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The 1988 salary survey.

The 1988 Salary Survey

In 1988 and 1989, we expanded the annual salary survey to learn more about the employment patterns of members of The Chemical Institute of Canada. It was hoped that the first survey would give a snapshot of our membership and their employment profile, while later surveys would monitor changes in our membership makeup and employment patterns. We encountered a few unanticipated problems in handling the increased amount of survey data, and this lead to the unfortunate delay in the publication of the analysis of the initial 1988 survey.

This article presents the analysis of the 1988 survey data, and provides the first look at who our members are, and where and how they are employed. It is, of course, recognized that without a very high proportion of members providing responses, the following observations can not be claimed to be quantitatively accurate, but presumably are at least indicative of our membership. In a number of cases, readers may note a substantial number of respondents in the 'other' category. Generally, this is due to the fact that if no response to a particular question was provided, the response was tabulated as 'other'. Any alternative categories, comments or suggestions written by members on their responses have not yet been analyzed but will be reported with the analyses of the 1989 survey later this year.

With our experience with the 1988 survey data handling, I hope to be able to process the 1989 survey which you have just recently completed and sent in with your 1990 fee payments, in a much more timely fashion. It is expected that the 1989 survey data will be published during the late summer or early fall 1990.

Who Are We?

The combined fee paying membership of the Institute as of December 1988 was 6,268 and as shown in Figure 1, over two-thirds were CSC members, 23% CSChE, and 8% CSCT members. While the total response rate to the 1988 survey was similar to the previous year, slightly over 2,000, teething problems with the expanded survey format resulted in only 1,799 responses being usable and incorporated into this analysis. The combined response rate was similar to the previous years at 28.7%, with approximately 27% for the CSC and the CSChE, but only 17% for the CSCT. See Table 1. A larger response rate would make any conclusions drawn from this survey much more significant and, therefore, I hope that the following analysis will inspire more members to complete the surveys in future years.

Responses to the 1988 survey summarized in Table 1, indicate that the proportion of female chemists and technologists are 12-13%, whereas female chemical engineers are only 5.5%. The proportion of female chemical engineers, while low, is apparently higher than 3% for all engineers as was recently reported by Leigh Dayton, in an article in The Globe and Mail on January 13, 1990, reporting on data provided by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. This article went on to report that women tend to leave the engineering field after several years, and that those who stay do not receive promotions at the same rate as male members of the profession, and earn approximately 10% less than men. While our total number of female respondents to 1988 CIC survey is small, at only 141, a closer look at comparative responses of female and male respondents will be the subject of a later article.

Respondents to the survey indicate a very low rate of unemployment of approximately 0.1% over The Institute membership as a whole. Over 95% of our combined membership are employees, while only 2.6% are self-employed. The percentage of responses from retired members falls to 0.7% of the total responses. It's possible that retired and unemployed members did not respond to what has previously only been a 'Salary Survey'. It is hoped that all Institute members will feel 'included' in the future surveys since we hope to be able to assess overall makeup of our membership, current employment patterns and identify issues such as unemployment.

About two-thirds of CSChE members across Canada hold membership in provincial licensing associations, except in the Atlantic Region as shown in Figure 2. Approximately 20% of the CSC members hold similar association memberships, primarily in Quebec, and 20% of CSCT members.

Figure 3 shows the breakdown of membership of The Institute and the Constituent Societies by age-groups. Student's were not included in the 1988 and 1989 surveys and, therefore, the very low response in the lowest age-group is to be expected. As noted above, as retirement approaches, there is a rapid fall off in responses in the age brackets 55-65. Responses primarily came from members in the early and mid-years of their careers between the ages of 26 and 55. The peak of CSChE responses in the 26-35 age group may be the result of recent member recruitment efforts focussed on students and recent graduates.

The academic qualifications of the combined CIC membership is shown in Figure 4, indicating that well over half the membership have advance degrees, and 48% have Ph.D.'s. Table 2 shows the qualification pattern by Constituent Society and indicates that the largest Constituent Society, the CSC, has a majority of Ph.D. qualified members, while the CSChE has approximately an equal number of bachelor qualified members and members with advanced degrees. CSCT members are primarily diploma qualified.

A review of the regional distribution of the combined responses, shown in Figure 5, indicates that approximately half reside in Ontario and the remaining half are located primarily in Canada and are equally split, approximately 25% east of Ontario and 25% west of Ontario. Non-Canadian resident respondents were relatively small at approximately 3% of the combined membership. It is interesting to note in Figure 6 that while approximately 50% of the member of each Constituent Society are located in Ontario, the CSC has somewhat stronger representation to the east of Ontario, while non-Ontario members of the CSCT and the CSChE have proportionally more members in Western Canada.

In summary, the 1988 survey indicated that the majority of respondents have advanced degrees, 7.8% are female and that respondents were from a broad representation across the age range of 26-55. Almost all respondents live in Canada, one-half in Ontario and the remaining half is approximately equally split, living to the east and to the west. Only one-quarter of our members respond to employment surveys.

Where Do We Work?

As shown in Table 3, 37% of the combined CIC members are employed in industry, the next largest employment sector being the academic sector at 27%, and 20% of our members are employed by governments. It is interesting to note in the breakdown by Constituent Society that the CSC which has the largest academic representation of the three societies still has its largest percentage of members employed by the industrial sector. The CSChE and the CSCT have a substantially larger proportion of their members employed in industry. Industrial employment of the combined CIC membership is broadly spread across the range of industrial sectors.

Figure 7 shows the distribution of employer size for the total number of respondents. The distribution of employer size is approximately one-third each in the categories of 0 to 200, 200 to 1999 and greater than 2000 employees. This distribution is roughly the same if only industrial employers are considered and if the Constituent Societies' responses are considered separately.

Table 4 shows the distribution of responsibility level of the combined membership and of the individual Constituent Societies. Approximately one-quarter are working as individual specialists without supervisory responsibilities, while 75% have varying degrees of supervisory and management responsibilities. The CSChE has the highest percentage of non-supervisory respondents at 27%, which likely relates to the fact that the age of their membership peaks at 30% in the 26-35 year group. It is interesting to compare responsibility profiles for age groups 25-35, 46-55 and 56-65, with the first Group taking out the largest number of memberships and the latter groups letting their membership lapse or at least no longer responding to surveys. The progression of our members through their careers is apparent in Figure 8, with the reduction of the proportion of non-supervisory responsibilities in favor of increased supervisory and senior management responsibilities. However, as our careers advance, we do not carry our interest in The Institute with us, at least as evidenced by declining total number of responses and the lack of continuously increasing proportion of responses from members with senior management responsibilities.

Finally, Table 5 summarizes responses according to job function. Thirty percent of our members are employed in R&D functions. Teaching is the next largest function at 14.1%. The heavy weight on research and teaching is similarly evident in the CSC responses. The CSCT and CSChE job function profiles tend to be more broadly spread, with relatively higher responses for technical services and production related activities. The CSCT also has a high proportion of members involved in quality control.

I hope readers find the information provided above to be of interest, and that this article will encourage us all to take a few extra minutes each year to complete the employment survey when we are sending in our fee payment.
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Author:Betty, Robert W.
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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