Blog > Careers

Salary expectations in Marine Sciences

Salary expectations in Marine Sciences

How much will I earn as a Marine Scientist / Oceanographer?

As an Oceanographer, you will study the science of the seas and oceans. However, the sector is very broad, so most oceanographers specialise in one of the following specialist areas: physical oceanography, chemical oceanography, marine biology and geological oceanography. Apart from oceanography, there are many other disciplines related to the marine and maritime industry such as marine biology, blue economy or marine policy.

Therefore, the salary expectations may differ from one discipline to the other. It mainly depends on factors such as the specific job, geographical location, employment sector, and the scientist’s education and experience.

The latest Blue Economy report published by the European Commission in 2022 shows that gross remuneration per employee for the EU Blue Economy established sectors (coastal tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, port activities, shipbuilding, maritime transport…) has increased steadily since 2009, peaking in 2015 (at 24,925€ per employee) and falling slightly afterwards.

However, it should be noted that not all the employees working for the blue economy industry have a marine/oceanography background.

According to Prospects, an UK’s graduate careers website, salaries for entry-level positions of Marine Scientists are in the United Kingdom of £19,500 to £24,000. The average salary of a more experienced marine scientist is approximately £35,000. With very senior marine scientists having the potential to earn up to around £60,000. Lecturers typically earn around £36,382 to £44,706, with the possibility of rising to £60,022 at senior lecturer level.

The Government of Wales estimates higher salary expectations for oceanographers starting from £29,500 and £27,500 for marine biologists.

Some examples of current vacancies that you can find at Blue-jobs: 

  • Project Manager for Marine Natural Capital Ecosystem Assessment (JNCC, United Kingdom): £35,950
  • Seagrass Project Officer (Cornwall Wildlife Trust, United Kingdom): £24,000
  • Marine Assistant (British Antarctic Survey, Antarctica): £25,179
  • Fishery Officer Grade Level: P-3 (FAO, Italy): 43,514€
  • Technician seaweed cultivation (CIIMAR, Portugal): 12,089€
  • Specialist Advisor Fisheries (CEFAS, United Kingdom): £29,267- £32,766

In general, international organisation offer higher salaries and employee’s benefits than other type of entities such as consultancies and NGOs.

However, it is difficult to analyse this topic in detail as only 12.6% of global companies published the pay range for a role within their job ads last year, according to a 2021 report from Seattle-based compensation data company Payscale. The reasons why salary isn´t always listed on a job posting are several. On one hand, withholding salary information gives employers more negotiating power and they may end paying less than expected depending on the employee’s needs. On the other hand, employers want to avoid potential conflicts between current and new employees and as well as with other companies within the industry.

From our experience, the rate of organisations offering the remuneration information is ever lower in the marine science sectors, as only the 7% of the job postings at blue-economy contains such information.