Scientists a bit less pessimistic than last year (but only a bit)

Pay rises for scientists in the last year were 2.1 per cent, in-line with economy-wide, increases. However, this is behind the premium paid to scientists across the last decade, ranging from 0.2 per cent to 2 per cent per annum, according to the annual survey of employment and pay, from Science and Technology Australia, Professionals Australia and Professional Scientists Australia. The slowing trend “creates the risk that we will struggle to attract bright, creative and committed people to the vital endeavours of science and technology – this at a time when a diverse and sustainable science and technology workforce has never been more important to Australia’s future,” the lobbies warn.

It’s worse for women, with female scientists paid 16 per cent less than men.

The gender gap is due to factors including women being concentrated in junior roles and women over 40 leaving the scientific workforce. The only disciplines where women are paid more than males are botany and marine science. This is a bigger gap than for women across the entire education sector, where women earn 9.7 per cent less than men, (CMM November 15).

Overall, 74.9 per cent of scientists surveyed said Australia is “not well prepared” for emerging challenges. A third of respondents said they had noted a decline in scientists in decision-maker roles over the last year.

And this is good-ish news! “This year we’ve found that fewer scientists than previously are feeling pessimistic about the future of their sector, STA’s Kylie Walker says.

“More than half of all those surveyed said morale is falling in their workplace. It’s a slight improvement on last year but these numbers remain alarmingly high.”


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