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Scientific Research Income

Industry earnings. In 2006, nonsupervisory workers in scientific research and development services earned $1,136 per week on average, substantially higher than the $568 average for all industries. The earnings of those engaged in research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences differ markedly from the earnings of those in research and development in the social sciences and humanities, with respective averages of $1,175 and $818.

Earnings also varied considerably by occupation, with workers in management and professional occupations earning more. This was similar to other industries. Occupations in the industry with higher earnings typically require higher levels of education and experience. Hourly wages for specific occupations in the industry are shown in table 2.

Table 2. Median hourly earnings of the largest occupations in scientific research and development services, May 2006

Occupation

Scientific research and development services

All industries

General and operations managers

$59.80

$40.97

Computer software engineers, systems software

46.72

41.04

Computer software engineers, applications

41.97

38.36

Medical scientists, except epidemiologists

34.32

29.66

Business operations specialists, all other

33.25

26.76

Chemists

33.06

28.78

Executive secretaries and administrative assistants

20.66

17.90

Biological technicians

19.14

17.17

Secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive

16.20

13.20

Office clerks, general

13.70

11.40

Benefits and union membership. Workers in scientific research and development services generally receive standard benefits, including health insurance, paid vacation and sick leave, and pension plans.

In 2006, only 4 percent of all workers in the scientific research and development industry were union members or covered by union contracts, compared with about 13 percent of all workers throughout private industry.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition

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