Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Unrest in the Ranks – and Rankings

By Guy Nolch

Working scientists are becoming disenchanted in the workplace at a time when scientific literacy of students is slipping.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Last September this column discussed a report that science graduates were having difficulty finding employment related to their studies. The Grattan Institute’s bleak conclusion was that “employment directly related to science expertise is unlikely to increase substantially in the near future”. One would hope, then, that those who had managed to storm the gates of employment in science would find their careers rewarding.

Apparently not. A survey by Professional Scientists Australia, discussed in this edition by its CEO Chris Walton (p.41), has found that working scientists are disgruntled about several aspects of their careers. “More than a third of respondents reported being dissatisfied with their current level of remuneration and over a third said they were considering leaving their current employer,” the report said. “Many were concerned that their remuneration package was falling behind market rates for those undertaking similar work, and that their package did not reflect the level of responsibility they undertook in their day-to-day work.”

The report also found “broad concern about science skills with around seven in ten respondents saying cost-cutting was impacting science capability in their organisation,” while “over half said deprofessionalisation in their organisation was a major concern”. It’s not surprising, then, that 61% reported that worker...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.