It's great to see that engineers are gettig the recognition (or at least the pay) that they deserve. This ties in perfectly with Design News' Rising Engineering Stars program, which will kick off in a few weeks. That's where Design News gives recognition to engineers working on some great things, yet not getting the recognition tha tthey deserve.
"It's great to see that engineers are gettig the recognition (or at least the pay) that they deserve."
Richnass, we won't be able to say that they are suitably rewarded or they are getting what deserves. Those who are in continuing with the same employer will get a nominal hike (from my experience) and always new joiners re grabbing financial benefits from the job market
"2013 is turning out to be a good year for engineers because for the third year in a row salaries have increased, and this year the average salary has broken the six-figure mark."
Lauren, thanks for sharing the interesting survey details. We know that for last couple of years the percentage of salary hike is very less when compare with previous years. Last year average hike is 5-8% for regular employees. But those who are trying for a change with employer then may get 20-30% hike.
It is great to see engineers getting well rewarded for the services they offer in their area of expertise. This update will definitely relieve the young students who have set out for engineering, although It is a vast field and the major in which one specializes in counts greatly towards the future professional development. So, Its always nice to do the home work before selecting an engineering program, to explore which program might bring fastest return to the investment.
@taimoortariq: I don't think "return on investment" should be at the top of engineering students' lists when choosing a program. Engineering is a reasonably well-paying field, and even the engineers who are complaining about not making enough money have incomes that put them in the top 25% of the U.S. population. As the survey shows, job satisfaction for engineers has more to do with solving interesting problems and having the freedom to pursue creative ideas, than with being able to afford a luxury house or a big yacht. I'd advise engineering students to choose a program that will allow them to do something they enjoy every day.
Dave, There is more and more talk about ROI being a measurable for college decisions. But I don't that many students actively consider that to be a factor in their decision -- even though employability is definitely rising as a criteria.
@apresher: I think it's prudent for students to think generally about their prospective earnings before choosing a major, but it shouldn't be the most important thing; if it were, nobody would ever go into social work or early childhood education. But engineering students are going to earn relatively well in any case; regardless of which engineering discipline they choose, they will earn more than most of their non-engineering major classmates.
There was an interesting study a couple of years ago comparing the value of various college majors, but it would be a shame if students only think about the values of their degrees in terms of money. It's a cliché, but money doesn't buy happiness; more precisely, once you make enough money to be reasonably comfortable and economically secure (which is apparently about $75,000 a year in the U.S.), additional money doesn't lead to any additional happiness.
I think students should think about what it will take for them to be able to achieve economic independence, and should have realistic expectations about the earning potentials associated with different majors. Nobody should go into social work expecting to live like Paris Hilton. But they should pursue careers that they will enjoy, that they will excel in, and that will give meaning to their lives.
The good news here is that employers seem to appreciate engineers. Although virtually every engineer has a few job complaints, the profession as a whole is earning approximately double the average household income in the U.S. In 2011, the median U.S. household income was over $54,000. By 2011, it had dropped to $50,502. So while engineers aren't paid like doctors or lawyers, average salaray is still quite high and job satisfaction seems good.
While the increasing salary numbers are a nice surprise to see, there's a bit of reality to inject here.
Companies aren't appreciating their engineers more because business is good. They're starting to do so because there's not enough qualified engineers to be had for the amount of business there is. A telling sign is the number of recruiter calls on the rise (second highest on the list). The lack of engineering talent is about to get wider as more people reasonably want to retire while they still have benefits to use.
Yes, there is work to be had in some industries, but the "dot.com" era has taken its toll a little more than a decade ago and the flaky hire/layoff patterns in many engineering companies that followed the bubble(s) bursting discouraged nearly half a generation from engineering.
Who can blame them? 50 hour work weeks, no pensions, out-of-pocket medical insurance costs have more than doubled. Ask anyone 30-45 to compare their benefits with those retiring today? Many take their talents elsewhere. Appreciation starts with real incentives like growing salaries and hiring enough people so you don't have to run 4 guys 50 hours/week when you should've hired a fifth engineer?
Engineering pays well because its a discipline that requires a lot from its students either in raw talent or just the tenacity to finish. It's a good profession, but WAY undervalued.
"Engineering pays well because its a discipline that requires a lot from its students either in raw talent or just the tenacity to finish. It's a good profession, but WAY undervalued."
I wouldn't argue your point for a minute, RogueMoon. I would also add that it's not just undervalued, but widely misunderstood. Teachers in most of our high schools can tell you what doctors and lawyers and even accountants do, but most have no clue to what an engineer does.
I totally agree with that, Its mainly because their is no defined work for engineers like other occupations such as doctors or lawyers. A doctor will always have to work on humans, nothing is going to change about it. Engineers have to cope up with the development and advancment of technologies and also because of such a diverse nature of the jobs people are generally confused about our job descriptions.
Physicians have to adapt to changes in treatment and technology as well as the continuous cuts in reimbursements by insurance companies.
The advancements of technology, in imaging, for example, have made quantum leaps as well as how those images are read and interpreted. Granted, all created by an engineer but the user must also make changes to utilize the new techology.
Thats really great that these days engineers are becomming recognized as well because once there was a time when engineers were not that much paid and the moral of students who wanted to become engineers was comming down just because of the pay scale . But with these figures our young students can easily get motivated and can achieve what they want in lifes by becomming engineer .
This survey demonstrates a danger of working for a small employer in an isolated industry. 10 years ago my salary was in line with surveys similar to yours, but today it pales in comparison. I work in manufacturing, specifically sheet metal stamping, and came into engineering through the backdoor (ie. out of the shop). While not a degreed engineer, I do engineering design and function. However, I never call myself an engineer, but I am a designer.
I work for a one owner company and have been fortinate to weather the whole reccesion without losing one days pay, while other similar manufacturers in the area have been up and often down. But, in that time, we have stayed pretty isolated within a small customer base, and wages have been pretty stagnate.
I was shocked to learn that tool engineers at a company with whom we do business, were making $20,000/year over me. These are men I deal with on a daily basis so I know their attitudes and capabilities. Frankly, they are incapable of doing the work that I do and not all of them are degreed engineers.
Today I am so close to retirement that a job shift is really impractical and despite what I am saying, I do enjoy my job, the challeges it brings and am treated very well at the company.
My point is, "It is always wise to keep feelers out, and be aware of what the competion is doing." I have seldom changed jobs, but I never did it without a pay raise, except being fired one time which is a whole other story and still sticks in my craw for the reasons given.
I am not griping, but to the earlier poster who said "If salary was the only consideration no one would go into certain fields", do not be lured in by the propaganda from some fields. I have teacher friends here in St. Louis, who retired at 53 for 75% of the average of their 5 highest years pay, which is in the nieghborhood of $65,000/year for a masters (paid for by the school district) while continually complaining about how underpaid teachers are. I even gave that a whirl on a part time basis and while ther are certainly challenges, I did not find them any greater than those in industry. They made choices and so did I and we both live with them. I just say, always be aware of what others in your field are doing.
It sounds like our paths are somewhat similar. Straight out of HS mine started in a small shop making minimum plus a little bit. I should'a went to college but I didn't like the first 12 years enough to sign up for more of the same.
Lots of tweaking my skill-set along the way and after 40 years in manufacturing I now supervise 2nd shift production in an aerospace lithium battery company, I'm still the go to guy for the tough CNC work but that is not too often anymore, I have a decent working knowledge of electronics, can debug and repair our machinery (much of it is custom built w/robots)... and I even have time to keep my crew busy and usually fairly happy.
One of my main duties is designing (which I enjoy immensely... 2 words SolidWorks) and then building test equipment. I do most all the design/fabrication of our artillery simulation fixtures. They see thousands of Gs and go from 0 to 10,000 RPM in a heartbeat. They must be reusable and provide a clean electronic connection to the test equipment.
The last time someone else designed/made one of these it turned into small pieces on the first shot. Some of mine are well beyond 100 shots, with minimal maintenance.
So yeah, we do engineering work as took makers, especially as we get more experience... I still wish I had liked school enough to get a degree way back when.
We are today's exceptions to what was once the rule. When I got into the tool & die industry (1964), virtually all the designers were extoolmakers. Now it is only relics like us.
I did go to college when I got out of the service and earned a degree in English. I intended to be a technical writer and tuition re-embursement was one way to make Uncle Sam pay me back the wages I lost when I got drafted. Imagine my surprise when I found that a journeyman tool maker made way more money than a beginning tech writer. Instead I just became a curiosity in any shop where I worked. 27 years later I returned to get Teacher Certification and taught evenings for 6 years at a small, expensive boy's boarding school. It was a great experience but I had to quit when things at my day job changed. I hope to return as a teacher when I retire from my day job.
Ralphy Boy, I would encourage you and anyone else who has been out of school for a long time to enroll in a couple classes at any local school. Not online classes, but real face-face classroom experience. You may find it a real eyeopener as to how much you know and can apply from real life experiences and how much just plain rubbish is being spoonfed to student's heads full of mush, by teachers that have never moved outside a class room. Even in tech schools.
Thanks for the thought about taking some college classes. I've actually done that; face to face and online, plus some electronics tech seminars off campus. I'm a try all the above guy.
I got half way through a CIM degree, but the college has since removed most of the shop equipment and converted the space into a book store... Way more money in that I guess.
You're right in that it was an eye-opener. It sure is funny when the old guy in the room is the one messing up the curve, which I've since heard is not all that unusual. I even spiked the ball a couple times in English class... lol
I've told many people who have worked for me the same thing; to take some classes and that they may be pleasantly surprised.
Rogue Moon, I agree with your comments completely. At the "tinder" age of 71, it's amazing how many "head-hunter" calls I get every month. I own my consulting company and when I tell them that they still are interested. If not full-time employment then contract jobs. The absence of qualified engineering talent has already caught up with us. Many jobs go hunting simply because no one is there to work them. Engineering management loads up employees simple due to lack of human resources. Quite often, compensation for those added hours is not there. I do think one reason for generous bonus plans is due to management recognizing "blue-collar" engineers DO work considerable hours and rewards are necessary to keep good employees. I really don't see this trend abating in the near future.
With respect, most responses and comments are missing the true value of such reports and this one is lacking.
What is the true net result of the salaries surveyed relative to the net value or buying power of the dollar.
Nothing relative to the continued devaluation of our fiat currency has been taken into consideration.
Further, nothing is included to show how QE (quantitative easing) has impacted salaries. I would expect to see salaries coming up, but the truth/fact of the matter its a function of the devaluation of our currency which is no longer currency but fiat money.
I don't know where you folks are, because in the region I'm in they wouldn't be keeping you w/o a degree. And these national average salaries are over the top -- again, here even my Masters in Engineering our businesses are not paying such wages. So, I suggest you who are still finding yourselves on the winning side of this economy should realize you may be one manager/actuary decision away from the other side, and so count your blessings each and every morning that you're allowed to participate.
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