Merck Layoffs: From Rumor to Reality

Mar.29.09 | About: Merck & (MRK)

I’ve been hearing for a little while about impending layoffs at Merck (NYSE:MRK). I decided, though, that this isn’t the environment to be putting up posts about rumors of job cuts – everyone’s jumpy enough already. But unfortunately, they aren’t rumors anymore.

What I’m hearing about, in person and via e-mail, is what sounds like across the board R&D shrinkage. For what it’s worth, the damage seems heavier (on a percentage basis) at West Point and in Montreal, but I haven’t heard of any R&D area yet that’s completely missed out. More details are welcome from those closer to the sites affected.

You’d have to think that these cuts have been in the works for a while, but the Merck/Schering-Plough merger turned them into reality right now. Still, that’s a bit unusual – most of the time, with these mergers, the job cuts come from the new organization after the merger goes through. With one partner in the deal swinging the ax before that even happens, you wonder what’s going to go on once the two companies merge. Fewer cuts overall than people were estimating (or fewer on the Schering-Plough end? That would be a switch)? Or is this just a head-start on something that needed deeper cuts for it to make any financial sense at all?

Either way, if anyone out there knows of some organizations that are in a hiring mood, please feel free to post those details in the comments section. One thing’s for sure – anyone who is trying to fill positions these days will see some good candidates.