• Question: do u get alot of money

    Asked by jacob399 to Meeks, Pete, Stephen, Steve, Tom on 16 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Stephen Curry

      Stephen Curry answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      I would say that I am pretty well paid for what I do – I have no complaints. But I though I have climbed up the greasy pole to become a professor, I am paid less well that a GP or a lawyer or an accountant. I would say that I am at least as highly trained as members of these professions.

      But few people go into science with the intention of getting rich. We are usually driven by the love of the subject. Now, you can’t eat love or use it to pay for accommodation, so a decent wage is still important. But it turns out that, as long as people have a decent standard of living, money is not a great incentive to make them work harder or more effectively. I saw a great video about this on YOutube which you may be able to find here (it’s quite funky!)

    • Photo: Marieke Navin

      Marieke Navin answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      I wouldn’t say a lot…but i don’t do too badly. I can afford to eat, buy clothes, go on holiday and generally have a nice time. I certainly don’t earn as much as I could do if I worked for a big firm or in a banking job in the city, but I wouldn’t want to do a job like that because it wouldn’t make me happy!

    • Photo: Steve Roser

      Steve Roser answered on 16 Jun 2010:

      Compared to our rubbish footballers for messing up for 90 minutes a week, not a lot.
      Compared to some people who did really useful but horrid jobs, I get loads.
      Actually I feel incredibly lucky to be paid at all for doing something that on teh whole I really love…..

    • Photo: Tom Hartley

      Tom Hartley answered on 16 Jun 2010:

      Hi jacob, good question.

      Here is the salary scale for my job (working in a University): http://www.york.ac.uk/admin/hr/resources/pay_scales/grading_structure/aug_2009.htm

      If you have just completed a PhD you would probably start off near the bottom of grade 6 about £29000 pounds a year (before tax etc.). You would usually go up one step a year until you reach a pink square at which point you have to prove that (as well as being more experience) you are doing something different or better than before. I got my PhD ~14 years ago (gasp), so I am somewhere on Grade 7. I think.

      Bear in mind that before you even start as a postdoctoral researcher you would be 26ish at minimum, having spent after leaving school 3 years doing a degree, perhaps a year on a masters and 3 years on a PhD. During this period you would not have much money at all, and indeed you would have to borrow money to pay for your university fees and living expenses. After that, you would have to find a new job every three-to-five years (because postdocs are employed on specific short-term projects), until you find a job with an open contract (I was ~38 by then). Many people do not make it to this stage. Luckily, there are lots of other jobs for scientists and many of them are probably better paid and have more straightforward career prospects.

      Most scientists (it seems to me) are not that worried about money, but are driven by an urge to find new things out.