Thursday, November 3, 2016

2015 ACS industrial member median salaries by work specialty

Credit: 2015 ChemCensus
Just a random perusing of the 2015 ChemCensus (the once-every-five-years salary survey of all domestic American Chemical Society members.) The response rate for the 2015 was ~33%, I estimate.

Seems to me to be reasonable that the pharmaceutical/medicinal chemist types show the highest pay.


  1. As a below-median (salary-wise, anyways) analytical chemist, I would be concerned with the data collection. Is the response rate similar between medicinal chemist and analytical chemists, for example? Self-filled surveys are generally filled with response bias.

  2. What do they mean by 'Chemical Education?' A bachelor's chemistry teacher makes 113k?! Sign me up!

  3. This seems highly exaggerated... Of 2100 surveyed, bachelor's organic chemist makes a median of $87k? I would like to see the median experience of these as I feel that's a salary for someone at 20+ years experience at least.

    1. Not too far off:

      "In 2015, 57.3% of industrial ACS workforce chemists have 25 years or more experience."

      Also, the age breakdowns are instructive:

      Table 26: Industrial Chemist Median Salary in Current Dollars
      (Amount in Thousands for Industrial Full-Time ACS Workforce Chemists)

      20-29: 54.8
      30-39: 91.9
      40-49: 115.6
      50-59: 130.0
      60-70+: 129.0

    2. Wow, I'm surprised these are are high as they are. And equally depressed at how poorly my salary compares to everyone else.

    3. Your best bet to figure out if you should be depressed or not, based on your numbers, is to use the ACS Salary Calculator - that will give you a percentile ranking:

    4. members only.

    5. It's important to remember that companies often pay the ACS dues for their chemists, and this is more likely to be the case for more senior positions and bigger, richer companies. This biased the average salary of members upwards relative to the at large pool.

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