Salary Survey: Is Your Paycheck as Robust as Your Proteins?

January 1, 2007
Marilyn Kochman

BioPharm International, BioPharm International-01-01-2007, Volume 20, Issue 1

The biotechnology industry is thriving, and hopefully you are too. BioPharm International's first salary and employee satisfaction survey presents a wealth of data that will allow you to compare many aspects of your job with those of your peers. The survey reports on demographics, education, work experience, salary and benefits, and attitudes toward current employment.

The biotechnology industry is thriving, and hopefully you are too. BioPharm International's first salary and employee satisfaction survey presents a wealth of data that will allow you to compare many aspects of your job with those of your peers. The survey reports on demographics, education, work experience, salary and benefits, and attitudes toward current employment.

Marilyn Kochman

The survey was conducted by BioPharm International's market research department in the fall of 2006. It was e-mailed to 8,640 readers around the globe, and generated 498 responses, or 6%. A little more than half of survey participants are from the United States (including Puerto Rico); 18% from Europe (which includes 5% from United Kingdom); 10% from Canada; and 9% from India. A smattering of respondents are from other places around the globe.

When reviewing the data, please be sure to consider how geographic location affects salary and cost of living. Also take into account your years of experience, job function, and education. Please note that percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

THE BIG PICTURE

Forty percent of respondents work in publicly traded companies, while 38% work in privately held firms. Slightly over 13% hold jobs in academic institutions, and 2.4% are self-employed. Respondents work in biopharmaceutcial manufacturing, small molecule pharmaceuticals with a biotech focus, and research institutes, among other venues.

More men than women responded to our survey: 70% versus 30%. Not suprisingly, the workforce is highly educated, with more than 34% of respondents holding doctorate degrees (PhD, MD, PharmD), a quarter holding master's degrees, and 29% bachelor's degrees.

WHAT THEY DO, AND HOW MANY DO IT

Survey respondents range from research scientists and laboratory technicians to design engineers and purchasing professionals. Figure I provides a breakdown of who does what, and how many do it.

Figure 1. Job spectrum of survey respondents

WHO EARNS WHAT

According to the survey, the mean salary for all US respondents is $71,874; for all European respondents, it is 44,407 ($57,729)—about 20% less (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Mean annual salary of respondents

In the US, the bulk of our respondents earn between $50,000 and $100,000; 18% earn between $25,000 and $50,000; and 17% earn more than $100,000. Surprisingly, nearly 20% earn less than $25,000.

The majority of European respondents (31%) earn 30,000–50,000 ($39,000–65,000); 27% earn 50,001–69,000 ($65,000–90,000); and 17% earn 10,000 ($13,000) or less. Surprisingly, the same percentage of respondents in Europe—10%—earn more than 70,001($91,000) and less than 30,000 ($39,000).

WHICH JOBS PAY BEST?

According to our survey, the biotechnology jobs that offer the highest compensation are (Figure 3):

  • corporate management

  • consultant

  • computer technology

  • legal

  • plant engineering

Figure 3. Which jobs pay best

DOES GENDER MATTER?

You bet it does. Our US responses reflect a salary gap between men and women Look, for example, at the mean compensation for the positions below:

  • Analytical development or support: male, $68,937; female, $51,000

  • Consultant: male, $104,300; female, $82,500

  • Process development: male, $75,709; female, $72,907.

  • Information management: male, $92,667; female, $75,000;

  • Quality assurance: male, $70,185; female, $57,618

As you can see, the gap between process development salaries ($2,802) was the least, and between consultants ($21,800) the most. But women seem to enter higher salary brackets at a younger age (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Mean age for salary categories

WHAT'S AGE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

The mean age of all survey respondents is 42.8, with 75 as the upper limit, and 25 as the lower. The largest percentage (18.6) of the respondents are between 35 and 39, followed by those between 40 and 44 (16.2%), and between 45 and 49 (15.6%). Next are respondents between 50 and 54 (12.4%); 55 and 59 (6.8%), 60 to 64 (4.6%); and 65 to 69 (1.6).

JOB SATISFACTION

To most people, job satisfaction is the sense of fulfillment derived from one's work. More than 62% of all respondents are satisfied with their jobs; 38% are not satisfied. Eighty-eight percent report feeling well prepared educationally for their jobs, and 90% report that their employment experience has prepared them well. Contributing to job satisfaction are opportunities for professional development. More than 22% of respondents take at least one college course per year, and more than 25% report attending outside training courses or workshops.

Naturally, there is some correlation between salary and job satisfaction (Figure 5). "Very satisfied" are the nearly 48% of respondents earning between $75,000 and $100,000, the 41% earning over $100,000 and the 38% earning between 50,001 and $75,000.

Figure 5. Salary and job satisfaction are linked.

Surprisingly, 16% of those earning over $100,000 are "somewhat dissatisfied," as are the 27% earning between $25,000 and $75,000.

As for European respondents, 67% earning 75,001–120,000 ($97,000–156,000) were very satisfied, as were 42% earning 45,001–55,000 ($58,000–71,000); and 33% earning 55,001–65,000 ($71,000–97,000).

However, 40% of those earning 65,001–75,000 ($71,000–97,000) are somewhat dissatisfied. And an equal number (30%) of those making less than 10,000 ($13,000), and 35,001–45,000 ($45,000–58,000), respectively, are also somewhat dissatisfied.

SECURITY IS EVERYTHING

Because of the rapid growth of the biopharmaceutial industry, there has been a great deal of change. Within the past two years, nearly half (47%) of respondents report that they have been through a merger, acquisition, or corporate restructuring. This did not affect 43% of respondents; it led to a change in job responsibilities for 37%, involuntary departure for 12%, and voluntary leaving for 7%. Despite all this, 68% of all respondents feel secure (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Sense of security

When asked to rate the likelihood of leaving their jobs within the next 12 months, 27% of respondents are likely to leave theirs, and 45% are not likely to leave. A new job with a better salary, more satisfying work, or an involuntary departure are the top reasons for leaving jobs (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Reasons for possibly leaving current position

CONCLUSION

On the whole, survey respondents are satisfied with their work and their salaries. Some 24% even reported working between six and 10 vacation days in 2005, such as responding to emails and phone calls. Either they love their jobs so much they want to work during vacation, or they love their jobs in spite of having to do so.

Marilyn Kochman is the managing editor of BioPharm International, 732.346.3061, MKochman@advanstar.com

Related Content:

BioBusiness