SPIE Career Center
Salary Report

2019 Optics and Photonics Global Salary Report

Methodology and Endnotes

In December of 2018 and January of 2019 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 6,106 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 (2,193), People’s Republic of China (454), India (365), Germany (260), Russia (252), Japan (235), South Korea (182), United Kingdom (150), Italy (148), Canada (141), Taiwan (122), Mexico (121), France (103), Brazil (87), Spain (75), Switzerland (52), Netherlands (49), Israel (45), Australia and Poland (44), Pakistan (41), Sweden (38), South Africa (36), Belgium (35), Colombia and Malaysia (33), Czechia and Singapore (31), Turkey (30), Portugal (28), Ukraine (26), Chile (25), Algeria and Romania (21), Egypt and Nigeria (20), Greece, Hong Kong SAR, China, and New Zealand (19), Austria (18), Argentina (17), Finland and Saudi Arabia (15), Bulgaria, Denmark, Philippines, and Thailand (14), Ireland and Vietnam (13), Indonesia and Iraq (12), Lithuania and Tunisia (11), Bangladesh and Morocco (9), Belarus, Ecuador, Hungary, Kenya, and Slovak Republic (8), Estonia and Slovenia (6), Kazakhstan, Norway, and Peru (5), Armenia, Ethiopia, Jordan, and Latvia (4), Ghana, Kuwait, Lebanon, Serbia, Tajikistan, and United Arab Emirates (3), Angola, Cyprus, Iran, Kyrgyz Republic, Luxembourg, Oman, Qatar, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, and Venezuela (2), Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Croatia, Georgia, Liberia, Libya, Macao SAR, China, Malawi, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Yemen, and Zimbabwe (1).
  2. U.S. dollars are used throughout. Local currencies were converted using January 2019 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, 2017 USD exchange rates and constant prices, from https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=AV_AN_WAGE. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  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 Czechia and Norway, at $18,160 and $75,990 per capita Gross National Income (GNI), respectively, for 2017.

    Higher- and lower-income subcategories are based on the World Bank’s threshold for high-income countries, $12,056 per capita GNI in 2017. 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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