Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The median industrial member of the ACS made $130,000 in 2021

2021 ACS Salary Survey
credit: Chemical and Engineering News


From the ACS Salary Survey. Perhaps not a surprise that 2021 saw a reduction in government and academic salaries. If there's a rebound for the 2022 survey (although a lot of that may be inflation-related cost of living increases), we might be able to attribute this to the pandemic. 


  1. That's kind of a useless statistic because - what is the average age, experience, and education level of the median industrial ACS member?

    1. average age, experience, education level, job title, and location*

      ACS does have their survey categorized by edu at least:
      ex. on the west coast Bs makes 95k and MS makes 98k. PhD makes 120k. (myself as a phd holder dont make 95k...)
      However only ~25% of the respondents were <34 years old. By average I'd say this is the salary you can expect with a MS at mid-career, 35-40?

      The academia salary sounds miserable and I was about to argue that's the starting salary I've heard for faculty positions (and potentially only for 9 months?), but then I realized most people don't hold faculty positions fresh off of grad school, combining with the average 3-5 years spent in postdocs it actually sounded about right, this might be the salary you can expect in academia at 35. However I'd still like to argue many associate professors make more than that on publicly disclosed salary charts of public schools.

    3. I need to investigate what the stats are for Australian chemists, if your median US PhD holder in Industry is earning USD$120k p/a, which is around AUD$160k p/a. I'm (around) 30 and earn (around) $65k p/a, having finished my doctorate a couple of years ago. Not that I'm expecting the job market at all to be the same, I'm just wondering what kind of position I should be aiming for if I want to get that sort of cash (working as an analytical chemist doing enviro work at the moment).

  2. I know you have to get more granular than the bar graph shown, but it’s still pretty easy to see why chemists are flocking to industry instead of sticking around in acedemia.

  3. What does "industry" encompass? There are many non-academic/non-government positions that could employ PhDs, such as medical writing and the business-side of pharma, that may not be viewed through a traditional 'industry' lens. And these jobs certainly pay more than academic positions, they may not pay as well as industry-research positions (at least at first).


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20