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Salaries of Scientists and Engineers Outpace Inflation, Says Report


      Starting salary offers to new baccalaureate college graduates showed healthy increases in 2005, an indication that the labor market is indeed improving, according to the 21st edition of “Salaries, Scientists, Engineers and Technicians: A Summary of Salary Surveys,” released this month by the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology.

      Graduates with computer-related degrees in 2005 found expanding job opportunities for the first time in several years, and their starting salaries reflected this improved labor market. Average starting salary offers for computer science graduates increased 3.3 % between Fall 2004 and Fall 2005, reaching $50,664. For information sciences and systems graduates, a 3.6 % increase raised their average starting salary offer to $43,902. Gains were seen across all science and engineering fields, with the most significant increases in sociology (up 7.5 %), the biological/life sciences (up 7 %), psychology (up 6.5 %) and civil engineering (up 4.1 %).

      Salaries of experienced scientists and engineers also showed healthy increases in recent years. For example, the average annual average wage for biomedical engineers increased from $63,330 to $70,800 in the same time period. Other highlights from the report include:

  • Doctoral scientists reported a median salary of $80,000 in 2003, a 9.6% increase from the median $73,000 reported in 2001. Median salaries for doctoral engineers reached $97,300 in 2003, a 7.5% increase from $90,500 in 2001. The overall median salary for all doctoral scientists and engineers in 2003 was $82,000.
  • Women doctorates in science and engineering continue to earn less than their male counterparts. Overall, women earned just 80.9 % of what men did in 2003, but that percentage is greatly improved from just 76.5 % in 2001. Some of the salary disparity can be accounted for by the fact that women doctorates tend to be in lower-paying fields and in lower paying work activities (such as teaching), and have less experience overall.
  • In 2003, median salaries for recent science and engineering graduates in the U.S. were $36,000 for bachelor’s degree recipients and $52,000 for master’s degree recipients. By race/ethnicity, Asian/Pacific Islanders earned the highest median salaries at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels and Blacks earned the lowest at both levels.
  • Faculty salaries increased 2.8% overall between 2003-04 and 2004-05, reaching an average $68,505. Average salaries for faculty at a select group of doctoral degree-granting institutions were considerably higher — $79,557. By science and engineering field at these institutions, engineering faculty commanded the highest average salary at $92,967 but computer and information sciences faculty were not far behind at $92,545. In the biological and biomedical sciences, by subfield, salaries ranged from a high of $98,655 in epidemiology to a low of $62,794 in marine biology/oceanography.

For more highlights from the report and to download the publication, visit

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