Mercer Life Sciences Compensation Survey (MLS)

The key to design competitive pay packages worldwide

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We understand the importance of reliable data in the unprecedented times of COVID-19 pandemic. Our teams are closely monitoring developments in the countries in which survey dates may be revised. Please refer to the survey schedule for up-to-date survey timelines. Learn how Mercer is ensuring data relevance in this fluid year!

With the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, Mercer knows relevant data is critical to organizations. We are monitoring global developments and taking action now to ensure we offer reliable compensation data for our clients in turbulent times.

The Mercer Life Sciences Compensation Surveys (MLS) provide you with comprehensive and reliable insight on trends in compensation and benefits practices within the Life Sciences sector, using a globally harmonized survey methodology and comprehensive job catalog, to facilitate your rewards planning.

This easy-to-use source for comparing compensation and benefits data consistently across geographies provides accurate, high-quality data covering the full rewards package. This gives you a complete picture – from base pay to total remuneration and benefits – at your fingertips.

Online data submission made simple!

Submit your data faster with seamless import, online job matching, and real-time tracking with Mercer Data Connector1. This award-winning application saves time and effort with the entire survey participation online. Learn more.

1 available in select countries.

Register your interest in participation! View brochure Sample report
Mercer Life Sciences infographic
  • Product Overview
  • Product Details
  • Survey Participation
  • 2020 Special Edition Report
  • Schedule & Pricing
  • Life Sciences Supplement
  • Asia Pacific MLS
  • Canadian MLS
  • salary movement snapshot
  • Contact Information

Product Overview

Mercer Life Sciences Compensation Survey (MLS) is made up of five components providing a complete picture of total remuneration data.


Base salary
Monthly base salary times the number of months guaranteed


Total guaranteed cash compensation
Base salary plus the annualized value of guaranteed allowances


Total cash compensation
Total guaranteed cash compensation plus the annualized value of short-term incentive, sales incentive, profit sharing or other incentive awards


Total direct compensation
Total cash compensation plus the annualized value of any long-term incentive awards, valued using Black-Scholes methodology for appreciation-based awards


Total remuneration
Total direct compensation plus the annualized value of benefits

An extensive catalogue of Life Sciences specializations are surveyed, including:

  • Animal care
  • Biopharmaceutical R&D
  • Clinical education
  • Clinical research
  • Clinical trial
  • Discovery biology
  • Discovery chemistry
  • Engineering
  • Field sales & account management
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Market access strategy
  • Medical affairs
  • Medical information
  • Medical representation
  • Medical scientific liaison
  • Medical writing
  • Nutritional product education
  • Patient education
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacovigilance
  • Product marketing & management
  • Regulatory affairs
  • Sales
  • Sales effectiveness control/measurement
  • Science R&D analytics
  • Science research & quality laboratory services
  • Translational medicine

Data for a full range of general infrastructure/ support functions are collected and published alongside that of the industry-specific functions.

Using Mercer MLS, get accurate, high-quality data covering the full rewards package — everything from base salary, total cash, and total remuneration — for a complete picture … at your fingertips.

In today’s talent-demand economy, ensuring your compensation plans are aligned to the market – locally, regionally, and globally – is critical to securing the talent you need to be successful. Mercer provides most comprehensive compensation and benefits databases in the world to assist you with compensation planning and policies development.

The Mercer Life Sciences Compensation Survey provides comprehensive market data on compensation and benefits around the globe. Results are easily accessible through our online platform, Mercer WIN®, to help you optimize your compensation plans. With Mercer MLS, you will benefit from:

  • Global coverage: MLS covers over 8000 cross-industry jobs from executives to para-professional levels in more than 80 countries, covering the full remuneration package.
  • Consistency: MLS provides market data on compensation and benefits around the globe with the same methodology applied in all countries. MLS is underpinned with Mercer Job Library position coding and International Position Evaluation (IPE) systems for global consistency.
  • Reliability: Consistent participation each year which creates a solid representation of the market trends.
  • Versatility: Through Mercer WIN you can analyze the survey results according to your needs and conduct “what if” analysis to instantly measure your competitiveness against the market.

Product Details

Online access

The survey results are delivered through Mercer WIN® which allows you to create custom views, analyze data across markets simultaneously, create unlimited peer groups, refine the market, compare your data vs. the market*, combine jobs, export to Excel, and much more!

More relevant data

With new aggregated roll-ups, relationships between jobs becomes clearer – with data that best reflects your jobs and labour markets. From deeply specialized industry roles to combinations of related jobs within the broader talent pool, analyze competitive compensation industry levels, across related industries, or across an entire labour market.

Survey overview

An overview of the market pay trends relative to the prior year as well as a summary of the economic, political and labor trends in the country.

Benefits & prevalence summary

A summary of organizations’ remuneration policies, which includes salary budget forecasts, compensation mix by employee groups, short-term and long-term incentive practices, as well as benefits.

Actual market data

Market analysis by job including all remuneration values, helping you determine which jobs are more competitive within the market.

Market regression

Market analysis by Position Class (Mercer’s International Position Evaluation (IPE) methodology for job evaluation) for each of the major components of total remuneration.

Custom analysis

Custom statistics tailored to your needs, based on peer groups, industry, revenue size, total employees, and more, using Mercer WIN®.

*only available for participants

Survey Participation

Interested in becoming a participant to enjoy the discount? Contact us and our consultants will assist you in becoming part of the largest remuneration database out there.

  • Submit data according to the survey schedule.
  • Provide information for all compensation items collected (i.e. Base Salary, Guaranteed Payments, Short-Term Incentives, Long-Term Incentives and Benefits).
  • Report all policies applicable to the incumbents included in the survey.
  • Report a representative sample of the jobs in the organization, which means providing: (i) Jobs in all families (ii) Jobs in all levels of the organization (from Executive to Para-professional levels).
  • Respond to all the questions included in the survey data collection tool.
  • Provide a good job match for the jobs submitted to the survey (when there is at least an 80% match between the organization’s job vs. the Mercer Job Library benchmark job description).
  • Report remuneration information by incumbent (not averages, midpoints, highs/lows, etc.).

2020 Special Edition Report

Mercer is pleased to present the 2020 Special Edition, an essential guide to effective decision-making in this time of unprecedented change.

Exclusively for 2020, complemented by the one-of-a-kind country-specific Special Edition Report, the MLS results give you comprehensive information on compensation and benefits around the globe and how companies have been responding to COVID-19. With the Special Edition Reports, we see how the world of compensation and benefits has changed.

The annual MLS plus the Special Edition, included in the price, provide organizations with the best “before and after” picture of the market and serve as a critical resource for 2021 planning in what is proving to be a fluid year for compensation and benefits management.

With the Special Edition Reports we know how companies have been responding to COVID-19 in areas such as:

  • Variable pay
  • Salary movements
  • Pay reductions
  • Allowances*
  • Long-term incentives
  • Workforce turnover
  • Workforce reductions
  • Hiring intentions
  • Hot jobs
  • Benefits
  • Remote working arrangements
  • Flexible working arrangements
Sample Report Flyer

*MEA and APAC only

Schedule & Pricing

Pricing varies by country and by an organization’s participation status (did or did not submit data for the survey). View available countries and pricing.

Life Sciences Supplement

Life Sciences Industry Supplements provide quantitative information on positions specific for the Life Sciences industry. As opposed to standard Total Remuneration Survey (TRS) suites which aggregate data for general jobs that can be found across multiple markets, Life Sciences Supplements present additional information with a special focus on roles that can be identified only in the industry. Common roles such as Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis or General Human Resources are available in a standard cross-industry TRS. Industry Supplements do not cover policy information. Compensation data is published in MercerWIN®; with full system functionality.

Life Sciences Industry Supplements are available in 20 countries across Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia to supplement markets where Mercer Life Sciences Compensation Surveys (MLS) are currently not available. The schedule (data submission, effective dates and delivery of results) for the Supplements is the same as for TRS, so there is no need for additional steps! Find out more here.

We encourage you to contact your Mercer representative to discuss your needs.

Asia Pacific MLS

PURPOSE – Connecting Life Sciences

Mercer’s Life Sciences Consulting offering in Asia Pacific takes a unique and holistic approach to providing your industry specific needs. Since 2005, Mercer is proud to be the selected vendor of the Pharmaceutical Human Resources Association (PHRA).

At the heart of Mercer’s Life Sciences Consulting offering stands the PURPOSE Survey (legacy APHSS). With the aim of connecting Rewards Leaders across the region, PURPOSE holds two signature Life Sciences Forum meetings annually. Over the years, the forums have continued to evolve to include leading Medical Device companies. These forums provide a comprehensive overview of the Pharma, Biotech, and Medical Devices industries, identifying common trends across the industries, while also deep diving into talent trends specific to Asia Pacific. This year’s Forums in particular focus trends in Therapeutic Areas such as Oncology, Rare Diseases or In-vivo versus in-vitro diagnostics on the devices side.

What does PURPOSE entitle you to?

  • Two face-to-face regional meetings per year
  • Two spot polls – key topics proposed by members and agreed to by the Steering Committee
  • Gain exclusive access to the membership lounge for up to two persons per company
  • Special discounts

Join the LinkedIn Mercer Life Sciences Industry – Asia group - an online Community exclusively for our clients

Local Country Forums

Canadian MLS

We are proud to partner with MEDEC, the national association created by and for the Canadian medical technology industry, to bring you high quality, industry-specific data. For more information about MEDEC contact or visit

MEDEC logo

The Canadian edition of the MLS survey position matrix can be found here. This survey does not collect policies and practices information nor does it contain benefits information. 

salary movement snapshot

Complimentary copy of the report upon participation

Pay is extremely important to employees and retaining critical talent is often a top priority. The Salary Movement Snapshot survey (SMS) is conducted four times per year and provides relevant, consistent, and up-to date salary increase data for 90+ markets. With SMS you will also know which markets are expecting high attrition this year, as well as how salary increases vary by performance level, and finally what percentage of employees are expected to receive a promotion.

Don't miss out on your regular Salary Movement Snapshot (SMS) of up-to-date salary increase data and participate now. As a SMS participant you receive a complimentary report for each market for which you provide data.

If you have questions or require assistance, please contact your Mercer representative.

Participate now

Contact Information

+27 11 048 14 15

+65 6398 2324

Australia, New Zealand
+612 8864 6985

+1 800 333 3070

+48 22 434 5383

Middle East
+48 22 434 53 83

Latin America
+54 11 4000 0954

United States
+1 800 333 3070

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