Merck hiring may show FDA influence

The ZRG Partners global life sciences hiring index for the fourth quarter of 2010 shows a 12 percent increase in job postings for regulatory, quality and clinical jobs over Q3 figures; a 16 percent rise over the second quarter. "Greatly heightened scrutiny by the FDA and the well-publicized quality issues at J&J in 2010 have many companies boosting their regulatory/quality/clinical functions," says the recruitment consultancy.

As if to prove ZRG's point, Merck says it plans to hire 310 people in the Durham, NC, area over the next two years, some 50 to 60 of whom will work in quality control labs supporting a vaccine-making site. The Herald Sun of Durham reports the drugmaker is adding a 40,000-square-foot building for quality control labs and expects by 2012 that the site will be producing vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox and shingles. 

ZRG notes, however, that the rise it measured in QA job postings is offset by a 22 percent drop in manufacturing openings, compared with the third quarter. It attributes much of the drop to Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, while the Americas "showed a surprising 1.9-percent overall increase in hiring opportunities."

Many of the Merck openings, of course, will be for manufacturing positions. Genzyme currently has more than 150 job openings [see related story], many in manufacturing. And hiring in the outsourcing/services sector is on the rise.

- see the ZRG Partners hiring index
- here's the Merck story
- and here are the Merck job listings