Today’s starting salaries, however, have not yet returned to the far more robust levels of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The high point of salaries for new doctorates caine in 1970 for academia and industry ($30,800 and $47,600 as expressed in 1987 dollars) and in 1965 for government ($43,000). In discussing that era, mathematician Edward Connors, who tracks salaries for the AMS, cites a generally booming economy and an expansionist mood that swept universities, leading to new Ph.D. programs, bigger departments, and corresponding rise in hiring of young mathematicians. The boom in the university math community, says Connors, had a positive impact on math salaries overall due to competition for the best and brightest. Notes Connors: “The majority of young mathematicians come into academia.”

However, in the mid-1970s, “we were really squeezed,” he says. Expansion was over, and he remembers outright salary freezes at the University of Massachusetts where...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?