With the U.S. economy slowly trudging back from recession and uncertainties remaining about government sequestration, the employment and salary snapshot for chemists and chemical engineers in 2013 shows that salaries and the job market are improving. Results of the American Chemical Society's annual survey of its members are the topic of the cover story in Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.
Sophie Rovner, assistant managing editor of C&EN, notes that the survey results are encouraging. Salaries and employment for chemists are on the rise. Full-time employment for chemists is at its highest level in five years, while the percentage of part-time chemists declined. In fact, unemployment fell across all degree levels, and is down to levels not seen since 2008-2009. The median salary is up from last year's dip. Some areas of concern remain, however. Men continue to make more money than women. Geographical differences in salaries and job opportunities persist. Also, the article points out that some chemists might have given up on their job search and dropped out of the unemployment formula altogether.
Aside from salary and employment rates, this year's survey also probed how globalization is affecting chemists in the U.S. It found that nearly one-fifth of ACS members have a native language other than English, and nearly two-thirds of industry respondents had worked across international borders in the month before the survey, suggesting the importance of global experience in this sector.
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