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What’s The Going Rate These Days?

Time to break out the pseudonyms for the comments section. I’ve had a couple of people asking (on both sides of the process) what the starting salaries for medicinal chemists are running in the Boston/Cambridge area. It’s been a while since this was much of a topic, sad to say, but there is some hiring going on these days, and people are trying to get a feel for what the going rates are. Companies want to make sure that they’re making competitive-but-not-too-generous offers, and applicants want to make sure that they’re getting a reasonable one, too, naturally.
So anyone with actual data is invited to leave it in the comments section, under whatever name you like. Reports from outside the Boston/Cambridge area (and at other experience levels) are certainly welcome, too, because the same issues apply in other places as well.

127 comments on “What’s The Going Rate These Days?”

  1. MA says:

    Not a med-chemist, but perhaps relevant. I live in Cambridge and work in Northern MA. I have a Bachelor’s from a major Northeastern research university, and a couple years of undergrad research in addition to my one year on the job.
    I was hired as a synthetic chemist for a defense contractor. 54K was my starting salary.
    I have a feeling this is somewhat higher than average for commensurate med-chemists.
    When I was applying for positions in pharma last year, I got the feeling that 44-48K was around average.

  2. RandomChemist says:

    I have just accepted an offer from a small biotech as a medicinal chemist in the Boston/Cambridge area for $95k + benefits/bonuses. I have a PhD and just finished my post-doc.

  3. PhD says:

    Process chemistry in the north east (NJ, PA, CT, NY) seems to be paying around 100K + bonuses for PhD with postdoc (and a relevant skill set). 4 people from my institute (including me) have received this sort of offer within the last few months. Salaries for PhD only are about 85-95K.

  4. AnotherRandomChemist says:

    Working in Cambridge MA for a tiny fish that was bought by a multi-national bigger fish. Started as a postdoc in the ~50K range, 2+ years in, still a postdoc, but up by around 15K. Biochemist.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Computational chemist with PhD, Germany, small company, 50k EUR

  6. Anonymous says:

    UK: ~30-35K GBP starting out of uni/phd (equiv. to ~50K USD). Comp chemists maybe a bit higher – more like 40K GBP.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So UK salaries remain terrible then? Last time I checked, that was about the same as a UK postdoc salary.

  8. anon the II says:

    Ivy League PhD, Medicinal chemist, 35 yr experience, generally successful career, 80K recently up from 50K in RTP area.
    Career suggestion: Stay away from NC and don’t get old.

  9. Anonymous says:

    France, Computational Chemist, Small Chemistry Company, PhD + postDoc, 34k EUR
    Difficult to compare between different country!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Not the northeast, but its interesting to compare. PhD Chemist with post-doc exp. in Houston, TX area. Nothing medicinal, but R&D work in synthesis and formulation chemistry, starting salary in 2012 was 80K + bonuses, full benefits.

  11. Sili says:

    Why don’t you have a union collecting this kinda data?

  12. ed says:

    PhD and postdoc from top uk institutions. Co-inventor of three clinical stage programs. > ten years post phd experience mostly with small-ish biotech. Currently with UK CRO in Harlow, 34k GBP base salary.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I didn’t realize how much discovery chemist salaries had stagnated.
    I left the role about 5 year ago, but I had the following data points then (this is for a large pharma company in the NE US):
    Starting PhD w/ post-doc: ~$110-$115K
    Starting BS/MS: ~$60K
    For the UK, I know a friend (MS with 3 years experience) who was offered a transfer to the UK site for 35K GBP/yr. I’m shocked at #6 that starting PhDs are about the same now.

  14. Sili says:

    High school teacher, 43k USD after tax (to make it easier to compare).

  15. Chrispy says:

    Some of these salaries are really astonishingly low!
    In the biological sciences (e.g. screening) in the Northwest, a fresh Ph.D. can expect $45k as a postdoc, $65K as a no-experience entry-level hire, $70k with a postdoc, $95k with relevant experience up to $130k for bench scientist. Much more for director-level types — up to $185k or so.
    Sites like Glassdoor have really pulled back the curtain on what people are willing to pay.
    And I have to agree with Anon the II that if you’re pushing fifty the age discrimination will be fierce. You may feel lucky to have a job at all, especially if you have been through a layoff or two, and this will undermine your confidence in demanding a reasonable salary.

  16. Chymist says:

    Interviews from last few years turned up positions at a Boston metro CRO ($90K) and a small-ish biotech ($82K)

  17. Anon2 says:

    Where are the data from our Bay Area colleagues? Also, expanding this outside of medchem to all areas in biotech/pharma would be great. Academic salaries as well?

  18. Bagnar says:

    Can someone remember me how much K.C Nicolaou is paid at Rice Univ please ?

  19. Anon2 says:

    Thank you for doing this Derek. I have seen numerous students post about this to the Science Careers Forum only to have the moderator Dave Jensen delete of lock the thread. As it turns out he is the direct of a recruiting company. Go figure!

  20. molecular_architect says:

    Wow, I’m astonished at how low starting salaries are now. Back in 2005, before my SF Bay area company shut down and laid off all the staff, PhD’s with a postdoc were starting at about $95K, without postdoc starting at about $85K. This was 9 years ago and most of the reports in the comments are lower!
    #8, you are correct about advising chemists not to get old. There are many of us Pharma refugees now in the government for precisely this reason. Tons of underutilized wasted experience here but job security and competitive wages, even if you are 50+ years old.

  21. Chemjobber says:

    The ACS salary calculator (drawn from the low-response rate ACS Salary Survey, only ACS members) shows:
    For a Ph.D. organic chemist in large pharma in the Boston metro area who got their B.S. in 2006 (i.e. 5 years PhD, 2 years PD, started in 2012 or so), the median salary is $99.8k, with the 90th percentile at $139.9k.
    For a M.S. medicinal chemist in large pharma in the Boston metro area who got their B.S. in 2009 (i.e. 3 years for M.S., 2 years experience or so), the median salary is 74.6k, with the 90th percentile is $104.7k.
    According to their calculator, the Boston area adds a 6% premium to salaries, with a 9% bump for working in pharma.

  22. Anon says:

    UK comp chemist in pharma, 8 years post PhD experience £50k

  23. Anon says:

    55-65k USD at CROs in Canada (50-100 employees). Postdoc, entry level.

  24. anonxx says:

    Switzerland, small biotech doing medchem, PhD & 10 years experience: 130k CHF (140k USD).

  25. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious about the post doc part as I’m finishing a PhD and hoping to avoid a post doc. I’ve seen several postings that want post PhD experience. Is this because a postdoc really adds anything, or is it just because it’s still an employers market? I’m seeing a 10-15k gap in the thread between postdoc/no postdoc. Is that something that would be made up in a couple years i.e. would I get enough of a raise in two years to make up that gap? Or should I postpone a real job for longer to try and get more earning power?

  26. Anonymous says:

    My observations:
    In Boston starting PhD’s get 80 to 110k. Small companies tend to pay a bit less, big companies more (this is with a postdoc; hard to get a job without one these days.) Sometimes you can get a signing and/or moving bonus.
    BS and MS start 50 to 80k and can make into the 100’s with 15+ years of experience. Small companies and CRO’s pay less, big companies more.
    It isn’t smart to just compare salary; there is a lot of differentiation in:
    Bonus potential – I’ve heard to 10 to 30%; small companies are often more, large companies less
    401k issues – Huge variation, from no match to 10% match; some companies have terrible fund access, others fantastic. Some provide a financial adviser, others not.
    Health care costs – Used to be that big companies were almost always cheaper for better care, but some of them are now terrible. My out of pocket per month has varied from $50 to $500 (for similar plans) depending on the employer

  27. anon says:

    MS at a small biotech in Cambridge. Started fresh out of school at 55k. Four years and two promotions later, I’m at 75k.

  28. Jobseeker says:

    SF bay area Unemployment $1800/mo

  29. Chrispy says:

    Regarding whether to do a post-doc:
    If you plan to stay in academia, a solid postdoc in a well-known lab with some high-end publications will be essential. For all others, your time is better spent in a “real” job. The postdoc thing is just a racket to pay you less. Also beware of this in academia — sometimes people hire postdocs just as a way of getting a cheap, higher-end technician. I have seen numerous postdocs stuck in labs doing menial but high-end work (think Biacore, mass spec) without any real chance of the first-author papers they need to further their careers. I know some who have been doing this for over seven years (although I think the NIH has promised to crack down on this abuse).

  30. Cambridge Pharma Chemist says:

    $105K = starting base salary for a synthetic chemist right out PostDoc in 200 person public company with ~20 chemists in cambridge, MA (~2 months ago). with potential to receive up to 5% year end bonus

  31. Anonymous says:

    SF Bay area, research device company, PhD with postdoc.
    2010 started @90k
    2014 @110k
    Our company used to be known for underpaying, but now…maybe we’re actually well paid?

  32. Anonymous says:

    Not a med-chemist, cell bio background.
    SF Bay area, research device company, PhD with postdoc.
    2010 started @90k
    2014 @110k
    Our company used to be known for underpaying, but now…maybe we’re actually well paid?
    Again, thanks Derek for allowing us employees to be informed and provide some transparency to the job market.

  33. CC says:

    Comp chemist who started in 2011 at a small biopharmaceutical (~30 people) in Cambridge with 80K. Left in 2013 with 90K. The range of 80-110K for PhDs with postdocs (small to large companies) that people are quoting above seem to be mirrored in my experience.

  34. Anonymous says:

    As a PhD chemist w/15 years experience, I recently received an offer from a contract synthesis company (some med chem, some scale up, etc.) in the greater Philadelphia area for ~$95K/year.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Chemistry BSc, 2nd class, no PhD, 2 years lab work then 5 years as investment banker, $150k base plus $1.8m bonus.

  36. KCIreland says:

    Ireland: No pharma research in Ireland (despite what lies the Irish government peddle) but a freshly graduated PhD in the industry would start on between 35-41k Euro. The jobs are more manufacturing based (Manufacturing Technology/ Process Development) and the 41 figure is not a Dublin based plant.

  37. NMH says:

    50 year old cell biologist/biochemist with PhD (in Chemistry) from top 30 school in an academic lab in a large state university in fly-over-country: $47 K
    So I think I have the record for lowest paid PhD. And I’m a white guy to boot.
    At least my boss is pretty nice…

  38. Forme COO says:

    2005 data
    40 person Res. Institute funded by Japanese
    Bs Chemist no exp $50K
    Sr. Sci. Post Doc and Exp $115K
    Principle Sc. PD and Exp $125K
    kinda depressing isn’t it

  39. Anonymous says:

    another question beyond starting salary is ‘what is the opportunities for advancement?’
    sadly, in most pharma operations chemists are at the bottom of the barrel below biologists, regulatory, G&A, legal, and certainly MDs and management.
    many examples of legal and regulatory becoming VP in a few years while chemists with 20+ years still not there..
    wow, if you are going to do this you better really love it, and being poor.

  40. AnotherVoice says:

    Working as a PhD from top-tier school, top-5 post-doc, at a major synthesis company in middle america.
    Started at 99k last year, 7% bonus. Usually 2.5% annual raise.

  41. Anonymous says:

    MSc, Canadian CRO, $35K Canadian (about $31K USD)

  42. Anonymous says:

    1 year post-doc at top 5 university, currently at biotech in greater D.C. area
    Started last year at $90K, 10% annual bonus, typically 2-2.5% annual raise

  43. Cajun Chemist says:

    PHD Chemistry, 40 years experience, $60,660 as a public school teacher in Southern Louisiana. My parish pays “well”, too.

  44. Anonymous says:

    1 year post-doc at top 5 university, currently at biotech in greater D.C. area
    Started last year at $90K, 10% annual bonus, typically 2-2.5% annual raise

  45. Cajun Chemist says:

    PHD Chemistry, 40 years experience, $60,660 as a public school teacher in Southern Louisiana. My parish pays “well”, too.

  46. Anon says:

    Over 10 years, chemistry PhD but I’m mostly viewed as a biologist, no postdoc
    Senior scientist- $85k
    Principal scientist- $100k
    Group leader- $120k
    Manager- $140k
    Director- $170k

  47. Anonymous says:

    Maybe there needs to be some normalization for location based cost of living. Salaries in Boston or SF may be higher than in Louisiana or NC but do not necessarily result in a better path to retirement/expendable income. At any rate though it is pretty clear that chemists are not as highly valued for a difficult area of study that apparently there is a shortage of. I myself wish I had taken the other option of business management those were the easy classes.

  48. Tentacle Monster says:

    I am astonished that any of you are still left at the lab bench when banking pays so much more.
    If you don’t have the math to be a quant, three to five years on a low-ish wage to work your way up to a formal qualification in accountancy will leave you overtaking that tenth-percentile salary within a decade.
    It is, of course, entirely without benefit to humanity and society. However, it is sometimes difficult to praise ‘Big Pharma’, too.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I’m currently a 5th year graduate student, and my observations from peers who are entering the job market is:
    1) If you want to go pharma or biotech, you either need to have a postdoc, or you need to have multiple first authored JACS/ACIEs from a lab with a good track record of placing people in industry.
    2) Those who do enter pharma or big biotech tend to make 85-90K starting without a postdoc, 100-120K+ with a postdoc. Mostly these data points are process groups in big pharma (Pfizer, Merck, Bristol Meyers-Squibb) or big biotechs like Genetech, Gilead, and Amgen.
    3) Sometimes CROs and startups will hire someone right out of grad school, especially if your advisor is on the scientific advising committee, but they pay very poorly and there is little stability. It also seems pretty random whether or not this will fall into your lap since hiring seems so connections based.
    4) Materials people seem to have it much better than biotech/pharma people. Plenty of people, even mediocre seeming grad students seem to get jobs in materials science, although that might have to do with the strength of the profs in our particular department. Those tend to pay 85-100K+ straight out of school, even in low cost of living areas.
    5) People seem to get jobs at Dow straight out of their PhD, especially in Dow agro in Indianapolis. They don’t seem as concerned with postdocs as the big pharma companies do.
    6) The more biological your research is, the more likely you’ll need to do a postdoc.
    7) Everyone who has told me that a postdoc is unhelpful for a non-academic career is an academic. In fact, a recruiter from Merck told me that although I had an appropriate background to apply to one of their groups, doing a postdoc would open a lot more doors for me.

  50. a says:

    Cell biologist,phd and post doc, in 2007 was hired in philly area for 94k, including bonus. A friend got a very similar offer at another company at the same time. Now am making about 160 b&b.

  51. Aboslutely anon says:

    BS Chem, process chemistry at large pharma, 20 yrs at the bench, 125K.

  52. Anon says:

    2 year postdoc; Management consulting, first year 140K+ signing bonus

  53. Another Anon. says:

    Started at ~$23K just before earning a B. S. in chemistry in 1986. Continuous employment doing synthesis and med chem at 3 different companies; now at $160K as a research scientist. It’s possible to make a career out of chemistry in pharma with work and some luck, but I’m really glad I’m not starting my career at this time.
    Starting salaries for a PhD with or without a postdoc are $80K – $100K, on both coasts.

  54. WestMIanalytical says:

    Jiminy Cricket on a popsicle stick. My Dad started with a Ph.D. in Analytical Chem back in 87, and he was amazed at how crappy my starting was (I graduated with Ph.D. in Analytical from highly rated school last year).
    I started at a small non-traditional (food industry) company last year straight out of grad school in the 75-80k range, plus benefits and bonus. This year I managed to not disappoint them and got a raise to the 88-92k range, plus benefits and bonus.
    Actually…I’m pretty convinced I got a raise to the starting salary of a B.S. chemical engineer with experience in the company. c’est la vie

  55. Anonymous says:

    Started with an ms at $47k, 15 years later $105k + bonus

  56. Samuel71 says:

    “MSc, Canadian CRO, $35K Canadian (about $31K USD)”
    And this is why I am so apprehensive about doing graduate school in Chemistry… the Canadian market seems terrible.

  57. Anonymous says:

    attorney at mid-level pharma with 15yrs exp., $650K with bonus.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Lost it at #58. Patent or in house liability counsel?
    PhD pharmacology top 5 program, 1yr postdoc/masters Starting tenuretrack faculty philadelphia, 100k plus silly robes.

  59. anon says:

    Unbelievable how stagnant salaries have been. Was hiring PhD+postdocs >10 years ago for a major multinational pharma for ~$110K+. Structural biologists, not MedChemists, sure. But I also loose it at #58.

  60. lieschenmueller says:

    1yr postdoc; 60k €!

  61. Dane says:

    Chemical Engineering PhD, no post doc, 5 years exp in Pharma small company 80k € including benifits.
    Copenhagen Denmark

  62. DrOcto says:

    PhD med chem
    post doc 5 years
    industry experience 5 years
    current salary 520,000 DKK (agrochem)
    (93k USD) (67k euro)
    (tax rate is 45%)

  63. anom says:

    In Germany, pharma companies pay computational chemists with a PhD + 2-4 years experience between 80-90 kEUR per year.

  64. Anonymous says:

    PhD only, started at ~£30k big pharma in the UK. Sold out to the city now earning 4x that a couple of years later.
    I enjoyed my time at the bench, but man am I relieved to be out

  65. Finn says:

    After reading some of these replies I’m actually quite shocked at how badly scientists are paid here in the UK. As a fresh chemistry graduate (Masters), I was offered a med chem role on just over £19K (base). I declined in favour of a better offer (PR&D, £24k base), which seemed a bit higher than the average chemistry job market was offering.

  66. ed says:

    #68 Finn, being a medchem in Europe usually means zero lab work and more of a supervisory/leadership role which goes a long way to explaining the Uk/EU differential. Add in the total glut of phd grads pumped out by the UK system, and it is no surprise that salaries have been stagnant for close to a decade. i was told that if i didnt accept the offer, there was surely a similarly qualified and hireable candidate just waiting for the phone to ring.
    in the UK, and especially at CRO’s, a PhD is usually required for a strait lab monkey role bashing out compounds designed by someone else. Clients are billed by the hour, so every hour NOT spent in the lab is to CRO management an hour wasted. so i am contractually requird to do 37.5 hours of lab work per week (at a minimum – folk on temporary contracts who only fulfill this basic requirement are usually shown the door pronto)

  67. Anonymous says:

    PhD and post-doc in organic chemistry.
    Med. Chem. Big Pharma in Switzerland.
    105k CHF (110k USD)
    13% Bonus
    1 % raise per year

  68. A Chemist says:

    Germany, big pharma, with PhD and postdoc: €70K+ bonuses as starting salary. 30 days holiday + public holidays.
    Similar in crop science

  69. Anonymous says:

    PhD bio, newly minted UK. 28k.

  70. Who cares says:

    20 year academic, research active, large NIH grant – $125k for 9 months. Pathetic, isn’t it.

  71. Homo-Lumo says:

    UK academic, mid-level school, 4 yrs in, 40k GBP (60k USD), decent security

  72. Teddy Z says:

    I am probably too far down the thread to be noticed, but are mid-career people being hired? In my experience, its all newly minted Ph.Ds (and post-docs).

  73. biochemist says:

    PhD biochemistry, professor
    80 kEUR per year, after tax 45 kEUR.

  74. Anonymized says:

    Med-chem, Cambridge (US), 20+ years experience. 160K, plus bonus, etc. I would not want to try to answer Teddy Z’s question about mid-career hiring.

  75. AgChemist says:

    $95k starting with a post-doc in the northeast doing some agrochem.

  76. Da Vinci says:

    UK, neurosci post-doc, 2nd contract, 3 years experience, £34.500 (~$55.000). Which is more than enough, some of these salaries mentioned are absolutely ridiculous!

  77. Midlifechemist says:

    I worked ~20 years, starting at 35K, ending at 90K in pharms R & D in southeast, then cut in 2010. Now work in “postdoc” position for about half of that, just found more funding, so at least that is stable for now. Jobs for middle-aged chemists are nearly unheard of, but younger postdocs here have recently been hired in the southeast in the 60+k area. The job market here is dismal, the only jobs are in plant genetics or regulatory areas.

  78. Nick K says:

    Pay for chemists at Contract firms in the UK is particularly poor right now. Last year, Evotec was offering £26K/year for a SENIOR PhD chemist with supervisory responsibility. Astonishingly, this is the same salary the firm was paying twenty years ago.

  79. Anonymous says:

    either one, IP or corporate.
    if you want to make over 150K, med chem was not the right choice.
    also, be prepared for many layoffs and mergers/contractions-pretty ugly.

  80. Son of Croesus says:

    #77,#79 just to confirm, see this recent CRO advert for senior chemist with project and line management experience – 32-40k GBP.

  81. Anonymous says:

    These numbers are just dire apart from #58. Surprised no consultants chimed in. Not a chemist, but on the computational side of life. Best thing I did was quit big pharma in early 2000s (earning $200K) but working every waking hour – constantly emailing, writing and not much work life balance. Always looking for the next project.

  82. Anonymous says:

    somehow my last post #82 got mangled….
    These numbers are just dire apart from #58. Surprised no consultants chimed in. Not a chemist, but on the computational side of life. Best thing I did was quit big pharma in early 2000s (earning $200K) but working every waking hour – constantly emailing, writing and not much work life balance. Always looking for the next project.

  83. Anonymous says:

    somehow my last post got mangled..These numbers are just dire apart from #58. Surprised no consultants chimed in. Not a chemist, but on the computational side of life. Best thing I did was quit big pharma in early 2000s(earning $200K) but working every waking hour – constantly emailing, writing and not much work life balance. Always looking for the next project.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Oh I give up..trying to post.. bottom line I have work to do, whinging about salaries is getting us nowhere..but depressing for those stuck with crappy pay. Need to go and do something else instead..

  85. Wile E. Coyote, Genius says:

    Consultant chiming in, but not chemistry. Am in drug safety. 16 yrs experience – started at pharma and left when fed up. Last years income at $425K. First year of consulting was $260K which was twice my pharma pay. Will be close to that this coming year. Low cost of living Midwest location, but work long hours and most of my weekends – feast or famine situation. Turn work away enough times and the client doesn’t come back.
    My father-in-law was medicinal chemist in Midwest who retired in the early ’90s. He was earning >200K as middle mgmt.

  86. Anonymous says:

    @81 salary range is 32 to 40k, i guess it depends what you can negotiate. Also it is in the East Midlands where you can live quite comfortably on that money.
    Wages in the UK generally are terrible, but the real problem is the housing cost. London is an international city where people sacrifice things to live there. Cambridge, is not quite as attractive…

  87. one man CRO says:

    running an academic-based CRO somewhere in the South. have PhD plus postdoc and 10yrs experience doing this CRO thing. salary is $76K. looks like my experience could bring in more but life in academic CRO is relatively safe. keep your head down and make molecules. no one bothers you. that is a fine trade off for me

  88. Anonymous says:

    Started this year in a med chem position at a large company in Boston, $108k base salary. Lucky enough to come straight out of a PhD program (top 10 school) with no postdoc. So it can still be done…

  89. Pengwn says:

    #41: “MSc, Canadian CRO, $35K Canadian (about $31K USD)”
    Astounding — and yet another reason I’m glad I didn’t go to university just for the sake of having a degree
    High school only, working for a building supply company in Calgary doing estimating and admin flunky type work. Started at (all figures CAD) $33k, now at $39k. Might not be much, but I’m happy with where I am, and there’s no student loans to pay down, or evenings/weekends to work through
    Meanwhile, my girlfriend has her Master’s in Education, and accepted a position teaching high school Bio and Chem last month. $65k starting salary to pound cell diagrams and the periodic table’s lightest twenty into young minds
    And so long as Harper’s in the PMO, it’s just going to get worse for Canada’s scientists before it gets better

  90. anonandon says:

    Amazing how stagnant this is. When I last looked at medchem jobs, 1999/2000, Ph.D. no post-doc from top school was $85-$100 in NE big pharma and SF biotech. That was a boom time of course. Many companies were hiring then. Some don’t exist anymore.

  91. Dave says:

    Some anonymous poster above (line 19) posted about the Science Careers Discussion Forum, griping about the fact the forum doesn’t discuss salaries. Good catch, but you’re a bit late, as it’s been that way for 20 years. Salary discussions deteriorate, because they aren’t specific. (Derek’s got this one on the right track, with a certain specificity). The Forum has an easy to use in-house email program that users with similar interests use to exchange info that is relevant to their sub-groups. For example, microbiologist to microbiologist, chemist to chemist, etc. Believe it or not, people post stuff like “I just got my chemistry degree. What should I be paid?” with no reference to degree level, to location, to industry niche, to experience type, and so on. Threads like that are a big waste of bandwidth. It has nothing to do with the AAAS or the moderator.

  92. anon says:

    Germany, Biochemist by training, PhD + 5 yrs postdoc, 20yrs experience in Biotech/Big Pharma, now Director, 140k€, plus up to 20% cash bonus and up to 10 % stocks

  93. Anonymous says:

    In 2014 when we have streaming HD video are people still complaining about bandwidth?

  94. Pregabalin says:

    Canadian PhD with postdoc, 10 years experience, 78K at first biotech company with 2% yearly increase and bonus. Currently making the same amount at a CRO (however no yearly increase or benefits).
    With the loss of big pharma during the past decade, some predatory companies have popped up offering low salaries to scientists desperate to avoid unemployment…

  95. Anonymous says:

    Wow, many of you are making academia sound good for a change! Tenured faculty here earn $120k +. Of course getting tenure is hard…

  96. Anonymous says:

    plus as an academic you are free agent to go out and be entrepreneurial.
    young med chemists-go start new companies. dont be a cog.

  97. Anonymous says:

    I finished mt postdoc earlier this year, and started in Med Chem in the Boston area at $90k.

  98. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, “my,” not “mt.” But I do like the idea of “Mount PostDoc.”

  99. San Fran says:

    PhD, postdoc + 8 y experience, MedChem, team leader, small biotech, Bay Area, $140K plus 5-10% bonus

  100. weirdo says:

    So, here’s an open question:
    If UK medicinal chemists are paid so very poorly, why do UK CRO’s charge US-equivalent FTE rates?
    Something doesn’t quite add up!

  101. Not Joking says:

    Biological sciences PhD plus postdoc making $8.24/hr in part-time job waiting tables.

  102. process chemist says:

    Process chemistry in NE big pharma – Entry PhD $90-100k, w/ postdoc 105k, MS 70-85k

  103. process chemist says:

    To clarify.. MS salary range is average. Entry MS typically start at 65-79k.

  104. Anonymous says:

    #101 wierdo – wonder why Charles River bought Argenta/BioFocus? Big profit margin might help explain it!

  105. Anonymous says:

    The low salaries here are explained by 3 factors:
    1. High supply of PhDs and other scientists, caused by profit-focused school system being driven by job seekers rather than by employer needs.
    2. Low demand, caused by low and diminishing ROI in drug R&D (demand would be much higher if the R&D model was more productive and gave a better return).
    3. Increased globalization with larger CRO companies essentially hiring out labour (body leasing) and taking all the margin.
    Conclusion: Don’t try to support this bankrupt system, but go do something else with your skills that generates a higher ROI for investors without chopping your wages.

  106. Anonymous says:

    Yes, about right. Also, unfortunately, synthetic chemists are generally viewed in pharma as the most replaceable versus other disciplines biologists, MDs etc.

  107. anonymous says:

    2001: Biologist in Bay Area biotech Ph.D + postdoc, 67K plus (worthless) stock options
    2014: Biologist in NYC Area Pharma, ~150K. Salary probably middle of scale. I’m not getting rich but I enjoy my work a lot and certainly cannot complain.

  108. anonymous says:

    2001: Biologist in Bay Area biotech Ph.D + postdoc, 67K plus (worthless) stock options
    2014: Biologist in NYC Area Pharma, ~150K. Salary probably middle of scale. I’m not getting rich but I enjoy my work a lot and certainly cannot complain.

  109. SF bay says:

    PhD+postdoc, SF bay area, big pharma, just started with 104k +20k sign in plus 8% bonus. Wonder if I am underpaid here.

  110. WhyPostdoc says:

    I’ve noticed that PhD only is sub-$100k, and PhD+postdoc is $100-120k based on the various posts here. How significant is the “postdoc discrimination” for fresh PhD grads in biopharma industry? What’s the rationale for the extra bump for postdoc experience, which in my opinion is no different from a PhD experience.
    I have 9 published papers (6 1st-authors), and will have 12-15 by the time I graduate. I’ve mentored students, set my own research directions (within the boundaries of my PI’s research interest), etc… basically doing whatever a postdoc does in the last 2 years of my PhD.
    Can I use my productivity and “job scope” to negotiate that I am effectively operating at the postdoc-level?

  111. kemist says:

    20 year discovery chemist.
    150K driving and operating equipment in the oilfield.
    (no longer spending days in windowless rooms with stone faced people from communist and third world countries)

  112. Jacktooth says:

    A lot of people are focusing on the dismal salaries. Everyone is forgetting that you don’t start your career until your mid thirtees. In addition, most chemists will be let go from big pharma and their careers after 5-10 years. Look at the responses on this blog. All of them are recent graduates.

  113. Graemethecat says:

    PhD Chemist with 30 years in Big Pharma and Chemistry CRO in the UK and Belgium, now working as a high school teacher in Beijing. After-tax pay is 24000 RMB per month (£2400) with free accommodation and subsidised meals. Earning far more than I was as a real chemist.

  114. I Sell the Drugs You Make says:

    Pharmacist in SE New England:
    Retail – $130K
    Hospital – $110K
    Salaries in Boston proper are probably 10% higher than that from what I understand.
    Sounds like the real money is at the tail end of the pipeline, all with a 6-year undergrad degree.

  115. Engineer (?) says:

    Biotech Manufacturing Technology in the NW – $70k w/ 1-3 years exp. & B.S. Chemical Engineering
    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about moving my career toward research/doc level work and I’m quite surprised by some of the numbers here.

  116. Engineer (?) says:

    Biotech Manufacturing Technology in the NW – $70k w/ 1-3 years exp. & B.S. Chemical Engineering
    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about moving my career toward research/doc level work and I’m quite surprised by some of the numbers here.

  117. Risto Fäppääjä says:

    Doctoral student, almost finished, at a Finnish university. The last yearly pay I got was 30862 € (2468.92 €/mo). Now unemployed, I get just under 1000 €/mo earnings-related benefits.
    I am expecting around 37-50.000 €/a (3-4000 €/mo) pay whenever I get a job, which I hope will be in the private sector.

  118. anonymous says:

    Chemist with 11 years of college and grad school, making $14.84/hour, but I do a hell of a job mopping a floor.

  119. anonchem says:

    BS in chemistry, starting out of college. Production chemist at a fine chemical company, 47.5k with benefits.

  120. Chemist98 says:

    Started at 42k as a process chemist with my BS. Over 4 years they paid for my grad school and now making ~58k.

  121. 100K + benefits + bonuses + anual merit increase for newly minted PhD in Bay area with no post-doc experience

  122. exchemist says:

    Started at 32k as quality control chemist with my BS. Left the field 4 months ago, now earning ~50k writing software.

  123. Syntheric says:

    BSc in Chemistry from a respectable tech school here in Massachusetts. Strong physics background. Found a job quickly after graduating as a temp for a specialty chemicals company in northern mass in their analytical department. Pay was $22/hour (~44k). After 6 months, I was hired full time at 49k after I asked for more money from the initial 47k offer. Given an annual raise to 52k about 4 months later.
    Left the analytical department after 2 years with the company to move to an R&D position doing particle synthesis and surface modification, promptly was promoted and received a raise to $59k where I still am. Been here 3 years and 1 month.
    If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask, I think it’s stupid that people don’t talk more about salaries, it’s important information to have.

  124. Texmex says:

    A lot of comments here about stagnant wages. I know chemistry is in bad shape right now but Im seeing this in several industries that I was involved in over the years.

  125. chemistryman says:

    After leaving a Phd program with a masters at a top 50 school with a good professor, I started at 43k at a major US CRO, then moved 1.5 years later to big pharma starting at 70k plus bonus.

  126. cynical1 says:

    BS with almost 30 years of experience in Med Chem. At the PhD level for the past 17 years or so. Working off an NIH grant for $44K/yr. with no benefits. When I worked in big Pharma, I was the highest level non-PhD in the division. Now I’m the most underemployed chemist I know.
    So on Monday I quit (two weeks notice). I don’t have a job but I’m out of chemistry.
    I’ll admit to a certain amount of bitterness but not too much all things considered. I will also admit that a disproportionate amount of chemists I have worked with and for (!!!) are really just despicable people. What is it with this profession anyway? But, now, I don’t have to deal with them anymore. How does it get any better than that?
    Bye everyone…………

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