SPIE Career Center
Salary Report

2018 Optics and Photonics Global Salary Report

Methodology and Endnotes

In December of 2017 and January of 2018, SPIE sent email survey invitations to a large subset of its global customer database. 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 7,035 valid responses. Microsoft Excel and SPSS were utilized for summary statistics and related analyses.


  1. This list includes valid responses from full-time, part-time, student, and retiree respondents. United States (2179), Peoples Republic of China (668), Germany (441), India (296), Japan (290), United Kingdom (257), France (226), Russia (220), Italy (207), Canada (195), Spain (139), Taiwan (124), South Korea (119), Switzerland (88), Israel (87), Netherlands (84), Poland (77), Mexico (74), Australia (73), Brazil and Turkey (72), Czechia (60), Singapore (53), Belgium and Lithuania (48), Sweden (47), Ukraine (34), Denmark (33), Portugal (32), Austria (30), Finland and Ireland (29), Colombia and Romania (28), Pakistan (26), Egypt and Greece (24), Chile and South Africa (22), Malaysia (21), Argentina (18), Thailand (17), Hungary (15), New Zealand and Philippines (14), Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, and Latvia (13), Algeria and Bulgaria (11), Slovenia and Tunisia (10), Armenia and Norway (9), Belarus, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam (8), Slovakia (6), Bangladesh, Cameroon, Jordan, Moldova, and Serbia (5), Bolivia and Lebanon (4), Croatia, Ecuador, Estonia, Iraq, Luxembourg, Morocco, and Senegal (3), Brunei, Chad, Cyprus, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Tanzania, and Venezuela (2), Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Macau SAR, Malta, Mongolia, Oman, State of Palestine, Peru, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe (1).
  2. U.S. dollars are used throughout. Local currencies were converted using January 2018 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, 2016 USD exchange rates and constant prices, from https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=AV_AN_WAGE. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  4. Yearly growth was computed by comparing same-currency results for each year.
  5. Oceania is comprised of Australia and New Zealand. North America is comprised of the United States and Canada. Mexico is included in the Latin America and Caribbean category.
  6. 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 the Czechia and Norway, at $17,540 and $82,440 per capita Gross National Income (GNI), respectively for 2016.

    Higher- and lower-income subcategories are based on the World Bank’s threshold for high-income countries, $12,236 per capita GNI in 2016. 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

  7. 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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