Emploment Survey for European Chemists (ESEC2): a brief overview

Employment conditions and career opportunities are in the focus of the recent Employment Survey for European Chemists. The questionnaire on employment conditions for European chemists in Europe was developed and the survey executed by the European Chemistry Thematic Network Association and the European Chemical Society. EuChemS and the American Chemical Society (ACS) agreed to harmonise their respective surveys as the first step towards a future cooperation in this field.

The report is freely accessible online here.

Education, career planning, requested qualification, important employer sectors, job satisfaction, job success, and salaries have been analysed for Europe as a whole as well as for all countries with a statistically significant number of responses.

63% of all answers came from chemists who graduated within the last 15 years, hence the report illustrates the current employment conditions for European chemists very well. The participation of industry employees accounted for 38% of the responses. The total share of women in the survey was 41 %.

83% of all ESEC2 respondents live in their native country. The percentage of responses from chemists, who do not work or study in their native country, varies between 24% (Germany) and 3% (Czech Republic).

Of those who graduated before 2002, 26% received their highest graduation in organic chemistry. This value dropped to 17% for the graduates of the last 15 years. Nevertheless, organic chemistry is still the sub-discipline with the highest number of graduates. Ranked second is analytical chemistry with 12% for both age groups of graduates. Graduates in analytical chemistry have superior chances on the job market as 16% of all jobs belong to analytical chemistry, compared to 10% for organic chemistry.

Chemists are very satisfied with their current job. More than 80% strongly agree or agree that their current job is related to their field. Even 85% define their job as challenging (strongly agree or agree). Still 55% find their job fits to their expectations (strongly agree or agree). 4% of all respondents were not employed or were seeking employment. Compared to a 7.6% EU28 unemployment rate in July 2017, graduation in chemistry provides better chances for getting satisfying and well-paid jobs.

The next survey is expected to take place in 2020 as a joint project with the ACS.

The findings and their meaning will be discussed at the upcoming EuChemS event in the European Parliament on 7 March 2018, chaired by Member of the European Parliament Van Nistelrooij.


Reiner Salzer
ECTN and Dept. Chemistry and Food Chemistry, TU Dresden