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Salary and Job Satisfaction by Region

U.S. science professionals desire more recognition and training.

by Alan Edwards

As scientists search for new career opportunities, both within and outside of their present organizations, a recent survey indicates that they are motivated by working for a company that adds value to society. In addition, science professionals view a strong compensation package, a regular recognition program, and advanced training classes as desirable benefits in today’s work environment.

According to the 2010 Lab Manager MagazineKelly Scientific Resources Fourth Annual Salary and Employee Satisfaction Survey, many science professionals are interested in working for reputable organizations that add value to society through the research and products they produce.

A United States regional breakout of survey responses reveals the ways in which scientific organizations regularly influence employees, communities, and society as a whole.

The following survey findings depict science professionals’ job satisfaction rates and their desire for more recognition and training programs. The findings are presented according to the following regions: Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and West.


Within the Midwest region of the country, survey respondents appear optimistic about their current positions and futures within their respective industries, despite the ever-changing conditions of the region’s economy. According to the survey, 91% of respondents are currently pleased with the type of work they perform on a daily basis. In addition, 71% of respondents believe their jobs will be secure during the coming months and years because they feel valued at their present organizations.

Unfortunately, many Midwestern survey respondents do not always feel recognized for reaching their managers’ expectations of achieving established organizational goals. Only 55% of all respondents believe they will be acknowledged, recognized, or promoted for consistently providing outstanding work and services.

At the same time, some science professionals located in the Midwest are concerned about the lack of advancement opportunities available within their present organizations and laboratories. Currently, 63% of survey respondents feel their organization has advancement opportunities in place for them. In the meantime, 57% believe their career goals are being advanced through their positions.

To retain top talent in the coming years, business leaders will need to develop or improve recognition programs and create career paths for employees. In doing so, managers will ensure that highly talented employees continue to utilize their abilities and knowledge within their organizations.


Throughout the Northeast, a vast majority of survey respondents (96%) are pleased with the type of work they perform every day, as well as the value they feel they add to their organizations (76%).

Interestingly, much like their Midwest counterparts, 56% of Northeast employees believe their career goals are being advanced through their current positions. Furthermore, 51% of Northeast survey respondents feel their organizations presently have advancement opportunities awaiting them as they pursue their future career goals.

Recognition is also a significant organizational benefit that many Northeastern managers will likely need to focus on improving in the future. Quite simply, the numbers speak for themselves—54% of all survey respondents believe they are acknowledged, recognized, or promoted for the high quality of work they regularly perform; 46% do not.

Northeastern survey results are rather similar to those from the Midwest—science professionals desire more recognition for their daily work performance and need a wider array of advancement opportunities to achieve their career and life goals.


Respondents in the Southeast region are also very satisfied with the type of work they perform on a daily basis. They are eager to obtain recognition for their work performance and to acquire advancement opportunities throughout the duration of their careers. Quite similar to survey respondents from the Midwest and Northeast, an overwhelming majority of Southeastern science professionals (92%) are currently satisfied with their daily roles and influences on other people. In the meantime, 75% of respondents feel valued by their current employers.

The survey found that a majority of Southeastern respondents are pleased with their employers’ recognition programs and advancement opportunities. Presently, 60% of respondents are being recognized on a regular basis for the outstanding work they conduct—a figure that shows that many organizations’ recognition programs are continuously improving.

Yet, the findings do display some lower figures as well. Currently, a mere 48% of respondents believe their organizations have a variety of advancement opportunities, while only 46% think their career goals are being advanced through the positions they presently hold.

As Southeastern science professionals continuously strive to influence their fellow members of society, they will be motivated to help their current organizations in the future if they receive more job opportunities and performance recognition. Motivated employees tend to have higher morale and greater intentions of helping their employers succeed in the future.


With regard to job satisfaction and employee value, Western science professionals are quite similar to their fellow scientists around the country. The survey found that 93% of respondents like the type of work they do, while 71% feel they are valued at their organizations.

Throughout the West, 54% of the survey respondents believe their career goals are currently being advanced and that their organizations have numerous advancement opportunities for them to strive for and acquire. Of interest, only 59% of respondents are regularly being acknowledged, recognized, or promoted by their companies.

Undoubtedly, employee value and job satisfaction are not major issues for most science professionals nationwide. However, recognition and advancement opportunities are significant issues for employees throughout the United States.

So, will more organizational leaders and managers begin to listen to their employees’ requests and needs during the coming months and years? What are organizations doing today to retain their most talented employees tomorrow? Will they respond to their employees’ needs by improving their current recognition, reward, and training programs?

Science professionals are motivated by the value they add to society each day. Now is the time for their employers to show them how valuable they really are.