10 Takeaways from the Medical Science Liaison Society Salary Survey

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Medical Science Liaison – Career Care and Feeding blog detailed an exciting and growing  career path for PharmDs, MDs and PhDs.  Now MSL Executive Recruiter, Nihar Parikh, drills down into the Medical Science Liaison Society Salary Survey with the Top Ten Takeaways. These trends from the Salary Survey are reflective of the industry as a whole and give a much better feel for this dynamic position.


1. 77% of the MSLs and their management responded from various sized Pharmaceutical companies, 14% from Biotech and the remaining 9% from Medical Device, CRO, Diagnostic or Contract MSL organizations.


2. Therapeutic expertise is quite diversified across 41 specialties but the top staffed areas of expertise are: Nephrology, Oncology, Cardiovascular, Neurology, Immunology, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Rare/Orphan Diseases, Respiratory, Pain, Dermatology, Multiple Sclerosis, Medical Device /Diagnostics.


3. The mean salary of MSLs in the US is $140,427 and the median is $137,500 (remember your middle school math definitions.) Of the three doctorate degrees that make up 90% of the MSL positions, PharmDs earn more than MDs who earn more than PhDs but all are within 4% of the mean.


4. MSLs with less than 1 year experience earn a Median of $132,500, those with 5-6 years earn $152,500 and those with 11-15 years earn $162,500.

Medical Device

5. There is no real difference in the median salary of an MSL if they are employed by any size Pharma or Biotech ($137,500), but Medical Device MSLs make a median salary of $10,000 more.


6. By therapeutic areas, MSLs that earn the most by median are; Hematology, Oncology, Addiction, Infectious Disease, Cardiovascular, Diabetes/Endo, Respiratory, Transplantation and Managed Care. The lowest are; reproductive Health, Genetic Disease, Hepatology and Mental Health.


7. Over 80% of all MSL salary increases were from 1% to 4% in the last year.


8. About 25% of MSLs did not get a bonus last year, 11% received less than $10,000, and 22% received a bonus of $10,000 to $20,000. Almost 35% got a bonus in the range of $20,000 to $40,000, with the remaining 6% getting a bonus from $40,000 to $70,000. Also, about 40% of MSLs received stock or stock options last year.


9. As far as career advancement, a Senior MSL position has a median salary of $172,500 which represents an average of about ten years of service and 60% got stock or options.


10. The median salary of a Manager/Director of MSLs was $192,500.

Interested in discussing this further?  Contact Smith Hanley Associates‘ Medical Science Liaison Executive Recruiter, Nihar Parikh, at nparikh@smithhanley.com.

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