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Engineering Salaries Rise

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The average base income of the engineers surveyed jointly by ASCE and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is $95,603, up from $92,726 last year. Associated Press 

ASCE and ASME release survey data that shows engineering salaries increased again last year, managing to stay ahead of inflation. 

July 17, 2012—The results of an online questionnaire survey of 12,720 engineers conducted jointly by ASCE and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) between April 1, 2011, and March 31, 2012, finds that engineering base salaries and annual incomes increased within the past year. The average respondent earns an annual income of $103,497, an increase of 3.8 percent above the 2011 results and exceeding the pace of inflation for that period.

The Engineering Income and Salary Survey Standard Report, which was published in June, reveals that the average base income of the engineers surveyed is $95,603, up from $92,726 last year. The median base salary is $90,000. The 90th percentile is $144,000 and the 10th percentile is $56,000. Engineers in the 10th percentile saw their base salary increase the least—1.8 percent.

The survey includes a matched sample of 1,832 respondents who have participated since 2010. Those respondents reported an average annual income of $108,558 in 2012 compared to $100,603 in 2010. That represents a 7.9 percent increase over the two-year time period.

A matched sample of 3,538 respondents shows sharp differences between 11 subregions in the United States. Respondents in the South Central and Upper Mountain regions reported income increases of 8.0 and 8.8 percent, respectively. Participants working in the Middle Atlantic, Central Plains, and Pacific Southwest also reported robust income growth. Respondents in the Lower Southeast, however, reported just a 0.9 percent increase.

Overall, the survey results illustrate that the industry highly values experience. The average salary of engineers with less than one year of experience is $56,785. That number increases steadily with seniority, more than doubling for those with several decades of work history. Engineers with 10 to 14 years of experience average $95,783, while those with more than 25 years average $136,942.

The industry also rewards achievements in higher education. The vast majority of respondents had either a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in engineering or a Master of Science (MS) degree in engineering. The median salary of those with a B.S in engineering was $85,900, with a range of $55,000 for the 10th percentile to $148,500 for the 90th percentile.

The median for those with an M.S. was $95,576, with a range of $60,500 for the 10th percentile to $161,000 for the 90th percentile. Engineers who add a Master of Business Administration degree to an M.S. reported a median income of $125,000.

As expected, the vast majority of respondents were in civil, mechanical, or structural engineering, although 44 different branches of the profession are represented, including 13 corrosion engineers. Civil engineers report a median income of $86,630; mechanical engineers, $98,922; and structural engineers, $84,500.

The 15 ocean engineers participating reported the highest median income at $169,000. The median income of coastal engineers was $89,050; forensic engineers, $104,000; geotechnical engineers, $85,065; sanitary engineers, $111,652; and transportation engineers, $87,850.

About 70 percent of respondents work in the consulting, design, or project management/engineering/operations functions. Of those, project management respondents reported a median income of $102,470, followed by consulting at $89,000, and design at $73,300. Executive/administrative/legal was the highest paid function, with a median income of $150,000. That was followed by sales/marketing/public relations at $114,500.

Engineers with a P.E. license report a median income of $100,000, compared with the $95,500 for unlicensed respondents. For engineers who reported an additional license or certification, such as environmental or land surveyor, median income was about $10,000 more than a P.E.

The survey divides respondents into eight categories based on their self-reported level of responsibility in their position, with detailed guidelines to help create uniform reporting. Median salaries increase with increased responsibility, nearly tripling along the way from the $55,000 for an Engineer Level I to $150,000 for Engineer Level VIII. Respondents represented the full range of professional responsibility levels, the majority in levels three through seven.

To learn more about the ongoing survey and how to participate in it, or how to purchase copies of the report, click here. 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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