From the 23 June issue of Science.

There seems to be little relationship between pay raises and job satisfaction among young scientists, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF)--especially if you're a physicist. The biennial Science and Engineering Indicators 2000, released this week, reports that physicists who earned their Ph.D.s within the past 5 years get larger raises than other scientists--reflecting a greater tendency to work in industry rather than academe--but are more likely to regret their career choice. Newly minted life scientists, on the other hand, get smaller raises--a measure of the high postdoc population--but have fewer regrets. The median salary for recent Ph.D. graduates was $41,000 in 1997, with a high of $72,000 for private-sector computer scientists and a low of $27,000 for biology postdocs. New physicists pulled down $43,000, compared with $32,000 for biologists.

The latest, two-volume version of Indicators now comes with a CD-ROM and is on the Web at www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/stats.htm. It opens with a comparison of science and technology now and immediately after World War II, and closes with a look at the growing significance of information technologies.

COMPENSATION, AND COMPENSATING

Field

Pay hike *

Regrets +

Physics

17.5%

24.4%

Elec. engineering

15.8

9.8

Computer science

11.7

6.8

Economics

10.0

12.6

Mech. engineering

9.1

16.5

Biological science

6.6

18.2

Math sciences

5.3

22.4

Geoscience

2.5

20.3

Chemistry

2.0

23.9

Psychology

0.0

10.8

Agric. science

0.0

20.7

Socio./anthro

-2.7

15.5

Civil engineering

-3.8

20.9

Note: Figures are for recent graduates (1 to 5 years post-Ph.D.)

*Change in median salary, 1995-97.

+Percent "not likely" to choose field second time.

Source: Science and Engineering Indicators 2000

Jeffrey Mervis is a senior correspondent for Science magazine.