Produced in association with New Scientist Jobs
Manchester, UK - 12 March 2020
Despite turbulent economic times, careers in science are holding their own. 2019 saw salaries for scientists and engineers drop in some regions of the UK, but by other measures STEM jobs are blossoming according to the 2020 STEM Market Survey, produced by New Scientist in association with STEM specialist recruiter SRG. Scientists report having long, fulfilling careers and nearly all science students say they intend to enter the industry themselves.
The survey, published this week, looks at the work scientists do and how they feel about it. It also gives insights into all-important salary numbers and how to get the most out of the job market.
Nearly 3000 people working across a spectrum of roles in STEM participated. The majority were in the UK, but numerous other European nations were also surveyed. Half of the respondents work as scientists in research, development and quality control, with another 14 per cent working as engineers and 11 per cent in academia. Of those in industry, the most well represented sectors were pharmaceuticals, biotech and chemicals manufacturing. Over three-quarters of respondents were currently in STEM careers with the remainder being students, retirees, those on a career break or now working outside of the industry.
The 2018 edition of the survey contained unadulterated good news for the UK. With an almost double-digit percentage increase in the average salary compared to the previous year. This year’s figures aren’t as healthy. STEM salaries between 2018 t0 2019 suffered a setback as the average dropped from £40,925 to £39,130. This is likely part of a general economic trend amid the lack of clarity surrounding Brexit. The UK’s Office for National Statistics reports that 36 per cent of full-time employees experienced a real-terms pay decrease or pay freeze in 2019. The UK government’s promise to increase domestic research funding to £18 billion by 2025 may, however, mean the trend doesn’t continue.
Look across the channel and things appear better for Europe. The survey observed STEM jobs in Ireland, Switzerland, Italy and Germany to get a taste of the job market. It found that average salaries increased by 8 per cent compared with 2018, rising to €51,644. There is a caveat, however, as the average salary in Switzerland is so high it skews the calculation. In Germany and Italy the average salaries were €58,500 and €40,000 respectively, but in Switzerland it was €95,000. If you exclude the latter the figure is €46,629, almost mirroring the UK average.
Kelly Morton MD: “People are the most important aspect of a business. Understanding how to attract and retain the best talent to drive your business strategy is paramount. As a recruitment solutions business that specialises in STEM-related disciplines, SRG is seeing the shifts in market trends around attraction and retention as they happen.
Our motivation is to help businesses tap into those trends to better serve their own needs. The current skills gap shortage, blended workforces, gender pay issues and the like all require careful attention, and it is more important than ever for businesses to find ways to increase their talent pipeline and networks. This market report looks at these issues and further current trends within the STEM industry. I hope you find it a useful tool for your future people strategy.”
As a global STEM network with over thirty years of experience, SRG applies specialist knowledge and expertise to a full spectrum of roles and talent solutions. SRG covers the whole product life cycle, from scientific research and technology, clinical trials, manufacturing and engineering disciplines to market.
We know our success comes from talent and connections, that’s why we put people first. We focus on building lasting relationships with clients and candidates to help them reach their potential. We believe in thinking bigger to go further.
We are part of Impellam group, 2nd largest staffing company in the UK and 6th largest Managed Service provider worldwide. Our vision is to become the world’s most trusted staffing company.
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