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M.I. Factor: Holiday Bonus Edition

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Who doesn’t love the feeling of putting on an old coat or finding a pair of pants that you had long forgotten about, reaching into the pocket and finding a crisp $20 bill? Even though it was always your money, it feels like a bonus – a cosmic reward to go out and splurge on a cup of premium coffee, buy your favorite book, or just make paying at the pump just a little bit easier.

Bonuses from employers are often much larger, but less often talked about.  Did you know that in 2013, the median year-end bonus for an ACS chemist was $8,800? That buys a lot of cups of coffee… or one nice vacation! 

This extra money can go a long way to help with the bills, but how much can you really expect?  ACS chemists in industry are much more likely to receive a bonus, and about 95% of those who are eligible to receive a bonus get one.  Industry bonuses tend to be higher, as well: in 2014, industry-employed chemists had a median bonus of $10,000 compared to $1,500 in government or $2,000 in academia.

Did you know your bonus potential is linked to your education, too?  Higher education means higher rewards.  ACS members with Ph.D.s received bonuses over twice the size of those with only a bachelor’s degree ($11,000 and $5,000, respectively). 

If you want to know more about salaries and bonuses, visit the Market Intelligence page at for Salary and Employment Trends.  There you can find four decades of reports on bonuses, salaries, and employment!  For more information on bonuses, check out the most recent ACS Salaries 2014 report.