If asked by a young scientist considering career options, would you recommend your career? Over half of respondents to this
survey said they would. Here, our annual salary survey takes a look at the salaries and working conditions for spectroscopists
to find out why.
For more than a decade, spectroscopists have been invited to take part in the annual Spectroscopy salary survey. Over this period there has been great change, and this year is no exception. With the global economy looking
a little bleak to say the least, it is a pleasant surprise to find that the future looks a little brighter for spectroscopists.
With salaries continuing to rise (see Table I), satisfaction levels are high, and generally the outlook is good.
Figure 1: The six biggest specialty areas of respondents: (a) inside chart: number of respondents in each specialty area in
2012; (b) outside chart: number in 2013.
This year, the survey had a healthy number of respondents, a total of 471, with 89% completing all questions. As individuals
have differing limits on the information that they are willing to share, the survey allowed for the skipping of questions.
This choice was intended to reduce the risk of false results, and it resulted in differing numbers of responses for some questions.
Within this article, data are presented as percentages to allow comparison between data. The profile of the respondents is
shown in the breakdown below:
- Age of respondent: 18% <40 years; 30% 40–50 years; 31% 50–60 years; and 21% 60+ years.
- Gender: 25% female and 75% male.
- Employment status: 91% of spectroscopists are employed full time.
- Primary field of analysis: 49% analytical chemistry; 11% pharmaceuticals; 8% environmental; 6% instrument design and development;
4% organic chemicals; 4% biotechnology; 4% forensics or narcotics; 3% plastics, polymers, and rubber; 2% agriculture and food;
2% medical or biological; 2% petroleum or energy; 2% inorganic chemicals; 2% metallurgy, and less than 1% biotechnology. (Refer
to Figure 2 for comparison between 2012 and 2013.)
- Area of employment: The biggest employment area is private industry, over half of respondents (53.23%).
- Education level: 42% doctoral degree; 24% master's degree; 31% bachelor's degree, and 4% associate degree.
The average salary reported this year was $88,018, an increase of $2958 compared to last year's average. Table I lists the
average salaries reported for 2002–2012. Looking at the split between the genders, the average salary for women has increased
by 9% from 2012 to 2013 — from $71, 988 to $81,163 — whereas for men it has increased by 5% from 2012 to 2013 — from $88,468
Table I: Average salaries 2002–2013
This year's level of overall increase is considerably higher than that of last year, indicating that the prospects for spectroscopists