Fabrazyme production later this year at the new plant in Framingham, west of Boston, driving the need for production personnel, according to spokesperson Erin Emlock in an email.

Hiring at the Allston Landing site, she says, involves some turnover replacement, "but the vast majority are additions" to existing staff.

In all, Genzyme currently lists more than 150 openings worldwide. Included are manufacturing associate and technician positions mingled with the supervisor and manufacturing-specialist openings. Some postings date from early 2010. "Some roles are more challenging to fill than others--those with a highly specialized technical skillset, or some senior leadership positions where we are looking for both the leadership capability and experience working through our specific business conditions," Emlock says.

Like Genzyme, recruiter Bonnie Featherstone reports challenges in filling some client openings across the pharma-heavy greater New Jersey area. In 2007 it was easy to place candidates from either end of the experience pool. It's not so easy now, she says. And when she begins working with clients who've been downsized from the pharma industry, she tells them not to expect the salary they had been earning.

- here are the Genzyme listings
- see the NJ-area story

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