SPIE Career Center
Salary Report

2017 Optics and Photonics Global Salary Report

Methodology and Endnotes

In December of 2016 and January of 2017, SPIE sent email survey invitations to a large subset of its global customer database and through social media. Response was voluntary and open. An iPad raffle and early access to this report were offered as incentives to encourage participation. Surveys were completed online using SurveyGizmo’s enterprise survey tool. Results were filtered for duplicates and invalid data to yield 9993 valid responses. Microsoft Excel and SPSS were utilized to create summary statistics and related analyses.

Quotations were selected from answers to an open-text question near the end of the survey that asked respondents to share thoughts about their careers.


  1. This list includes valid responses from full-time, part-time, unemployed, retired, and student respondents. United States (3076), People’s Republic of China (825), India (525), Germany (523), United Kingdom (359), Japan (337), Italy (310), South Korea (294), Russia (273), Canada (265), France (260), Spain (175), Taiwan (169), Netherlands (158), Mexico (157), Brazil (123), Switzerland (106), Poland (104), Israel (99), Australia and Turkey (87), Belgium (79), Czechia (73), Singapore and Sweden (68), Ukraine (57), Portugal (56), Romania (55), Malaysia (52), Lithuania (45), Greece and South Africa (43), Pakistan (42), Colombia and Ireland (41), Thailand (40), Argentina (39), Denmark (38), Austria (37), Algeria (36), Finland (33), Chile and Egypt (31), Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia (25), Indonesia (24), Philippines (22), New Zealand and Nigeria (21), Bulgaria (20), Hungary and Tunisia (19), Iran (15), Belarus, Morocco, Norway, and Slovenia (14), Ecuador and Vietnam (13), Slovak Republic (12), Armenia, Latvia, and United Arab Emirates (11), Jordan (9), Iraq and Luxembourg (8), Bangladesh, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Venezuela (7), Serbia and Sri Lanka (6), Kenya and Kuwait (5), Cameroon, Croatia, Ghana, and Qatar (4), Albania, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nepal, Sudan, and Tanzania (3), Azerbaijan, Libya, Malta, Peru, Republic of the Congo, and Uganda (2), The Bahamas, Brunei, El Salvador, Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Swaziland, Syria, Uzbekistan, and Yemen (1).
  2. U.S. dollars are used throughout. Local currencies were converted using January 2017 market exchange rates. Salary figures include total yearly compensation, both base pay and bonuses. Full-time employees are those who indicated working 35 or more hours per week. Unless otherwise noted, all data on pay is drawn from full-time employees.
  3. Data for broader populations within countries are average annual wages per full-time and full-year equivalent employees in the total economy, 2015 USD exchange rates and constant prices, from https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=AV_AN_WAGE. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  4. Yearly wage growth was computed by comparing same-currency results for each year. Previous versions of this report listed 2012 as the baseline year. Starting with this year’s report, date labeling for this chart is shifted one year earlier to reflect the year workers were paid, rather than the publication year of the report.
  5. Several tables in this report contain cells with lower sample sizes than have been included in previous reports. These small sample sizes allow for greatly increased specificity in reporting. The assumption is that readers will parse the data in light of the small samples, while appreciating the enhanced level of detail.
  6. Oceania is composed of Australia and New Zealand. North America is composed of the United States and Canada. Mexico is included in the Latin America and Caribbean category.
  7. Europe and Asia are composed of countries spanning a wide range of income levels, even when subdivided into higher- and lower-income groups. For example, the European higher-income category includes Czechia and Norway, at $18,140 and $93,740 per capita Gross National Income (GNI), respectively, for 2015.

    Higher- and lower-income subcategories are based on the World Bank’s threshold for high-income countries, $12,476 per capita GNI in 2015. This threshold is used throughout this report when referring to “higher-income” and “lowerincome” countries.

    For data on per capita GNI, see http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD/countries. For World Bank country income categories, see http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-classifications.

  8. The category “for-profit” is composed of company/corporation, self-employed/consultant, and open text “other” entries that indicate for-profit affiliation. “Academic” is composed of university/college, private lab or research institute, not-for-profit, intergovernmental, other research institute, and open text “other” entries that indicate academic organizations. “Government/military” is composed of government lab or research institute, civilian government, and military/defense.

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