A highlighted focus on work satisfaction would be to kick off our annual salary and career survey. What could be better, how satisfied are engineers in the workplace, and is engineering all that it is cracked up to be?
It’s time once again for the annual Compensation and Career Survey in Computer Design. We are breaking down our study this year into a five-article series that will hone in on particular aspects of the engineering profession. First of all, work satisfaction and how engineers feel about their career is up to you. We will highlight engineering’s fine, poor, and ugly, and whether engineers still think it’s all worth it.
The Typical Engineer
Our readers are overwhelmingly white (83 percent) and male (95 percent), with an average age of 50, according to the Salary and Job Survey. They are based predominantly in the United States; 36% have a Bachelor’s degree, while 26% have a Master’s degree. These figures are consistent with the U.S. engineering workforce’s wider demographics. Data USA reported that the average age of the workforce was 44 in 2016, with 78% of those surveyed being male and 86% white.
The average engineer is a full-time employee who works 41 to 45 hours a week and earns $101,860 annually, according to our survey. Design/project engineer (24%), followed by senior/chief/lead engineer, is the most common job title (12 percent ). The majority work on components and sub-assemblies in the field of research & development.
The vast majority of our readers in engineering are satisfied. A whopping 87% say that they are extremely pleased with their jobs. This sentiment is articulated by one of our engineers: “We are living in a rapidly changing engineering and design world.” Anything we see, touch, use has had some sort of interaction with some profession in engineering. In this ever-changing world around us, as long as you remain current within your fields of specialization, there is endless potential for growth and advancement and wage increases within our various engineering professions.
The problems raised by engineering are the main factor in their work satisfaction. Our readers believe that in their daily lives, the engineering profession keeps them interested and mentally challenged. “It was best stated by another reader: “Engineering poses a relentless intellectual challenge. It is problem-solving at its best and trying to make things better.
Engineers desire to make their world better. The ability to design goods that can help society was ranked 7.6 out of a 1-10 scale. Several of our readers stated that the main factors in how happy they are at their job are to serve humanity and to help change our world for the better. One of our readers encourages his students to use engineering as a means to change the world: “[Engineering is] a rewarding way to be productive and creative in serving our society.” I urge my students to reflect on social care and justice issues.
How Hard is it to Find Employment as an Engineer
New developments in technology are forcing our engineers to remain present. IoT systems, electromechanics, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and robotics are now being further developed and are making their way into mainstream engineering manufacturing sites and plants. As a result, engineers are still in high demand, with headhunters contacting 66 percent of our readers in the past year. To better navigate new emerging tech trends, businesses are often recruiting new specialists. Electromechanics, software, and mechanical design engineers are the main three categories of specialists being employed.
Emerging markets are forcing engineers to rise to the challenge, while businesses are searching for new employees. In their work, engineers also feel challenged, as 57 percent of them feel that when making new designs, their work pushes them to be innovative. With new and emerging technology at 45 percent, the main impact on the employment of engineers today is present. At 35 percent, new technology research is not far behind.
While most readers are satisfied with their work, there are a few who wish things could be better. 13% identify themselves as unsatisfied with their work and highly unsatisfied with it. The appreciation they get from others is one of the major factors they mentioned that would cause them to be happier in their work; it may be that businesses do not do a good enough job to promote that sentiment.
61% of our readers indicated that their current employer was not based on keeping staff, and 43% considered leaving the engineering profession. The key reasons why they are going to leave are to try something new (34%) to make more money (31 percent ). A lack of career development (19 percent), being burnt out (22 percent), and the temptation to pursue other interests are other factors that affect their decision to leave the profession (31 percent ).
The rapidly evolving engineering environment has been credited by some of our readers as the reason why they are ready to leave. One reader offers an insight into how to treat the engineering profession: “They need to adopt new technology and adapt existing products to changing markets will always be needed.” Over the years, the engineering environment has evolved and unique discipline paths are distinct. I would encourage someone considering engineering as a career to choose a good solid foundation (mechanical, electrical, etc.) and add as many “extras” (software, biotech, business, etc.) as interest and ability to round out their capabilities and relevance to their target industry.
Is Engineering Still a Fantastic Job?
The million-dollar question at the end of the day is whether engineering is still a good career choice or not. Of the engineers surveyed, 92% still suggest engineering for young students as a career direction. Many expressed the view that an engineering career offers a strong foundation in math, science, and logical thinking that, in addition to engineering, can be applied to multiple positions across several different fields.
Today, engineers have risen to occupy leadership positions and have moved on from only working behind the design desk. In many different occupations, including management, finance, marketing, and public relations, they occupy seats. It’s a fantastic base to build on, in the words of one of our engineers, and I feel like it’s a respected grade. One of the main qualities that an engineer has is the ability to solve problems, and that will help your career whichever direction you decide to go.
Several engineers have noted that the need for engineers would still be generated by the ever-changing demand. They will be at the forefront of taking those innovations to the mainstream when new technology evolves. Technology applications are growing exponentially,” one reader said, “permeating all facets of our lives, and with the job opportunities that exist, there are not enough engineers in the sector. I would prefer engineering in a heartbeat if I were to resume my long career in engineering all over again.