New Report: Civil Engineers’ Income and Job Satisfaction Continue to Rise
October 2, 2020
RESTON, Va. - The
2020 ASCE Civil Engineering Salary Report
today released by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) reports that civil engineers' median pre-tax annual salaries in 2019 was $115,000, which is an increase from $109,000 reported last year. This follows the steady trend over the past few years: base salaries have risen between 4% and 6% per year from 2017 to 2020. Compensation for civil engineers have continued to rise each year in the last half-decade. Income information was collected based off of 2019 W2 forms, offering a pre-COVID-19 look at salaries.
"This survey highlights the fact that prior to the pandemic, our profession was strong," said ASCE President K.N. Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E. "While the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed rocked the industry and every sector of the economy, the critical work of civil engineers has not stopped - from keeping the water and wastewater systems functioning; transportation systems including roads, bridges, ports and airports delivering goods and services to our door steps; and electricity and telecommunication systems keeping us connected to the outside world as we have managed our day-to-day life and business in a largely virtual world."
Data was pulled together from responses of ASCE members about their jobs - which includes job satisfaction and financial compensation. The typical median entry-level salary, according to the report, was $64,000.
The survey also finds increased earning potential is directly linked to attainment of advanced degrees and licensure:
- The median salary for civil engineers with a professional engineer license was $121,000, which is $31,000 higher than the median salary for those civil engineers who do not have any professional licenses or certifications.
- Those with a bachelor's degree have a median salary of $106,000, up from $97,000 in 2019.
- Those with a master's degree have a median salary of $119,679, up from $110,092 in 2019.
- Those with doctoral degrees have a median salary of $119,743, up from $116,500 in 2019.
The median annual salary for survey respondents who have masters' degrees is nearly $14,000 more than that of respondents whose highest level of education attained is a bachelor's degree.
Nearly nine out of 10 respondents are either very satisfied or satisfied with their overall job, slightly up from the eight out of 10 reported in 2019. Respondents also reported a higher level of satisfaction with their compensation in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, 70% reported being very satisfied or satisfied with their compensation versus 67% in 2019. Those employed full-time continue to receive a broad array of health and insurance benefits, with more than nine in 10 offered employer-sponsored health insurance. Additionally, Engineers working in the Petroleum line of business reported the highest primary income at $144,750, while those working in Geotechnical and Structural earned the least.
Despite the overall continuous positive trend, the pay gap for women and underrepresented groups continues, but the gap did narrow when experience was factored in The median primary income for male respondents was $117,500 versus $95,000 for women, which is up from the $87,537 reported for women last year. White respondents are still earning the highest median income of $114,670, while Hispanic and African-American respondents earned median incomes of $103,500 and $100,360, respectively - up from $90,000 for Hispanic respondents and $91,500 for African-American respondents reported last year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the industry in 2020, but the larger trends seen in the salary report foreshadow a positive future for the profession.
"If anything, the pandemic has shown that our work is essential to maintaining public health, safety and quality of life," Gunalan said. "While the timing may be uncertain, we are looking forward to a future where the industry continues the positive trends we've seen of increased demand for the skills and expertise that civil engineers possess."
The 2020 ASCE Civil Engineering Salary Survey results drew upon the data of 3,278 ASCE member participants. The typical respondent this year was a male in his early to mid-40s, with a bachelor's or advanced degree, holds a Professional Engineers (PE) license, has approximately 19 years of professional experience and supervises professionals and support staff. Insights, Inc. prepared the summary report.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS
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
ABOUT INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
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.