Salary Gap Between Positions in Academia Slowly Narrowing
The following is an analysis of data taken from the INOMICS Salary Report 2018 - downloadable for registered users here. Specifically, it looks at the average salaries of PhDs, Post-Docs, and Full Professors, working in economics over the last 5 years, in the U.S, the U.K, Germany, and Italy. It is the 4th instalment in a series of insights handling the Report’s findings. The first three can be found in our insights section.
With the Salary Report now in its 5th year, sufficient data has been collected from the U.S, the U.K, Germany, and Italy, to compare the wages of PhDs, Post-Docs, and Full Professors over the last half a decade, beginning in 2013.
As Graph 7 shows, the salaries of PhD candidates in the respective 4 countries have fluctuated somewhat over the last five years. In the USA and Germany, there can be observed a slight increase over the period, perhaps reflecting their improving economies. 2017, in particular, proved for both countries a lucrative year for economists of this status. In comparison with Italy, the inverse can be observed, and a slight decline in salary is visible. Of the four, the UK stands out as the anomaly, experiencing relatively consistent wages at this level.
This consistency of wages in the UK is also apparent for those engaged in Post-Docs. Although offering the highest average salary over the last 5 years, the U.S, similar to Germany, showed largely stagnant salaries, both seeing a marginal decline over the previous 3 years. Italy, while showing signs of a modest increase in the last 2 years remains the lowest of the Western countries included. The general trend of a Post-Docs’ average salaries going down mirrors that of PhD holders who also earned less in 2017 than they did previously.
From Graph 9, it can be observed that in all four countries that were analysed, the average salary of full professors grew between 2013 and 2016, although a modest drop seems to have taken place thereafter. This may be partially explained by the significant shifts in currency exchange rates between 2014 and 2016. Interestingly, we can analyse how the salaries of professionals from the same country, but in different positions have changed over time. For instance, in Germany in 2013 there was a huge gap between the average salary of a PhD candidate and a full professor, and even until as recently as 2015 full professors were earning more than three times as much as PhD candidates. During the last two years, however, this gap has shrunk, with PhD candidates’ salaries going up in 2017 and full professors’ salaries dropping slightly. Although the difference is still significant (more than double), there is a clear trend towards narrowing salaries between positions in academia.
There will be more analysis of the Salary Report’s findings in the upcoming weeks, keep an eye on the INOMICS insights section for future instalments. Additionally, for career opportunities and job listings in business, finance, and economics, take a look at our jobs section. It has all that you will need to take that next big step!
For lots more information for economics students and others, see these articles:
- What You Need to Know
A Post-PhD Career in Research: Jack of all Trades, Master of Some
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- Preparing for a PhD
Should you prolong your predoc life?
If you go through curricula vitae of recent PhD graduates, you may find it’s not uncommon to see that a PhD owns two master’s degrees. As lots of MA/MSc in Economics programs are one-year programs, some students will pursue an MRes or MPhil in Economics afterwards. Others may opt for a degree in applied mathematics, statistics or another field with an intention to strengthen their quantitative and/or coding skills (summer school programs are another option to do this).
- Study Advice Article
5 key differences between American- and European-style PhD programs
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