MEDIA RELEASE: Monday 21st November
Professional Scientists Australia – a division of Professionals Australia – has released its 2016 Employment and Remuneration Survey Report. Conducted in conjunction with Science and Technology Australia, the survey provides an overview of the pay and conditions of scientists across Australia, as well as information on their employment intentions, work priorities, working hours, staff morale and the gender pay gap in science.
Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, said the report provided an engaging overview of the employment, pay and conditions of the scientific workforce. “Science is key to unlocking the world’s best possible tomorrow. It’s a grand vision, and for many scientists, it’s more than a job – it’s a calling,” Dr Finkel said. “For Australia and Australian businesses to lead the way into the future, we need to recognise the value of the professional scientific workforce, and provide incentive for the next generation to aspire to professional scientific careers.”
Professionals Australia CEO Chris Walton said the survey findings in a range of areas raised concerns about the sustainability of the science and R&D workforce with what appeared to be some quite serious systemic workforce issues.
“If anything,” he said, “the market is likely to become more challenging for science and R&D-based organisations wanting to attract and retain high-calibre science talent with the participation rate and average hours worked below their levels of a few years ago, leading indicators of labour demand pointing to only modest employment growth in the near term and many scientists looking to the international job market to provide employment certainty.”
“Ensuring Australia’s ongoing science and technology capability must be one of our most critical priorities,” he said. “We need to ensure we maintain a science and technology workforce with the necessary skills and experience to support knowledge-based investment and drive innovation. To do this, we need to ensure that science-based organisations have as part of their human resources packages equitable and effective recognition and reward strategies and a commitment to maintaining a strong science capability in management and decision-maker roles. This is the only way we’ll attract the next generation of scientists to the profession.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Ashley Burmeister – 0401 376 636 – firstname.lastname@example.org
* The report including definitions of terms is available online at http://www.professionalsaustralia.org.au/financial-edge/salary-survey-reports/scientists5/ *.
The latest Professional Scientists Remuneration Survey Report has found the salary of the average full-time Professional Scientist across all sectors increased by 2.4 per cent since last year’s salary survey with the greatest increases in the Local Government and Education. This is in comparison with the cost of living increasing 1.0 per cent over the previous 12 months to June 2016 and the Wage Price Index rising by 2.1 per cent over the same period. 32.9 per cent of respondents received no pay increase at all over the previous 12 months.
Overall, 46.5 per cent of scientists surveyed reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their current level of remuneration. 35.2 per cent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Of those who said they were considering leaving their current job, Over 40 per cent said their remuneration package was falling behind market rates for those undertaking similar work, and 32.4 per cent said their package did not reflect the level of responsibility they undertook in their day-to-day work.
34.8 per cent of respondents said they were considering leaving their current job. 8.5 per cent had changed jobs in the previous 12 months and of those 27.3 per cent had moved for a pay increase. Remuneration stood out as a priority for participants alongside job security and a positive workplace culture.
Deprofessionalisation – the diminution of professional science capability across responsibility levels, industries and job functions – was ranked as a major concern by 53.1 per cent of respondents. 13.9 and 22.4 per cent of respondents respectively said adherence to professional standards and the level of service quality had declined in their organisation over the previous 12 months. 80.9 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that cost-cutting was affecting their organisation’s science capability. 56.4 per cent of respondents said staff morale at their workplace had declined in the previous 12 months and 61.0 per cent said worker fatigue had increased.
Respondents worked on average 44.2 hours per week including 5.7 hours of overtime. Only 11.9 per cent received monetary payment in recognition of their overtime, a significant issue in view of the 18.1 per cent of respondents reporting that they were expected to work longer hours in the past year compared to the previous one. The average number of hours worked per week was greatest for those working in Computing, Teaching or training and Sales and marketing.
Overall, the survey found the mean base salary reported was $117,473 for males compared with $96,748 for females, and the mean total package for males was $135,929 compared with $112,385 for females. Female respondents reported earnings were less than their male counterparts across job functions with the exception of Quality control and production and Computing, and less irrespective the level of qualification. Lower remuneration for female respondents was apparent across all levels of responsibility with the exception of the graduate level.