Electronic Design

Do Asian Engineers Have An Advantage?

According to our 2007 Reader Survey, Asian engineers will make an average of $111,952 in total compensation this year, compared to $102,272 for non-Asians - or nearly 10% more. This is despite the fact that Asian engineers are typically younger and significantly less experienced. They also have spent less time in their present position and with their current firm than their non-Asian counterparts. This discrepancy in income is consistent with data we've seen in our previous salary surveys.

What's behind the disparity? For one thing, Asian engineers are more educated. Nearly 39% have master's degrees and 24% have doctoral degrees, compared to 29% and 7% for non-Asians, respectively. They're concentrated more heavily in states that command higher salaries, like California, where nearly 40% of Asian engineers work. Also, they tend to work for larger organizations that typically pay more.

These engineers remain in high demand despite overall pressures on the industry: 59% say they've been contacted by a headhunter or recruiter during the past year, compared to 45% of non-Asians. Yet despite the fact that they apparently enjoy these economic advantages, Asian engineers are less satisfied with their current jobs and compensation, and they're less bullish on the engineering profession in general.

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