Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Who's in the Genome Money?


Are you paid what you’re worth? Would you be better off in a bigger company? At a government agency? With a more advanced degree? The charts, graphs, and stats on the following five pages break down the results of Genome Technology’s salary survey every which way we could think of slicing them.

We tell you who gets the best pay by job title, company size, and sector (public or private). We tell you which organization types have had layoffs, where in the country the most paycuts have happened, and which employees seem most confident of raises and bonuses this year. Whether you’re a CEO, senior scientist, or core lab manager, you should be able to measure your position against your peers.

One caveat: This being our first annual salary survey, what we can’t tell you is how the current career climate compares to years past. More than one-fourth of respondents went without a pay raise in the past 12 months, and an even greater number expect no raise this year. While only four percent of respondents had the personal experience of being laid off in the past year, nearly half of them witnessed their colleagues get the pink slip. Is this better or worse than years past? We’ll have to wait till 2004 to do that kind of reporting.

But we can tell you how you compare to the general population. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data specific to genomics sector work, the mean annual salary for the group it calls life, physical, and social science occupations was $49,710 in 2001. Among GT survey respondents, the most commonly reported salary range was $75,000 to $99,999.

We can also tell you that as a group, GT readers have come a long way. We asked respondents to tell us what their salary range was five years ago. On average, you say you’re earning about $50,000 more today than you were five years ago. That means you’re doing far better than cost-of-living increases each year, but we have a feeling this group has been climbing the ladder a little faster than your average professional.


Methods and Respondents

Before you get to the numbers, here’s a little about our methodology and who responded. In early June, we sent e-mail notices to 11,890 GT subscribers, inviting them to click on a Web link that would take them to our 20-question survey. As an incentive, we offered respondents the chance to enter a drawing to win a year’s worth of access to one of our weekly paid-subscription newsletters. The survey was open for approximately one week, and 1,521 people responded in that time.

Of those, 38 percent say they work for a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company. Another 28 percent work at universities, and nine percent are in government. The remaining 25 percent are dispersed evenly over agriscience companies, computing companies, analytical instrumentation companies, software or datamining tools vendors, providers of consumables or lab supplies, life sciences consultancies, and other public-sector organizations.

The largest group, 23 percent, works in midsize organizations of between 500 and 5,000 employees. Another 22 percent are employed by organizations of more than 10,000 employees. Nineteen percent work for organizations with between 100 and 499 employees, and the rest work either at small organizations of 100 or fewer employees, or at an organization with between 5,000 and 10,000 employees.

Most respondents — 39 percent — list their job title as either senior level or staff level scientist, researcher, technologist, or programmer. Another 18 percent are at the senior level with the titles chairman, CEO, president, COO, CSO, CTO, vice president, director, or senior manager. The titles of the remainder include lab technician, service engineer, business development, professor, principal investigator, post-doc, core lab manager, technician, and technology transfer officer.

Our respondents are a highly educated group. More than half hold PhDs. Three percent have MDs, and six percent have MBAs.

Asked to name the single scientific or technical task that occupies the largest portion of their workday, 22 percent say gene expression analysis, 17 percent say data analysis, 14 percent say computing infrastructure or applications development, 10 percent say protein analysis, nine percent say genotyping or SNPs analysis, seven percent say DNA sequencing, and the remainder are dispersed in jobs that include automation, epidemiology, cloning, quality control, robotics, separation technology, and structural biology.

1,521 GT subscribers responded to our exclusive 20-question salary survey

11% of respondents say their last employer is out of business

46% of respondents say their employer has had layoffs in the past year

4% of respondents have been laid off in the past year

Who Earns What
Median salaries in pharma and biotech by organization size


CEO $175,000 - $199,999

CTO $200,000 - $299,999

VP, Director, or Senior Manager $100,000 - $124,999

Senior Scientist, Senior Researcher, Senior Technologist $75,000 - $99,999

Staff Scientist, Researcher, Programmer $50,000 - $74,999

Lab Technician, Technical Specialist $50,000 - $74,999

Marketing, Sales, Business Development $75,000 - $99,999



VP, Director, or Senior Manager $100,000 - $124,999

Senior Scientist, Senior Researcher, Senior Technologist $75,000 - $99,999

Staff Scientist, Researcher, Programmer $75,000 - $99,999

Lab Technician, Technical Specialist N/A

Marketing, Sales, Business Development $75,000 - $99,999


VP, Director, or Senior Manager $150,000 - $174,999

Senior Scientist, Senior Researcher, Senior Technologist $100,000 - $124,999

Staff Scientist, Researcher, Programmer $75,000 - $99,999

Lab Technician, Technical Specialist $50,000 - $74,999

Marketing, Sales, Business Development $100,000 - $124,999


Who Got Raises and Who Expects Raises, By Employer Size
Employees Got a raise in the past year Expect a raise this year
<25 62% 51%
25-99 67% 58%
100-499 82% 68%
500-4,999 74% 67%
5,000-10,000 68% 64%
>10,000 77% 69%


Bad News, By Employer Size
Employees Suffered a pay cut in past year Say their company has had layoffs in the past year
<25 15% 29%
25-99 10% 44%
100-499 4% 49%
500-4,999 3% 50%
5,000-10,000 6% 48%
>10,000 4% 47%


Where the pay cuts have happened
Percent of respondents who say they suffered a pay cut in the past year

Boston metropolitan area 3%
Philadelphia-NJ-NY metropolitan area 5%
Rockville, Md./DC biotech corridor 5%
Other Northeastern US 1%
Research Triangle Park 15%
Other Southeastern US 0%
San Francisco Bay area/Silicon Valley 10%

San Diego Metropolitan area

Seattle metropolitan area 7%
Other Western US 10%
Midwestern US* 5%
Rockies US* 17%
Southwestern US* 3%

Southern US*



Which employers have had layoffs?
Percentage of respondents at each type of organization who say their employer made layoffs in the past year

Pharma or biotechnology company


Agriscience company


Computing company


Analytical instrumentation company


Software or data-mining tools vendor


Provider of consumables or lab supplies


Life sciences industry consultancy




Government agency



Top Dogs Versus Their Underlings

CEOs, Presidents &Chairmen  

All Other Respondents


Got a raise in past 12 months


Got a 6 percent or greater raise


Expect a raise this year


Expect a 6 percent or greater raise this year


Received a bonus equivalent to between 11 and 100 percent of salary in past year


Received a bonus equivalent to between 1 and 10 percent of salary

Received no bonus in past year


Suffered a pay cut in past year


Bigger Pies For All: What a Difference 5 Years Makes
Then: Median salary range of all respondents 5 years ago: $30,000-$49,000
Now: Median salary range of all respondents: $75,000-$99,000


Who''''''''s Highest Paid By Job Title
Percentage of respondents by job title who receive highest salary range reported

17% of CEOs


10% of CTOs


1% of Directors


1% of Senior Scientists


1% of Staff Scientists


7% of Lab Technicians


2% of Marketing/Sales


21% of Department Chairs


1% of Professors, Principal Investigators

3% of Associate Professors, Assistant Professors $175,000+
12% of Fellows, Post-docs $50,000-$74,999

2% of Core Lab Managers



MDs Get the Big Bucks in Genomics
Median salary range by degree
$100,000-$124,999 $75,000-$99,999 $75,000-$99,999


The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.