Release #1-15
July 29, 2015

Scientists' Salaries Lag Inflation

    During the last 10 years, increases in the salaries of scientists have not kept up with inflation. The former has risen by 16%, while the latter, as determined by the Consumer Price Index, has increased by 21%. This is the conclusion of an analysis conducted by Jupiter Scientific and published on their webpage Science Salaries by Discipline

     A breakdown by scientific disciplines reveals some significant losers. The wages of entry level geologists and academic researchers have only inched up a few percent. Clinical researchers and less-experienced biologists have also done poorly, with salary gains of only 10%. Chemists as a group have lost only a few percentage points of earning power during the time period. Among scientists, physicists have fared the best: Their salaries have almost matched inflation. However, even they have not done as well as the average US worker. According to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, hourly wages have somewhat outpaced inflation during the past decade increasing by 28%. Hence, scientists have lagged other workers by 12% on average.

     The salaries of assistant and associate professors in science have experienced increases of 17%, which is similar to the increase that high school teachers have witnessed. The pay for full professors in science has lost ground to inflation with salaries going up only 10%.

    For engineers in scientific sectors, such as chemical, electrical, materials, mechanic and nuclear engineers, wages have gained a bit over inflation, increasing by 24% on average.

    What does all this mean? Stuart Samuel, a senior scientist at Jupiter Scientific says, “People's salaries are a reflection of how well they are valued by a society or a country. One can crudely conclude that the value of science in the United States is gradually being eroded.”

    The analysis by Jupiter Scientific was conducted using data from and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

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