Monday, June 2, 2014

2013 ACS Starting Salary Survey: employment, starting salaries trending flat

The latest ACS Starting Salary Survey is out, in an article this morning by Susan Morrissey. This is a survey of those who graduated in the 2013 academic year.

A quick summary:

Median salaries: New B.S. and Ph.D. graduate salaries were down from 2012 (39.6k for B.S. grads, down from 40.0k, 75.8k for Ph.D. grads, down from 80.0k.) M.S. new grad salaries were up to 55k from 48.0k in 201. Interesting to see the numbers in constant 2005 dollars, which reflects those numbers even more starkly.

Employment/unemployment: Up slightly for B.S. grads to 37%, from 2012's 34%. M.S. grad employment was down slightly to 48%, with Ph.D. grad full-time employment flat at 46%. The unemployment of B.S. new grads (20%) was at an 8 year high. M.S. new grad unemployment was at 19%, the second highest in 8 years, with the exception of 2011 (23%). Ph.D. unemployment was at an eight-year low at 6%.

Like swallows to Capistrano: Surveyed chemical engineers beat out chemists on all measures, with the exception of full-time employment for M.S. chemical engineers.

Academic employment up? I don't remember this statistical category from other years, but it is surprising to me how many (B.S.: 37%, M.S.: 44%, Ph.D.: 47%) took employment in academia, as opposed to industry (30%, 35%, 24%) or "other non-manufacturing" (25%, 12%, 21%.) This doesn't include graduate school or postdoctoral fellowships (I don't believe), so it's interesting to see how many of the non-doctoral survey respondents took technician/staff positions at universities.

The Eka-Silicon caveat: The response rate for the 2013 ACS Starting Salary Survey was 17.8%. That's a pretty low number, but about typical for the Starting Salary Survey. This means that the numbers are pretty noisy from year to year, so take these statistics with a grain of salt.

If you're interested, you can read the whole thing here, and play with their statistical table applet here. 

9 comments:

  1. The statistics may be too noisy to call any recent year-to-year changes a "trend", but they certainly don't support any of the "shortage" narratives that continue to have so much influence in academia.

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    1. It does seem there is a general positive trend after a bottom in 2011, though. More people are getting jobs, more of the jobs are permanent, fewer people are seeking, and fewer are going to grad school or taking post docs in pretty much most of the categories.

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    2. Speaking as an unemployed PhD organic chemist, I strongly disagree with Mr. Brick's assertion.

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    3. Things are still bad. It just seems that the data had an inflection point in 2011 and we are finally moving off the bottom.

      What worries me more is the starting salary data. It's noisy, but there is an obvious downward trend in the inflation-adjusted set for all education levels. A few more of us might be getting jobs than a couple years ago, but its only because we are taking large pay cuts for the privilege.

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  2. Why do you bother posting this BS?

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  3. How do the real dollar starting salaries compare to values from the 90s?

    Am I reading this correctly that full-time permanent employment for PhD chemists is 46%?

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    1. It's the class of 2013 that's being surveyed. (And dunno.)

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    2. 42% are doing postdocs, which aren't permanent, so yes, I believe you are reading that correctly.

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  4. Figures for my PhD graduation year of 2011 that only 33 % have permanent jobs and nearly 73 % are stuck in post-docs, unemployed, or temporary jobs. That confirms what I've seen and heard.

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