Second European Employment Survey

Second European Employment Survey


The 2nd Employment Survey for European Chemists (ESEC2) has individually analyzed employment conditions and career opportunities for all European countries. The survey included questions about education, employment, and salary and provides insights into which chemical sub-discipline offers the most jobs, in which country chemists most quickly get a job, and where a chemist is likely to earn the highest salary. The questionnaire was developed and the survey executed by the European Chemistry Network Association (ECTN) and the European Chemical Society (EuChemS). Experiences from the first survey have been incorporated into the questionnaire.

Reiner Salzer, ECTN and TU Dresden, Germany, and colleagues have published the results of the survey. A total of 2754 chemists and chemical engineers responded to ESEC2. The total share of women in the survey was 41 %, compared to 39 % in ESEC1. 83 % of all respondents live in their native country with almost no difference between females and males. Like in ESEC1, the dominating qualification in the chemistry workforce in Europe is Ph.D. (47 %). A M.Sc. degree is held by 34 % of the respondents, followed by a B.Sc. degree and of a Habilitation degree (8 % each). Of all chemists employed in industry, 63 % work in large companies (more than 250 employees and a turnover of more than 50 Mio EUR/year). Of all companies, 59 % make business worldwide.

Chemists are very satisfied with their current job. More than 80 % strongly agree or agree that their current job is related to their field. The same holds true for the statement that their job is commensurate with their training. 85 % define their job as challenging (strongly agree or agree). 55 % find their job fits their expectations (strongly agree and agree). On the other hand, more than 25 % disagree or strongly disagree here.

There is a wide span in annual salary within the EU (see figure) as was discussed in the ESEC1 report. Of interest is also a comparison with salaries for chemists in the USA. The average salary for all sectors in 2016 is given as 97850 USD. At the time when ESEC2 data were collected, this corresponded to 92 353 EUR. Together with a GDP of 145 Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) with EU28 = 100 for the USA, these data also fit quite well into the graph shown above.

As the American Chemical Society (ACS) has a similar survey, the two societies agreed to harmonize their respective questionnaires as the first step towards a future cooperation in this field. The harmonization already started by jointly discussing the ESEC2 questionnaire. The next survey is expected to take place in 2020 as a joint event with the ACS.

Figure: Median salaries plus bonuses 2016 for M.Sc. and Ph.D. graduates in the 11 most responding countries.


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