BELLINGHAM, WA--(Marketwired - May 20, 2015) -  Salaries are rising highest in China and median salaries for women continue to lag those of men by around 40%, according to findings in the latest Optics and Photonics Global Salary Report from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

The report, released last month, also found that workers in all sectors of the industry report high levels of satisfaction with their jobs.

Results from the 2015 survey are based on nearly 6,000 validated responses from 100 countries.

Among key findings:

  • Median salary reported is US$64,000, down from last year's US$73,000, primarily reflecting large declines of the euro and yen against the dollar.
  • Salaries paid in Chinese yuan have risen by 33% since 2012 versus 5% increases in euro, dollar, and yen earnings.
  • 55% of workers in lower-income Asian countries expect a raise of 10% or greater in 2015; 10% of higher-income Europeans and 11% of North Americans expect raises at that level.
  • Median salaries are 41% higher overall for men than for women, with the largest gap occurring late-career.
  • Survey respondents are highly satisfied with their jobs overall: 85% enjoy their work, 86% find their work meaningful, and 90% respect the work of their peers.

"It is encouraging to see so many anticipate salary jumps; I hope these expectations come to pass and that we see better remuneration for the scientists, engineers, and manufacturing professionals who are changing our world," said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs.

While the continuing trend of disparity between median salaries for women and men is discouraging, Dr. Arthurs said that SPIE "is heartened by the continued growth of the percentage of women among our membership and conference participants. SPIE is committed to providing the crucial exposure and networking opportunities that conferences offer for the many brilliant women in our community. Visibility is invaluable, particularly in the early stages of one's career."

Arthurs, a veteran of both industry and academia, echoed the sense of job satisfaction reflected by the survey, and encouraged optics and photonics professionals to share that with students, teachers, and parents they meet. "Finding solutions to the future's challenges will require attracting the best and brightest of the next generation to careers in optics and photonics," he said.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided more than $4 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2014.

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