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Policy Statement 346 - Professional Grade Salary Structure for Government Engineers

Approved by the Engineering Practice Policy Committee on May 31, 2017
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on June 4, 2017
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 29, 2017 


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the concept of professional grade salary structures for licensed professional engineers employed by all government entities. In order to encourage well-qualified licensed professional engineers to enter and remain in technically demanding government positions, ASCE believes that dual career ladders should be established such that position status and total compensation levels for licensed professional engineers are at least equal to those structured for technical and non-technical administrators and are comparable with positions in the private sector. Advancement in professional grade positions should be managed by professional peers and be based primarily on performance and responsibility.


To attract the caliber of personnel needed to fill those public sector positions, a total compensation package that is competitive with the private sector is necessary. Government entities need to be proactive in instituting a career development plan that allows upward mobility for employees without requiring that they be placed into supervisory or managerial positions.


The lack of professional grade status and associated compensation for qualified engineers employed in many government agencies has been a disincentive for attracting and retaining engineering professionals in the public sector. Many of these positions are now being filled by professional administrators and paraprofessionals having little or no formal engineering training. Ultimately, the quality of the facilities and projects which these agencies oversee could be adversely affected. In addition, the lowering of professional engineering standards could undermine the public trust and respect for the affected government agencies. Under such a structure the tendency to switch to administration will be reduced and technical expertise and experience can be better utilized over a longer time period. An additional benefit of dual career ladders would be a reduction in the pressure to create more administrative positions to provide for career advancement.

This policy has worldwide application
ASCE Policy Statement 346 
First Approved in 1988