The latest Scientists Survey has found average annual wage growth of 2.1 per cent across the profession.
Professional Scientists Australia CEO Chris Walton said that it was of concern that wages growth for scientists only kept pace with CPI this year. “More than 60 per cent of new jobs in the coming decades will require STEM skills but it’s difficult to see how science is going to attract the next generation of scientists and how we’re going to build our STEM capability for the future without the incentive of decent pay and conditions for scientists. To attract the best and brightest to science and research, we need to see proper reward and recognition for scientists as the sound investment it is.
“The latest figures show Australia invests 1.88 per cent of GDP in research and development – well below the OECD average of 2.38 per cent. OECD records also show a decline in business investment in R&D for the first time since records have been maintained. The truth is that one in five science jobs in public agencies have been lost since 2014 – government and employers need to understand the central role STEM professionals can play in improving the business bottom line and in growing our national economy as well as solving the planet’s greatest challenges,” he said.
The survey also found that women in science earned on average 84% of their male counterparts’ earnings with evidence of a gender pay gap in both the enabling and life sciences. “We need to ensure that organisations across Australia can effectively attract, develop and retain a diversity of skilled professional scientists across all levels of seniority and address stereotypes that create a barrier to women entering and remaining in historically male-dominated areas of science enquiry so we are fully exploiting our talent base.
“When we asked scientists to reflect on their sector, more than two-thirds said cost-cutting was impacting their organisation, around a quarter reported a decline in service quality at their workplace and almost one-third said a decline in the number of scientists in decision-maker roles was evident in their organisation.
“Of even greater concern was the finding that almost three-quarters of respondents said Australia was not well prepared to meet emerging challenges. The only way to change this is by working with government and industry to develop a diverse and sustainable STEM workforce in Australia and the findings from this survey suggest there are still some significant barriers to us achieving that.”
To read the report in full including information on remuneration by responsibility level, job function, industry and state, click here.
For the key results, click here.