Median 2012 starting salary for
The highest degree for most respondents
was in general chemistry or biochemistry.
Median age of 2012 survey takers:
Top method for finding a job:
went to work
to have a
NOTE: Of the respondents, 85.1% earned new bachelor’s degrees, 6.9% earned master’s
degrees, and 8.0% earned Ph. D.s. a Includes respondents who selected agricultural/food
chemistry, environmental chemistry, forensic chemistry, materials science, medical/phar-maceutical chemistry, and polymer chemistry as field of highest degree, as well as those
who opted not to select a field.
Respondents = 2,012
Unemployment Dropped Slightly in 2012— But So Did
Salaries for Those Who Found Jobs, ACS Survey Shows
BY SUSAN R. MORRISSEY
REPRINTED FROM CHEMICAL & ENGINEERING NEWS, APRIL 22,
2013, VOLUME 91, ISSUE 16, PP. 47–50.
For newly minted graduates in chemically related fields, 2012 was a better year to find a job than previ- ous years, as the unemployment rate for those look- ing for work fell from 13.3% in 2011 to 12.6% in 2012. Despite the slight drop in unemployment, median
starting salaries for new Ph.D. and master’s degree recipients
also dropped and those for bachelor’s earners stayed flat. These
findings come from the annual American Chemical Society survey of new graduates in chemistry and related fields.
Gareth S. Edwards of the ACS Department of Research &
Member Insights conducts the survey under the guidance of the
ACS Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs. The 2012
survey was sent to 12,132 recent graduates in early October
2012, and data were collected until January 2013. In all, the new
grads returned 2,012 usable responses for a response rate of
16.6%. The respondents can be divided into several categories —
degree level, for instance, or field of study, gender, experience
level, or type of employment. For some of these groups, the
number of responses was small and not necessarily representative of the wider pool of chemistry graduates in a given group.
Of the 2012 respondents, 85.1% were newly minted bachelor’s degree holders, 6.9% held new master’s degrees, and
8.0% had just completed a Ph.D. Among the bachelor’s degree
recipients, the top three fields of study were general chemistry
(50.2%), biochemistry (30.5%), and chemical engineering (8.3%).
For master’s degree holders, a quarter of respondents earned
a general chemistry degree, 18.1% a biochemistry degree, and
13.8% an analytical chemistry degree. At the Ph.D. level, 20.5%
earned an analytical chemistry degree, 13.7% an inorganic
chemistry degree, and 13.7% an organic chemistry degree.