Your salary is one topic you hold close to your heart. You are more likely to discuss your deep-seated dreams, wildest fears, domestic worries or health problems with a co-worker than your annual income. Yet sharing these figures, especially in a nationwide survey, can go a long way toward improving your self image.
Since you don’t–or can’t–ask, we did. EE‘s third annual salary survey got answers that will help you compare yourself with your peers. And the news is good.
Before we go further in our discussion, here’s some background on the survey. In mid-January, we mailed 1,500 questionnaires to test and design professionals selected at random from EE‘s circulation list. No incentives were offered to encourage responses. More than 22% of the surveys were completed and returned to us. Here are the results.
In last year’s salary survey, we reported that overall median salaries had decreased about 9% from 1993. We attributed this in great part to corporate downsizing and budgetary cutbacks. The 1995 results show a new direction for salaries–up.
On the whole, median salaries for engineers increased almost 14% over last year, jumping from $47,300 to $53,875. The median salary for engineering managers now is $66,429, up about 7%. Managers other than engineering have a median salary of $60,625, or about 3% more. Figure 1 (see below) charts the median salaries for specific job functions.
Median Salary by Job Function
|Engineering Support, Calibration Lab||$44,000|
Nearly half, or 48.6%, of you who responded to our survey are engineers and more than 27% are engineering managers. The remaining group is composed of an assortment of positions, such as R&D, engineering development, engineering supervisors and manufacturing managers.
When we cross-tabulated the information you provided, the median reader emerged: He is a 44-year-old engineer with a B.S.E.E. degree and a base annual salary of $55,500.
On the educational front, 41.7% have bachelor’s degrees, with B.S.E.E. degrees held by the majority. For the 23% of you at the master’s degree level, the M.S.E.E. degree is the most prevalent. For those with a B.S.E.E. degree, the median salary is $51,600 or as much as $8,000 more a year than your colleagues with less education (Figure 2, see below).
Median Salary by Education
More money for more education is not surprising. What is surprising is the number of you returning to school on a formal basis. Your responses show that 28% are continuing your education, with the highest concentrations in three specific programs–B.S.E.E., M.B.A. and Ph.D.
A whopping 89.7% of you do attend seminars or independent training programs each year. Of that group, nearly 41% participate in 2 or 3 seminars or training programs, and 13% attend 4 or more.
In the last year, the median salaries grew in almost every geographic area in the United States (Figure 3, see below). The Mountain region gained 24%, the Central 15%, the Pacific 9.4%, and the Northeast almost 7.8%.
Region Median Salary
Quite predictably, you earn more money if you manage other employees. If you are a boss with more than 50 employees, your median salary is about $93,000. For those of you with 6 to 50 employees, compensation ranges from $53,000 to $63,300. If you supervise 1 to 5 employees, the median salary is around $52,800.
In last year’s study, 66% of you were affected by downsizing. This year, 60% say that it is still an issue. Because of downsizing, 71% now have additional responsibilities and 76% say that their department has fewer people who handle the same or an increased workload.
Many of you agree that employee morale is the largest casualty of downsizing, with mandatory overtime a major cause of discontent. A full 82% work overtime each week, and 27% work more than 10 hours overtime a week. Fewer than 29% are paid for these hours. The positions with the highest overtime hours are incoming inspection/test and corporate managers, with more than 12 hours and 10 hours per week, respectively.
Salaries may be on the rise, but career satisfaction is not. Perhaps an increased workload or the stress of downsizing is the culprit. Only 71% of you are satisfied with your career and only 67% with your current position. This proves what we all know–more money does not guarantee a happy employee.
While you may not be as happy in your career, most of you haven’t been shopping around for another job. Interestingly, 45% of you have been with your current employer from 6 to 14 years. Only 28% say you had been employed at the same company for 5 or fewer years.
And, how long do you plan to stay? Here again, longevity wins. Almost 30% of you say 5 to 10 years, and another 36% expect to stay where you are for 10 years or more.
Now that we have started looking ahead, let’s see what you had to predict about changes in your future earnings. Most of you, 72%, received a salary increase within the past year; however, for about 11% of you, it has been 13 to 18 months since your last increase, and more than 17% have been waiting even longer.
While 20% are concerned about the possibility of not receiving a salary increase, the majority of you are optimistic (Figure 4, see below). More than 48% expect a salary increase of 1% to 4%, and 23% expect a respectable 5% to 9%. Another 5% of you expect an increase of 10% to 15%, and 3% anticipate paychecks to grow 16% or more.
|1% – 4% Increase||48%|
|5% – 9% Increase||23%|
|10% – 15% Increase||5%|
Where are your chances for an increase? Your best bet is in a company with 1,000+ employees. This statement is based on our cross-tabulations of the predicted changes in salaries with the company size defined by the number of employees (Figure 5, see below). In a bigger company, your chances of a 1% to 4% increase are fairly good. You could even fall into the category expecting an appealing 10% to 15% hike.
|Predicted Change||Number of Employees|
Now that we have bombarded you with statistics, it’s time to summarize the salary outlook. Last year we reported that better times were on the horizon. On the whole, we think the results of the 1995 survey show this has occurred. Only time will tell if the trends we see today will continue, but for now the electronics industry is headed in the right direction–up. Let’s hope it continues.
Copyright 2004 Nelson Publishing Inc.