Been in academia all your life? Don't know how much you're worth in the real world? Well, in Canada, a new salary survey, commissioned by the Biotechnology Human Resources Council (BHRC), should give you an idea.

The survey provides information on salary and benefits for jobs in various segments of the biotechnology industry. But, more importantly, the survey is being used by companies to figure out how much to pay their employees. "The biotechnology compensation and benefits survey is a bible for the industry. ... Having access to a current, industry-specific, complete compensation tool is critical to planning an effective human resources strategy," explained Mary Yaroshevsky-Glanville, director of human resources at Inex Pharmaceuticals (and chair of the BHRC Labour Market Information Task Force). And if companies are using it to figure out what you're worth, well, maybe you should be using it too.

Over 14,000 individuals in Canada, in more than 100 occupations in the biotechnology sector, filled out the survey, which offered some interesting results. Although most of the information can only be obtained by subscription, the BHRC gave the Next Wave some figures that might be interesting to our readers.

First, salaries are on the rise in biotech. Management salaries are increasing at an average rate of 8%, with technical position increases much lower, but still above inflation, at 3.5%. Second, the survey tells us that the real money in biotechnology is in management: The average salary of a business development manager in biotech is Cdn$97,000, with intellectual property or public relations manager salaries not far behind. Researchers and technicians are being paid much less, but figuring out what does get paid the most might help you decide what field to combine with your scientific expertise.

No matter what category of job you're looking for, knowing what you're worth, and being able to prove that to the person hiring you (through the use of this survey), is an indispensable salary negotiation tool.

The survey can be found on the BHRC Web site: www.bhrc.ca