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NSF SESTAT Report Compiles Data on US Science and Engineering Employment, Salaries

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This week, the National Science Foundation released salary and employment data gleaned from its National Survey of College Graduates, National Survey of Recent College Graduates, and Survey of Doctorate Recipients, and compiled through its Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System — or SESTAT. Overall, NSF says its newly released 2006 SESTAT report contains "high-quality data on the size, composition, and employment patterns of the nation's science and engineering workforce."

Here, GenomeWeb Careers discusses employment status and salary information from that report, called the "Characteristics of Scientists and Engineers in the United States: 2006."

Employment status

According to SESTAT, there were 1,125,000 employed scientists and engineers who held degrees in the biological scientists in 2006, a group split nearly in half by gender — 563,000 males and 561,000 females. Of those employed scientists and engineers with biology degrees at any level, male workers were largely in industry — 278,000 at for-profit firms, 37,000 self-employed, and 38,000 at nonprofits — though 130,000 men were working at educational institutions and 81,000 were employed by the government. Like their male peers, employed female scientists and engineers with degrees in biology worked primarily in industry — 231,000 at for-profit firms, 25,000 self-employed, and 78,000 at nonprofits — while 170,000 women were working at educational institutions and 57,000 for government institutions.

Of all employed scientists and engineers who had doctorate degrees in the biological sciences in 2006, 32,000 men were working at for-profit companies, compared with 13,000 women. Nonprofit industry firms employed 6,000 men and 5,000 women with biology doctorates. In 2006, 4,000 male biology doctorate degree-holders were self-employed, while 2,000 of their female counterparts were also working for themselves. Men with doctorates in the biological sciences held 59,000 jobs at educational institutions; women held 32,000. Federal and state governments employed 11,000 men and 6,000 women with biology doctorates that year.

Salary information

Scientists and engineers who held any degree in the biological sciences and were working in 2006 earned an average of $50,000 per year. Males in this group earned an average of $60,000, while their female counterparts earned about $41,000 per year. Working in industry, men with biology degrees earned on average of $69,000 per year at for-profit firms, $58,000 as self-employed, and $53,000 annually at nonprofits. Women working in industry made an average of $48,000 annually at for-profit firms, $20,000 as self-employed, and $43,000 per year at nonprofits. Men with biology degrees made an average of $50,000 per year at educational institutions; their female colleagues earned $36,000 annually. Of biology degree-holders working for federal and state governments, men made $57,000 annually while women made $49,000 per year, on average.

Of all biology doctorate degree-holding scientists and engineers who were employed in 2006, men working in industry at for-profit companies earned an average of $119,000 annually, while women earned $92,000 per year on average. Self-employed men with biology doctorates earned $78,000 on average, while women of the same academic distinction who worked for themselves earned $26,000 per year on average. Of biological sciences PhDs working in the government sector, men made on average $89,000 per year, while women earned $75,000 annually.

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