Current salary trends in science

The article “What are you worth?” in the New Scientist 2014 Career Guide by Jessica Hamzelou, based on the September 2013 salary survey across the scientific sector (over 5000 participants), has revealed a rather gloomy picture. The main message from the collected data is that the scientists across the UK, Europe and North America have taken a pay cut since 2012. The UK has seen the worst drop in average salary – 8 percent down to £32,960. The scientists in North America have been affected the least: on average they are now earning $1440 less ($72470 in 2013). The economic recession of 2008 is the most obvious reason for such austerity with its effect still being felt across the countries five years on. The severe spending cuts by the Coalition Government in the UK, however, have had further undermining effect on the British science industries – in fact, the salaries in the UK haven’t yet recovered to their 2008 level. The lowest earners are those working in chemistry, particularly in academia, and the highest – in oil and gas industry.
The most worrying result of the 2013 survey is the still-present gap in the salaries of men and women, which grows with the employee’s experience. Women with more than 20 years of experience earn on average £9500 less than men in the UK, and $17,400 less – in North America. Discrimination is still one of the major causes behind the gender based salary differences, which was highlighted by Professor Jo Handelsman’s (Yale University) experiment, mentioned in the article. She sent fictional job applications from “John” and “Jennifer” to various research organisations. “John”, who had identical qualifications and job experience to “Jennifer”, was always rated as the most competent candidate than “Jennifer” and was offered a higher salary.
What do scientists lose their sleep over at the present? Their job prospects. Around half of the surveyed participants across all countries confessed that their current employment situation looked poor; with around a third of all respondents said they didn’t expect to work for their present employer longer than a year

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