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      Civil Engineers’ Income Rises Faster than National Average

      September 11, 2019

      Majority of respondents report high quality of life as civil engineer

      Reston, Va.  - The 2019 ASCE Civil Engineering Salary Report  today released by the American Society of Civil Engineers reports that civil engineers' base salaries rose by a median of 6.2% between 2017 and 2018-significantly higher than the national average. The report states that civil engineers made a median pre-tax annual salary of $109,000 in 2018. This follows the steady trend over the past few years: base salaries have risen between 4% and 6% per year from 2016 to 2019. 

      "Civil engineers design, build and maintain the infrastructure systems we use each day - our roads and bridges, drinking water, energy systems and airports," said Robin A. Kemper, ASCE President. "This continuous rise reflects the value of our civil engineers and the services they provide. 

      More than eight out of 10 respondents are either very satisfied or satisfied with their overall job and reported a higher level of satisfaction with their compensation in 2019 compared to 2018: in 2019, 67% reported to be very satisfied or satisfied with their compensation versus 62% in 2018. Only 5% expressed dissatisfaction with their overall job. A majority of respondents also indicated they receive a wide variety of benefits, including basic health insurance, parental leave, 20 days of paid time off, 15 vacation days, eight holidays per year and six days of sick leave. In addition, engineers working in the Petroleum line of business reported the highest primary income of $174,000, while those in Industrial and Water earned the least. 

      The survey finds increased earning potential is directly linked to attainment of advanced degrees and licensure, including:

      • Those with a bachelor's degree have a median salary of $97,000, consistent with 2018.
      • Those with a master's degree have a median of $110,092, up from $109,000 in 2018.
      • Those with doctoral degrees have a median salary of $116,500, up from $113,000 in 2018.
      • Those with a PE license earned 20% more than their peers who practice without any license or certification.  

      "With the attacks on professional licensing in recent years, it's crucial we highlight not just the essential role a PE License provides, by protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public, but also the benefits to the licensee. This is evident in the report, as those with a PE earned a higher income than those without one," said Kemper.

      Despite the overall continuous positive trend, the pay gap for women and underrepresented groups is growing. The median salary for women is $87,537, trailing the median primary income for male respondents of $110,227 -a $22,690 pay gap. Last year's salary survey reported a median salary for women at $86,463 and a median salary for men at $108,000-a $21,537 pay gap. "I hope to see women's salaries increase next year," said Kemper. "We are seeing more women in civil engineering, yet it is troubling to see the such a significant gender gap in salaries between women and men. I hope we can work to reduce this gap as we continue to bring more people into civil engineering."

      Hispanic and African American respondents earned median incomes of $90,000 and $91,500, respectively. Comparatively, last year's survey showed Hispanic respondents up at $91,874. This year, African Americans' salaries have risen from the $87,5000 reported last year.


      The 2019 ASCE Civil Engineering Salary Survey results drew upon the data of 3,949 ASCE member participants. The typical respondent is a male in his early forties, with a bachelor's or advanced degree and about 18 years of professional experience. He is at the fifth or sixth of eight possible levels of professional responsibility, supervising a handful of other people, both professionals and support staff. Industry Insights, Inc. prepared the summary report. 


      Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation's infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter, @ASCETweets and @ASCEGovRel


      Industry Insights, based in Dublin, Ohio, is a survey research company that specializes in providing high quality research services to trade and professional associations, dealer organizations and other affiliated groups.  The company provides a variety of research services including financial operating; compensation and benefits; industry profile; member needs; and monthly and quarterly trend-tracking surveys.