Economy is Not Impacting Employee Morale

In recent years, employees have been searching for positive news in spite of one of the largest economic downturns in history. It seems that science professionals may now have encouraging news that will improve their morale during the coming months. According to the 2009 Lab Manager Magazine & Kelly Scientific, Third Annual Salary and Employee Satisfaction Survey, compensation does not completely impact the moods of employees. Rather, employees nationwide are realizing that the work they do provides more value than their annual salaries. According to the survey results, the slow economy has not dampened the spirits of a majority of science professionals. A regional breakout of survey responses follows.

Throughout the Midwest, survey respondents seem to be rather optimistic about their current positions and futures within their respective industries, despite the ever-changing and uncertain conditions of the region's economy. According to the survey, more than 90% of respondents are pleased with the type of work they perform daily. In addition, a majority of respondents feel valued by their management (70%) and believe their jobs will be secure well into the future.

A majority of Midwest respondents also appear satisfied to work at organizations for an extended period of time. On average, employees have worked for their current employers for four years, likely as a result of the value that they feel while working at their organizations. In the meantime, a majority of survey respondents not only believe that their organizations provide them with opportunities to advance to higher-paid positions with more responsibility, but that their career goals are being met within their current organizations.

Of the respondents located in the Midwest, a majority have one of three job titles: lab supervisor / manager / director, chemist / scientist, or technologist / technician. Most respondents either work in research and development, quality control / assurance or validation, or technical services. It is also apparent that Midwest respondents not only have positions that are valuable with regard to their security and positive impacts on society, but are financially rewarding as well. The majority of respondents earn between $45,000 and $109,999 per year.

Midwesterners seem well-prepared for successful careers within their organizations and appear determined to maintain their confidence.

Within the Northeast region of the country, a majority of survey respondents (70%) feel secure in their current positions. Respondents are also overwhelmingly positive about the type of work they perform every day (97%), as well as the value that they feel on a regular basis at their organizations (80%).

Interestingly, compared to employees located in the Midwest, employees in the Northeast feel that there are no advancement opportunities (around 53%) in their current positions. However, nearly 50% of respondents believe that their career goals are being advanced in their current positions while 40% do not.

Surveyed employees still tend to work for organizations for extended periods of time in the Northeast. On average, respondents maintained positions within an organization for four years. Most survey respondents earned between $45,000 and $124,999 annually.

A majority of respondents have obtained one of the three job titles - supervisor / manager / director, chemist / scientist, and technologist / technician, much like the Midwest. Despite the similarities in typical job titles and functions (research and development, quality control / assurance and validation, and technical services), Northeast respondents earn slightly more than respondents from the Midwest, perhaps due to minor differences between the impact the economy has had on each region, as the automotive and engineering-based economy of the Midwest has been especially impacted by the recent recession. Positive outlooks, as well as secure incomes, have helped Northeasterners maintain their career goals.

Even more so than respondents in the Midwest and Northeast, Southeast region respondents are overwhelmingly satisfied with the type of work they perform on a daily basis. In the meantime, approximately 75% of respondents believe their jobs are secure and 80% feel valued at their organizations. However, despite the fact that only 42% of respondents believe they will be promoted at their current organizations, a majority of respondents think that their career goals are being advanced through their current jobs.

The majority of Southeast respondents tend to feel secure in their current jobs. As Southeast respondents typically work in small organizations and laboratories, much like employees from the Midwest and Northeast, they may have opportunities to obtain various job titles and functions during their careers. However, like their Midwest and Northeast counterparts, a majority of respondents are either lab supervisors / managers / directors, technologists / technicians, or chemists / scientists who have quality control, research and development, operations, or technical services roles within their organizations.

Despite the obvious similarities between Southeast respondents in comparison to Midwest and Northeast employees, one noticeable difference does remain - the annual salaries of Southeast employees compared to others. On average, a majority of Southeast respondents earn between $25,000 and $94,999 annually. However, despite a lower average income, employees tend to feel just as satisfied with their current positions as survey respondents from other regions. It seems employees are seeking to add value to their work.

While the average salaries of Southeastern respondents tend to be lower than those of employees in other regions of the country, the exact opposite is true with regard to respondents from the West. On average, a majority of respondents earn between $45,000 and $149,000 annually despite working in organizations and laboratories similar in size to those in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast. Interestingly, respondents typically work for organizations on an average of four years, similar to employees in other regions of the country.

In addition to typical high salary averages, a majority of respondents are not only satisfied with their positions and the impacts they have on society, but they also feel secure about their positions and are valued within their organizations, much like a majority of respondents from the other regions of the nation. While most respondents wish their organizations provided them with more opportunities to advance to other positions, a majority of employees from the West feel that their career goals are being advanced through their current jobs - a finding similar to respondents from the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast.

According to salary survey respondents from four different regions around the country, it seems that a majority of science professionals are very satisfied with their current positions. A majority of the respondents are pleased with their day-to-day positions and seem excited about their futures, indicating that the majority of science professionals have a common purpose in mind to use their educations, experiences and skills to improve the foundations of society.