The physicist job market should experience strong growth through at least 2018, although limited funding for basic research positions may create competition in this arena. Physicist salaries can be lucrative, with many of these scientists earning more than £65,000 per year.
The average salary for physicists as of May 2009 was £34.7 per hour, or £72,312 per year. The salary scale had a very wide range, with the bottom 10 per cent of physicists earning £36,536 and less per year and the top 10 per cent having salaries at or above £107,737 per year. The middle 50 per cent salary range for physicists was £51,831 to £90,064 annually.
Common Employment Settings
Over 50 per cent of physicists work for scientific research and development services firms. Physicists in these employment settings had an average salary of about £72,800 to £75,400 in 2009. Physicists working for universities and professional schools had much lower salaries, at an average of £53,813 per year.
The highest-paying opportunities for physicists generally are in the health care industry. Physicists working in doctors' offices and in hospitals were making about £96,200 to £96,850 per year on average in 2009. Another lucrative employment setting is with oil and gas extraction firms, with an average annual pay rate of £84,773 per year, but only a very small number of physicists work for this industry.
Salaries also vary by location.