only slowing down hiring but also laying off their current employees. Last month, for example, Pfizer Inc., headquartered in New York, announced that it would eliminate 3,000 jobs; Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Upjohn Co. announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs; and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. announced 4,000 planned layoffs.

The displaced scientists are "excellent hires for us," says Ed Bocko, Jr., a biotechnology human resource consultant for Protran Resources Inc. of Sharon, Mass., "but the biotech industry is not large enough to absorb the large numbers of people. Large numbers of scientists on the market is not good news" for job seekers.

On an optimistic note, Irwin Ruderfer, president of Krow Associates, a recruitment firm in Little Falls, N.J., says that extreme cautiousness on the part of pharmaceutical firms cannot continue indefinitely. "A narrowing down or cutting back of the work force will not be an ongoing philosophy," says Ruderfer, who...

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