The Royal Society of Chemistry’s archive of remuneration reports shed light on pay and benefits in the chemical sciences

How has chemists’ pay and job satisfaction changed in the last two years? How about over the last century? Royal Society of Chemistry members can now explore these questions, and so much more, in our newly-released archive of Pay and Reward surveys going back 100 years.

Every two years, we ask RSC members to share their experiences of salary, pension and benefits in their field of the chemical sciences. Using the data we publish an authoritative employment and job satisfaction report to help you proactively manage your careers. We also use the report data to support our services and inform our wider policy and advocacy work.

Infographic of median salary by sector

The 2019 Pay and Reward survey found a median salary of £45,500*. Early career chemists can expect to earn a median salary of £33,200 and Chartered Chemists £60,000**. The gender pay gap has decreased by 4%; however, women still only earn 78% of the salary of men with a median salary of £38,400 for women and £49,000 for men.

Median salary by industrial sector

The biggest median salary increase was seen in Pharmaceuticals (£58,900, compared with £52,000 in 2017) and in Coatings, Paints and Inks (£52,000, compared with £41,000 in 2017). Respondents identified leadership, communication and networking as the skills they most need to progress their careers and 27% felt that lack of opportunity to gain experience in the workplace was a barrier to skills development. 52% said being passionate about their work was a key motivator and 79% said that they feel able to be themselves at work.

Respondant opinions

The report also looks at the impact of professional awards and career breaks on salary and career progression, how the community feels about job security, skills needs and usage and how workplace experiences differ by gender. Employers can use the report to benchmark employee benefit packages, understand what motivates today’s chemical scientists and what they are expect from future employers.

Infographic of skills required for career progression

As part of these centenary celebrations we are making the last 100 years’ worth of Pay and Reward reports available digitally to Royal Society of Chemistry members for the first time. Members can access the Pay and Reward reports for free. If you are not a member you can join our membership today or to purchase this report for £250 email

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