@Irfaan For most, Science and high salaries don’t go together well!
As a young scientist with a PhD in the UK, you will earn roughly £30.000 per year (that’s before tax) but your salary will rise as you progress with your career and get promoted . This is roughly what a beginning registered Pharmacist will earn working in a Pharmacy. You can also get some bonuses for outstanding performance but we are taking a few thousand pounds worth of bonuses, not millions like in the Finance sectors, so not necessarily worth the extra effort. Your salary can rise above £70.000 per year if you climb very high in the academic ladder, but then your work has less to do with science and research, it is more like a combination of business and politics, with lots of meetings and committees and things like that.
Scientists working for Industry will earn more, but how much more, I don’t know. Doctors and surgeons also can earn far more than scientists, but they will have to work very long hours and lots of night shifts for many years before they can start earning more, however I cannot really comment on their salaries.
So if your primary aim is to earn a lot of money, becoming a banker or a medical doctor is probably the better way. On the other hand, scientists have a great job because they are paid to do something they are genuinely interested in, their jobs are extremely varied, they have lots of opportunities to travel around the world, work in a very international environment, and are not told what to do by their line managers (usually at least). Also their job safety used to be much higher than their colleagues working in Industry, but this is changing and it is easier now for scientists working at Universities also to lose their jobs (and very difficult to get a permanent University job anyway).
I will skip the salaries bit and just say that I agree with Franco 🙂 Scientists and rich is not quite a common theme. Scientists get to work on the problem that interest them and, because it’s research, the “right” answer is not know and that sense of exploration can’t be put into currency. And also there is a lot of writing involve in doing reserach, which at first I hate, but overtime I learnt that writing help me think and it’s actually become satisfying! 🙂 However, at the start of research career, it can feel daunting and sometimes even make one feel stupid… which, this really nice article show that once you understand the process, it can get addictive! >> http://jcs.biologists.org/content/121/11/1771
Doctor and surgeon quite likely will earn more, but it’s long-hour work and there are not much choice to say no because the patients need them, and it’s also a big pressure because the work deal with life and dead much of the time (and that’s the key reason I don’t want to be a medical doctor). On another side though, it can be very rewarding when doctor see patients recover from the illness and able to live their life to the full once again.