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Engineering Salaries Increase Slightly

Income of the engineers surveyed is $96,168, up 0.6 percent over last year
The 2013 Engineering Income and Salary Survey Standard Report reveals that the average base income of the engineers surveyed is $96,168, up 0.6 percent over last year. Associated Press

ASCE and ASME survey data shows that the average total income for engineers increased less than 1 percent last year.

July 16, 2013—The results of an online questionnaire survey of 10,627 engineers conducted jointly by ASCE and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) between April 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013, finds that engineering base salaries and annual incomes increased by less than 1 percent above the prior survey.

The 2013 Engineering Income and Salary Survey Standard Report, which will be published later this month, reveals that the average base income of the engineers surveyed is $96,168, up 0.6 percent from $95,603 last year. The median base salary is $90,000, unchanged for the past two years.

Total annual income, which includes bonuses, increased 0.8 percent from $103,497 in 2012 to $104,303. Income increases were concentrated in the top 25 percent of those surveyed. Engineering salaries and total income in the 90th percentiles increased 2.1 percent and 1.3 percent respectively, while salaries for engineers in the 10th and 25th percentiles decreased slightly.

The survey includes a matched sample of 951 respondents who have participated since 2011. Those respondents reported an average total annual income of $109,731 in 2013, down slightly from the $109,933 reported in 2012, but up significantly from the $101,057 in 2011.

A larger matched sample of 2,956 respondents who participated in the 2012 and 2013 surveys reveals sharp differences between 11 subregions in the United States. Respondents in the South Central and Pacific Southwest regions indicate total annual income increases of 10.5 and 7.8 percent, respectively. The survey indicates a total income decline of 8.4 percent in the Central Plains. The Lower Southeast and Pacific Northwest also experienced declines of approximately 2 percent.

The industry highly values experience. Income increases steadily with seniority—more than doubling for those with several decades of work history. The average salary of engineers with less than one year of experience is $55,000, down from $56,785 the year before. Engineers with 10 to 14 years of experience average $94,035, while those with more than 25 years average $130,000.

The industry also rewards achievements in higher education. The vast majority of respondents hold either a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in engineering or a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in engineering. The median salary of those with a B.S. in engineering was $85,276, with a range of $54,600 for the 10th percentile to $152,600 for the 90th percentile.

The median for those with an M.S. was $95,000, with a range of $60,119 for the 10th percentile to $160,000 for the 90th percentile. Engineers who add a Master of Business Administration degree to an M.S. reported a median income of $124,808.

The vast majority of respondents work in civil, mechanical, or structural engineering, although 47 different branches of the profession are represented, including 10 disciplines of offshore engineers. Civil engineers report a median income of $79,855; mechanical engineers, $100,000; and structural engineers, $80,267.

The 20 ocean engineers participating reported the highest median income at $134,763. The median income of coastal engineers was $89,500; forensic engineers, $108,000; geotechnical engineers, $78,000; sanitary engineers, $100,425; and transportation engineers, $85,040.

Respondents are asked to self-select one of eight levels of professional responsibility, with detailed guidelines to help create uniform reporting. Median salaries increase with increased responsibility, nearly tripling from the $55,475 for an Engineer Level I to $157,000 for Engineer Level VIII. Respondents represented the full range of professional responsibility levels, the majority in levels four through six.

Engineers with a P.E. license report a median income of $104,132, up more than 4 percent from last year. Engineers with no professional registration or certification reported income of $98,000. For engineers who reported an additional license or certification, such as environmental or land surveyor, median income was about $5,000 more than a P.E.

More information about the ongoing survey and how to participate in it is available online. Participants are given access to a complimentary online version of the report that contains data for their professional level and geographic region. Interactive custom reports are also available for purchase.



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