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					     COVER STORY




                                                 SALARIES
       Improve,
     CAREER
      GOALS Endure
             R&D Magazine’s annual career satisfaction and salary survey has few
           surprises but reveals consistent improvements in the state of researchers’
                            monetary and psychological well-being.


     S
                       cientists and engineers working in research labs saw     when researchers were asked where they would like to be in five
                       their salaries improve by nearly twice the inflation     years, the number of respondents who indicated they would be
                       rate on average in 2006, while receiving substantial     retired jumped from 19% in the 2004 survey to 27% in the 2005
                       bonuses over the same period for their work. From a      survey. The response to that same question in this year’s survey
     career standpoint, most researchers’ opinions of their positions,          dropped back down to 18%. These responses are further verified
     their employers, and their career goals have remained both similar         when the average age of the respondents is compared and found
     and strongly positive over the past three years.                           to be remarkably similar for all surveys.
        These and other conclusions were gleaned from R&D Magazine’s                This data reflects well on data from other reports on expected
     10th Annual Salary and Career Survey. The 2007 edition of this             retirement effects. Earlier data revealed that a severe shortage in
     report is based on 1) a Web-based reader survey on researchers’ job        researchers in mostly government agencies like NASA was expect-
     satisfaction and career goals—this survey was performed in January         ed primarily due to an aging researcher workforce. Up to 40% of
     2007 with more than 500 responses—and 2) a mail survey spon-               the workforce in one government agency alone was expected to be
     sored by R&D Magazine and performed by Abbott Langer & Asso-               lost due to retirement effects over a five to 10 year period. Howev-
     ciates, Crete, Ill., on U.S. researchers’ 2005/6 salary and total com-     er, new data reveals that that shortage is, in fact, not occurring.
     pensation levels. This survey was performed in August 2006 with            Analyses of these effects credit researchers with extending their
     more than 400 responses from more than 100 organizations.                  individual expected retirement dates, along with numerous orga-
                                                                                nizations relaxing their mandatory retirement age limits.
     Changing attitudes
     In our last Salary and Career Survey (2005), it was noted that                                 Length of Time with Current Employer
                                Do You Like Your Work?
                                                                                        More than 25 yr                           17.2%
                                                Don’t
                                 OK, but like   like it         Exactly what            20 to 25 yr        6.6%
                                 other work     2%               I like to do
        Like it, but like                                                               15 to 20 yr         7.4%
       other work more                 7%                       3%
                                                                                        10 to 15 yr                   11.8%
                      18%
                                                                                        5 to 10 yr                                17.4%
                                                                                        2 to 5 yr                                     20.1%
                                                          60%                           Less than 2 yr                               19.4%
                                                                                    0                  5          10         15      20        25
                                                                                                                  % Respondents
         Source: R&D Magazine                                                       Source: R&D Magazine
                                                  Like it very much



22   R&DMagazine                  March 2007                                                                                                 www.rdmag.com
                                                                                     Number of Companies Worked for Since Graduation
                                                                                                            More than five
                                                                                                                                                 One
                                                                                                                        13%                20%
                                                                                Five            12%

                                                                                               14%                                                     18%

                                                                                                                              23%
                                                                                  Four                                                                        Two


                                                                                 Source: R&D Magazine
                                                                                                                              Three



                                                                                              Most Researchers Work More Than 40 Hours

                                                                                         Less than 35 hr          3%
                                                                                         35 to 40 hr               12%
                                                                                         40 to 45 hr                                                        36%
                                                                                         45 to 50 hr                                       27%
                                                                                         50 to 55 hr              10%
                                                                                         55 to 60 hr        8%
                                                                                         More than 60 hr          4%
       The overall aging of the research workforce also may not be as
    much of a problem as once thought. A very recent increase in the                 0           5           10         15    20      25    30         35    40
    number of non-U.S. students enrolling in U.S. universities sup-                                                      % Respondents
    ports the reversal of a decline since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11,         Source: R&D Magazine
    2001, in the number of new researchers available to be hired from
    academia into government and industrial research labs. Native              45.1 hrs/wk in 2005. But while the numbers show a slightly larg-
    U.S. students are increasing their enrollments in academia as well.        er number of hours worked per week, researchers’ perception is
    Minorities, especially women and Hispanics, are increasingly               contrary to the numbers. A slightly larger number of researchers
    looking to careers in research. The number of female students in           in 2007 (25.6%) state that they work fewer hours per week now
    science and engineering courses in U.S. academia has exceeded the          than they did five years ago. Only 21.6% of the respondents in
    number of male students since 2000. And the growth rate of His-            the 2005 survey responded in the same manner.
    panic students going into science and engineering careers exceeds              On the other side of this question—do you expect to work
    even the growth rate of female students. These enrollment                  greater or fewer hours per week in five years—the number who said
    changes will have negligible effects on the current situation, but         they would be retired in five years (reflecting on the previous item
    will work as “leveling agents” in future years to offset at least part     above) declined from 17.7% in 2005 to just 11.3% in 2007. These
    of the retirement effects.                                                 results are definitely out of the statistical variations and reflect credi-
       An interesting note to the survey is reflected in the question          ble differences in respondent expectations.
    asking researchers if they work in the same area in which they                 When asked if their jobs interfered with their personal time,
    were educated. The results on this question have not changed               about 39% of the research respondents indicated that it did, either
    statistically over the past three years—just under half work in the        often or most of the time. About 54% of the respondents said that
    discipline in which they were educated. But that means that                it only occurred every once in a while, and only 6% said that their
    more than half work in areas in which they were not educated.              jobs hardly ever interfered with their personal time. The results in
    About a quarter of the respondents employ a combination of                 this year’s study were identical to those in the previous 2005 survey.
    disciplines in their work, reflecting the multidisciplinary aspect             Filling vacant engineering or science research positions was
    of modern R&D projects.                                                    more difficult in 2007 than it was in 2005. More than two-thirds
       The number of hours that researchers work per week was                  of the respondents (69%) indicated that it was difficult or some-
    basically the same as in the last survey, 45.8 hrs/wk in 2007 vs           what difficult to fill these positions in 2007, compared to only


www.rdmag.com                                                                                                                 March 2007         R&DMagazine        23
                                   More Receiving Benefits                                 64% in the 2005 survey. 31% of the respondents said that it was
                                                                                           easy or somewhat easy to fill the positions in 2007.
            Medical insurance                                                      89%
            Paid vacation                                                          89%     More satisfied
                                                                                           About 81% of the 2007 research respondents indicated that they
            401K plan                                                       84%            were somewhat or very satisfied with their research positions, com-
                                                                                           pared to 79% in 2005—statistically identical results. The ability to
            Disability insurance                            58%                            work independently was the main reason that researchers liked their
                                                                                           jobs—64% picked that as their number one choice in 2007 com-
            Educational reimbursement                  52%                                 pared to 60% in 2005, still the number one choice in that survey.
            Performance bonus                      45%                                         The next three choices for why researchers like their jobs was
                                                                                           again the same as in the 2005 survey—interesting/variety of
            Pension plan                          44%                                      work (52% in 2007, 50% in 2005); solving challenging problems
                                                                                           (50% in 2007, 49% in 2005); and doing what I’m good at (48%
            Profit sharing         22%                                                     in 2007, 46% in 2005). Overall, the two surveys were strikingly
                                                                                           similar in both the most satisfying and the least satisfying aspects
            Stock options          19%
                                                                                           of the researchers’ jobs.
            Company car            6%                                                          In the least satisfying aspect of the researchers’ jobs, too much
                                                                                           bureaucracy stood out as the largest response item (38%). Inade-
            Child care         4%                                                          quate staff (31%), compensation/benefits (27%), operating bud-
        0                   20               40             60         80            100   get (27%), no advancement opportunities (25%), and not
                                                                                           enough appreciation by management were the follow-up least
        Source: R&D Magazine                 % Respondents
                                                                                           satisfying choices.
                                                                                               When asked if researchers liked their work, about 13% said that
                                                                                           it was exactly what they like to do, with 60% stating that they liked
                         Small Improvement in R&D Interest

                          No change in R&D                                                         What Are the Most Satisfying Aspects of Your Job?
                                                                       Increase R&D
                                         30%                                                       Ability to work independently                          64%
                                                                            44%                    Interesting/variety of work                     52%
                 16%                                                                               Solving challenging problems                    50%
                                                   10%                                             Doing what I'm good at                     48%

            Don’t know
                                                                                                   People I work with               36%
            Source: R&D Magazine
                                              Decrease R&D                                         Product/process development          22%
                                                                                                   Compensation/benefits          19%
        Researchers Mostly Satisfied With Their Positions                                          Basic research       15%
            Somewhat                    Very dissatisfied                                          Appreciation by management           14%
            dissatisfied                                          Very satisfied
                                              4%                                                   Improving the quality of life    14%
                           15%
                                                                   34%                             Stability       14%
                                                                                                   Facilities/technologies    10%
                                                                                                   Advancement opportunities       6%
                                    47%
                                                                                                   Travel    6%
                                                                                               0            10         20    30     40        50     60   70      80
                               Somewhat satisfied
                                                                                                                              % Respondents
            Source: R&D Magazine                                                                Source: R&D Magazine




24   R&DMagazine                    March 2007                                                                                                                  www.rdmag.com
                    What Was Your Salary Increase in 2006?                         What Are the Least Satisfying Aspects of Your Job?

            More than 30%           2.4%                                           Too much bureaucracy                                           38%
            25.01 to 30%        0.5%                                               Inadequate staff                                        31%
            20.01 to 25%        0.2%                                               Compensation/benefits                             27%
            15.01 to 20%        2.2%                                               Operating budget                                  27%
            10.01 to 15%        4.4%                                               No advancement opportunities                     25%
            9.01 to 10%        2.2%                                                No appreciation from management              24%
            8.01 to 9%         1.0%                                                No feedback from management            19%
            7.01 to 8%         3.7%                                                Menial tasks                    18%
            6.01 to 7%         3.2%                                                Workload                        18%
            5.01 to 6%         2.0%                                                Lack of stability              17%
            4.01 to 5%         8.3%                                                Inadequate facilities/technology       16%
            3 to 4%                                                35.7%           Inability to keep up with technology        9%
            Less than 3%                                       34.2%               Too many management duties             8%
        0          5           10      15    20     25   30   35     40            People I work with      6%
        Source: R&D Magazine            % Respondents                              Travel       5%
    it very much. About 18% of the researcher respondents were neu-                Inability to work independently        4%
    tral about their jobs, and about 8% outright didn’t like it. The
                                                                               0            5         10   15        20        25     30     35   40
    2007 survey results were identical to those in the 2005 survey.
        Some of the improvement in researchers’ appreciation of                Source: R&D Magazine             % Respondents
    their jobs was reflected in an increase in the level of their
    employers’ perceived commitment to R&D. About 83% of the                   A small sample of the details from the Abbott Langer & Asso-
    respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their employers were        ciates compensation survey is shown in the attached tables. The
    committed to R&D. This commitment level was less than 75%              Langer report provides more details on salaries by the minimum
    in the 2005 survey.                                                    and maximum ranges, cash bonuses, and total cash compensa-
        This commitment was further verified in the researchers’           tion. The statistics are further detailed by the mean, median, first
    responses to their outlook for their employers’ future. About          and ninth decile, and first and third quartiles. The salaries shown
    64% said that their employers will grow or expand in the future,       in the attached tables reflect the current mean annual salary of
    up from just 54% in the 2005 survey. About the same level of           the individual, without any cash bonus or profit sharing added
    response was seen in their opinions as to their employers’ expan-      into the compensation.
    sion plans into Asia in the future (15% in 2007, 18% in 2005).             The overall results, while often statistically skewed slightly due
        Winding up the reasons for researcher job satisfaction, paid       to outliers, are generally indicative of the demographic and geo-
    vacation (89%), medical insurance (89%), and 401(k) plans              graphic influences on compensation levels. The outliers generally
    (84%) were the standouts in benefits that researchers receive          influence the percentage changes from one survey iteration to
    from their employers—very similar results to the responses in          the next. As such, the large changes (greater than 10%) should
    the 2005 survey. The benefits that received the fewest number of       likely be considered statistically inaccurate.
    responses included company car (6%), child care (4%), and sales            Pacific, Northeast, and Southern (which includes D.C., Mary-
    commissions (1%)—the three lowest in the 2005 survey as well           land, and Florida) regions are historically the highest paying
    with identical response levels.                                        regions of the country for R&D directors, researchers, and tech-
                                                                           nicians alike. They are where the action is, with the largest labs,
    Salary improvements all around                                         the most prestigious universities, and the leading government
    Scientists and engineers working in research labs in 2006 saw          research facilities. In addition, high population densities in these
    their salaries improve 4.7% on average over what they received in      areas make them very cost competitive areas, while the North
    2005, according to the R&D Magazine Web-based reader sur-              Central, Mountain, and Midwest regions tend to have consistent-
    veys. The researchers similarly received bonuses of between            ly lower compensation levels for all categories of researchers.
    $5730 and $7335 on average in the same period.                             Similarly, Sunbelt and government center locations tend to draw


www.rdmag.com                                                                                                         March 2007           R&DMagazine   25
         What Level of Extra Incentive Did You Receive in 2006?

             Less than $5,000                                                    64%
             $5,000 to $15,000                22%
             $15,001 to $25,000               7%
             $25,001 to $35,000               2%
             $35,001 to $45,000               1%
             $45,001 to $60,000               2%
             More than $60,000                2%
        0             10           20         30          40        50     60        70   80
                                               % Respondents
         Source: R&D Magazine



                             U.S. Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded
                                 in Science & Engineering
                                                                                                 higher compensation levels for researchers while Rustbelt and for-
      250,000                                                                                    mer industrial centers tend to draw lower compensation levels.
                                                                                Female S&E
                                                                                Male S&E             There are specific trends in compensation levels for each of the
                                                                                                 research categories that take some explanation. For example, in the
      225,000
                                                                                                 R&D director category, the compensation trend over time shows a
                                                                                                 sharp rise and fall, a plateau, and then a sharp rise again for direc-
                                                                                                 tors with 25 or more years of experience. These trends are classical
      200,000
                                                                                                 in that researchers with relatively little experience, but who
                                                                                                 become directors early on, are fast-track types who demand larger
      175,000                                                                                    compensation packages. Similarly, directors with 25 or more years
                                                                                                 of experience have shown their capabilities and are proven per-
                                                                                                 formers, again demanding higher compensation packages.
      150,000                                                                                        This trend contrasts with that of researchers over the same time
                        1997           1998        2000        2001      2002    2003     2004   span, where there is a steady improvement with few rises or falls.
      Source: National Science Foundation                                                        The scientists and engineers are proving themselves over time with
                                                                                                 steady, consistent improvements in compensation levels.
                                                                                                     These same comparisons between director-and researcher-
                       What Would You Like to do in Five Years?                                  level individuals holds again when looking at the trends in edu-
                                                                                                 cational level. For researchers moving from BS to MS to PhD lev-
             Move up in my organization                                                   38%    els, there is a consistent steady increase in compensation
                                                                                                 packages, as each improvement provides an incremental capabil-
             Do what I‘m doing now                                        28%
                                                                                                 ity to the research organization. For the director level, those indi-
             Work at another organization                  19%                                   viduals who attain a director position with just an MS degree are
                                                                                                 likely again to be “fast-trackers” or “movers and shakers” who at
             Retire                                   18%                                        this point in their careers are likely to outperform—and out-
                                                                                                 demand for compensation packages—those comparable direc-
             Own my own company                    14%                                           tors with PhD credentials.
             Teach                     10%                                                           It should be noted that the three research categories provided
                                                                                                 in the Abbott Langer compensation report—director, researcher,
             Work in another section for my current employer                    9%               and technician—have basically no overlaps in compensation lev-
                                                                                                 els, regardless of specific experience, education, functional sector,
             Work in another part of the U.S.                  9%                                or geographic location. The specific requirements and responsi-
                                                                                                 bilities for each of these groups are very distinct and compensat-
             Work in a foreign country               5%
                                                                                                 ed at levels that are very distinct as well, from the very entry to
         0             5            10        15          20      25       30    35       40     the very senior levels. This has not always been the case, and is
                                               % Respondents                                     not the case in other industries and disciplines.
         Source: R&D Magazine
                                                                                                                                                           —Tim Studt


26   R&DMagazine                            March 2007                                                                                                      www.rdmag.com

				
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