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Income and Employment of SIOP Members in 1997

Jennifer L. Burnfield and Gina J. Medsker
Human Resources Research Organization

Author's Notes: The Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) conducted the 1998 Income and Employment Survey of the membership of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology on behalf of the SIOP Executive Committee and as a service to the SIOP membership. We would like to acknowledge the support of Jim Miller and Questar, Inc., who contributed to this project by donating labor and materials to print the surveys and cover letters. We would like to acknowledge the involvement of Lee Hakel and staff in the SIOP Administrative Office, and Dr. Elaine Pulakos, SIOP President. We would also like to apologize to SIOP members who had their completed survey returned to them; this occurred because of difficulties with the postal service barcodes. Address correspondence to either author at HumRRO, 66 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 400, Alexandria, VA 22314 or at gmedsker@humrro.org.

The 1998 Income and Employment Survey of the SIOP membership was conducted during the fourth quarter of 1998. Similar surveys were conducted in the second quarter of 1995 and the third quarters of 1989 and 1983. The 1998 survey was designed to be as similar as possible to past surveys to make replication of analyses easier. The 1998 survey was mailed on November 10, 1998 to all SIOP Members, Associate Members, and Fellows with addresses on record (N = 3,282). Reminder cards were mailed on December 9, 1998. As of January 15, 1999, 1,430 surveys were returned, yielding a response rate of 43.6%; however, data from 30 respondents were excluded because they were either retired or not employed in the United States. This response rate is lower than the rate of 58.3% from 1995 and 72.8% from 1988, but is similar to the rate of 48.0% for 1982. The reason for the lower response rate is likely due to the difficulties with the postal bar codes on the return envelopes, which resulted in some completed surveys being returned to respondents.

Although it is doubtful that the completed surveys which were returned to senders were returned on anything other than a random basis, some statistics can be analyzed to gauge whether the survey sample differs from the SIOP membership as a whole. For the SIOP membership, based on annual reports of primary employment given at the time of dues payment, 33% are employed in academia, 31.9% in consulting, 15.6% in the private sector, and 5.7% in the public sector. For the primary employers reported on the surveys we received, 34.3% were in academia, 31.3% in consulting or self-employment, 15.5% in the private sector, and 7.4% in the public sector. Based on these statistics, the sample appears to be representative of the total SIOP membership.

Table 1 contains an analysis of respondents by gender, type of SIOP membership, employment status, location of employment, and years since obtaining a doctorate. This table shows that the current sample was similar to samples obtained in previous years, which also supports the expectation that there was no systematic bias caused by the surveys that happened to be returned to senders. Percentages in Table 1 show little change in type of membership, employment status, location, or years since doctoral degree. The trend of an increasing percentage of women in the samples over the 1982 through 1994 surveys continued with the 1998 survey. Other data collected on the survey indicate that most SIOP members (83.1%) are also members of APA, and 81.4% consider Division 14 to be their primary APA division; 31.5% of the respondents are Members, Associates, or Fellows of APS. The principal findings from the survey are cited below.


Principal Findings from the Survey

Highest degree obtained. On highest degree, 92% of the sample had a doctorate, 7% had a master's degree, and less than 1% had a bachelor's degree. As shown in Table 2, the median income for respondents with doctorates was $80,000. Twenty-five percent earned $120,000 or more and 10% earned $180,000 or more. The median income for respondents with a master's degree was $55,000. The 1997 median income for respondents with a master's degree is lower than it was in 1994, while the median income for respondents with doctorates increased. For 1982 income, those with a master's degree had a 4% higher median income than those with a doctorate, but this changed to a 14% lower median income in 1988, 16% lower in 1994, and 31% lower in 1997. When the 1997 median incomes are adjusted using the Consumer Price Indexes (CPI) for 1988 and 1997, the adjusted 1997 median income is worth less for both those with doctorates and master's degrees than the actual 1988 income. This indicates that the 1997 median incomes provide less purchasing power than the 1988 median incomes. The negative percentage change from 1988 income to adjusted 1997 income is much smaller for those with a doctorate than those with a master's. Both comparisons of 1994 and 1997 median incomes and the 1988 and 1997 adjusted median incomes suggest that the income difference between education levels has grown during the 15-year period represented.

Age differences. Table 2 shows that median income was higher in 1997 for the 45_49 year age group than for other age groups. On previous SIOP income surveys, the 50_54 year age group had the same or a higher median income than the other age groups. The median income for the 50_54 year age group was 53% higher than the median income for those younger than 35 in 1997, 70% higher in 1994, 44% higher in 1988, and 61% higher in 1982. As a rough approximation of how an age cohort's income changes from early in their career to the income peak of their career, the median income of the 45_49 year age group in 1997 is three times as high as the 1982 median income for those younger than 35. After adjusting the 1997 median income for the 45_49 year age group to its 1982 value using the 1982 CPI, the 1997 adjusted median income is $60,125, which is 82% higher than the $33,000 1982 median income for what is roughly the same cohort.

Gender differences. As in previous years, the median primary income for men ($83,000) was significantly (p < .001) higher than the median income for women ($65,000). The mean income for all women in the sample ($77,944) was 41% lower than the mean income for all males in the sample ($131,218). The median income for women was 19% lower than that for men in 1982 and 1988 and 22% lower in 1994 and 1997, so the overall "wage gap" has not appeared to decrease. Some of this discrepancy in primary income may be explained by gender differences observed in other areas. For instance, male SIOP members were more likely to hold doctorates than female members (94% versus 87%, p < .001). However, even at the same degree level, males had higher mean and median incomes than females (see Figure 1). Male members also tended to have more professional work experience than female members (p < .001). The average length of time since starting professional employment was 19.0 years for males and 11.6 years for females, and the average number of years since receiving the doctorate was 17.1 for males and 9.9 for females.

Highest Degree Obtained

Figure 1. Percentiles and descriptive statistics representing 1997 annual income by gender and highest degree obtained.
There was no statistical difference in the percentage of males and females who were located in the New York or Boston Metro areas and other locations.

Status as a partner, principal, or owner. Of the sample, 17.6% indicated that they are the partner, principal, or owner of a consulting or private research organization. A majority of these individuals were male (84.6%). The median 1997 income of partners, principals, or owners of consulting firms ($140,000) exceeded the median income of partners, principals, or owners of private research firms ($112,000). Partners, principals, and owners of consulting firms received higher annual incomes (M = $224,518; SD = $326,949) than others

Figure 2. Percentiles and descriptive statistics representing 1997 annual income as a function of years since obtaining the doctoral degree.
employed in such firms (M = $94,562; SD = $89,224, p < .001). Similarly, partners, principals, and owners of private research firms received higher incomes (M = $134,286; SD = $83,503) than others employed in those types of firms (M = $73,300; SD = $25,549, p < .01).

Years since doctoral degree. Figure 2 displays the 1997 annual incomes for SIOP members with doctorates as a function of the number of years since they received their degree. The data show that respondents who received their doctorates more than 20 years ago have the highest median incomes ($100,000). The data also show that the variability in annual income appears to increase over time.


Note: Doctoral respondents only. Sample sizes are in parentheses.
Figure 3. 1997 median income for doctorates as a function of location.
Geographic location of employment
. Similar to previous years, respondents located in the Total New York Metro area (Manhattan and Other Metro New York areas combined) received higher incomes than respondents employed in most other locations. Analysis of data from respondents with doctorates showed that the mean income in Manhattan ($180,483) was higher than for any other location and exceeded the total sample mean ($113,817) by 58.6%. The mean income in the Boston area ($153,000) was the second highest and 34.4% higher than the total sample mean. Other areas which had means higher than the total sample mean were Los Angeles/Orange County Metro Area ($136,667), San Diego Metro Area ($144,786), and Other New York Metro Area ($133,038)

In contrast to mean incomes, the Boston median income was higher than that for Manhattan and other areas (see Figure 3). The median incomes for respondents employed in each of the Metro areas and major cities exceeded the median income for other areas not specified ($76,000). The median income for Boston ($140,000) was 84.2% higher than the median income for other areas not specified, and 32.7% higher than the median for the Manhattan metro area.

Principal Employer
Note: Doctoral respondents only. Sample sizes are in parentheses.
Figure 4. 1997 median income for doctorates as a function of principal employer.

Type of principal employment. A majority (58%) of the survey respondents with doctorates identified their principal employer as either a consulting firm (n = 270), a Ph.D.-granting academic department (n = 247), or a non-Ph.D.-granting academic department (n = 210). Figure 4 shows that those who worked for an energy production company earned the highest median income ($130,000), followed by respondents who were self-employed ($117,500). Respondents employed in government research organizations ($55,000) and non-Ph.D. academic departments ($57,000) reported the lowest median incomes. In addition, respondents with doctorates employed in academic business departments reported higher median incomes ($80,000) than respondents employed in psychology departments ($56,000).

Primary job activity. Respondents were asked to indicate the percentage of time they typically spend on certain professional activities. In this study, primary job activity was classified as spending 26% or more time on a job activity. Unfortunately, the broad item response category of "26% to 75%" precluded the ability to accurately identify those who spent a true majority of their time (51% or more) on a certain activity. Figure 5 shows that respondents with doctorates involved primarily in the implementation of human factors design and systems reported the highest median income, $134,000 (n = 4); however, this sample size is not large enough to suggest that this is a highly reliable estimate of income for this field. Given the sample sizes for the different categories, one can place greater confidence in the next highest median incomes for those who performed industrial or management consulting ($109,000, n = 173) and the management of administration of personnel functions ($105,000, n = 55). Those who indicated that they spent a majority of their time teaching had the lowest median income, ($60,000, n = 292).


Figure 5. 1997 median income for doctorates as a function of primary job activity.
Doctoral respondents only. Sample sizes are in parentheses.


Figure 6. Percentiles and descriptive statistics representing the sources of and amount earned in supplementary income.

Supplementary income. Of respondents with doctorates, 38.3% earned supplemental income from one or more sources other than their principal employer (see Figure 6). The median supplemental income for these respondents was $10,000; 10% of the respondents earned $65,000 or more in supplemental income. Consulting was the most frequent source of additional income and added the highest median ($10,000) and mean ($36,381) additional income.

Figure 7. Starting salaries for newly hired Ph.D.s by year of employment.
Starting salary for new Ph.D.s
. The median starting salary for individuals with new doctorates employed by SIOP members in 1997 was $51,000 and in 1998, it was $55,000 (see Figure 7). Ten percent of those hired with new doctorates earned $70,000 or more. The median starting salary for individuals with master's degrees in 1997 was $39,500, and in 1998 it was $38,750. Thus, the median starting salary for individuals with master's degrees decreased by 1.9% since 1997, whereas the median starting salary for those with new doctorates increased 7.8%. It is not known whether these individuals with new doctorates or master's degrees were employed in the field prior to receiving their degree.

Highest primary income (total sample). Respondents in the top 5% of the income distribution reported annual incomes of $250,000 to several million
dollars. These respondents tended to be male, aged 45 and older, had doctorates (95.7%), and began professional employment more than 19 years ago. A majority of these high-earning respondents held consulting jobs (40.8%). These characteristics are very similar to those for the top 5% of the income distribution in the 1994 survey.

Job change. A total of 134 respondents (9.6% of the total sample) changed jobs during 1997. Annual income tended to increase with job changes. For these respondents, the median annual income before the job change was $62,000, and after the job change it was $75,000.

Predicting Annual Income

Analyses of Pearson bivariate correlations showed that several variables are positively associated with 1997 annual income (p < .05), including the following: (1) gender (r = .11, male = 1, female = 0); (2) age (r = .16); (3) years of work experience (r = .21); (4) employment in industry (r = .08) or a consulting firm (r = .07); (5) employment in higher-cost urban geographic locations (r = .06); (6) status as a SIOP fellow (r = .06); (7) status as an owner, partner, or principal of a consulting or research firm (r = .21) ; (8) employee work status (r = .06, full time = 1, part time = 0); and (9) tenure at primary job (r = .09). Negative correlations were found for working in: (1) a psychology department (r = _.08); (2) university with or without a Ph.D. program (r = _.07); (3) or a government organization (r = _.06).

A simultaneous regression was conducted to determine the factors that predict annual income. When all available variables were entered into the analysis, only one variable was determined to be a significant predictor (p < .05) of 1997 income (i.e., status as an owner, principal, or partner). This model accounted for 11% of the variance (p < .05) in 1997 income (adjusted R2 = .04).

Because the "ownership" variable had a small sample size, it restricted the degrees of freedom for the regression to 445; therefore, a second regression model was tested that excluded this variable (df = 1052). With all of the remaining variables entered into the analysis, seven were significant predictors (p < .05) of 1997 annual income. The number of years of professional work experience and APA Fellow status were positively related to 1997 annual income. APS Fellow status (relative to the reference category of APS member status) and employment in a university with or without a Ph.D.-granting department, in a government organization, or in a private research firm or other job (relative to the reference category of employment in a consulting firm) were negatively related to 1997 annual income. This model accounted for 9% of the variance in incomes (p < .001; adjusted R2 = .06).

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