Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey, 2016
Control Engineering research shows nearly a 5% increase in salaries among respondents to an average of $94,747; analysis of salaries by years with employer shows upward salary pressure for engineering new hires. Respondents continue to indicate they like their jobs, by more than 80% this year, but financial compensation is becoming more important, as the economy is seen as the biggest threat by far to manufacturing today.
Salary for respondents to the 2016 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey increased about 5% to $94,747, compared to an average of $90,367 for respondents last year. This year, data analyses include tables showing compensation by seven criteria, allowing benchmarking; the tables also show upward salary pressure to get younger engineers in the door. More than 80% were satisfied with their jobs, and 44% love going to work every day, and while technical challenge remains the top factor contributing to job satisfaction, it was a statistical tie (39% and 37%) with financial compensation, which jumped from 28% last year.
Looking at key issues, the economy is perceived as the biggest threat to manufacturing business, and, perhaps most disturbingly, 12% of respondents said no cyber security program was in place at their site. (See a separate cyber security research report from Control Engineering at www.controleng.com/CE-Research.)
See related articles on engineering advice and succession planning. More information and graphics appear with the online version of this article; search on the headline atop www.controleng.com or, if reading the digital edition, click on the headline.
Thank you to survey respondents; with 222 responding between March 7 and March 18 via web-based survey, the margin of error is plus or minus 6.6% at a 95% confidence level. A gift card incentive was used.
The average base annual salary for the 2016 set of respondents to this year's Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey was $94,747, up slightly compared to that of respondents to the 2015 survey, when the average totaled $90,367. In 2016, 67% expect a salary increase. Among respondents, 54% expect a 1% to 3% increase, 9% expect a salary increase of 4% to 6%, and just 4% expect a more than 6% increase. About 31% of respondents expected salaries to stay the same (compared 25% last year), and only 2% expect a pay cut in 2016 (see Figure 1).
Year to year, those answering the survey differ; this year's demographic information is provided later. The nonsalary compensation average among the 74% of respondents getting a bonus was $13,290 in 2016, and among all respondents, the average is $9,780. In 2016, 27% of respondents expect more nonsalary compensation, 16% expect less, and 57% expect the same (see Figures 2 and 3).
A larger majority of survey takers, 80%, said bonuses are tied to company profits compared to 61% last year. Among criteria, also up significantly was personal performance, 59% compared to 48%, and safety at 31% compared to 21%. Other criteria were product profitability at 29%, quality 26%, plant or line productivity 25%, reducing plant costs 21%, uptime/downtime 18%, and energy efficiencies at 12% (see Figure 4).
NEW: Salary benchmarks
Responding to reader feedback, tables were added to show salaries by age, education, years with employer and industry, job title and function, and number supervised, allowing benchmarking by taking an average of each that most closely fits your situation.
To see the totals for each benchmark area, with higher granularity by age, sample sizes, with additional trends, graphics, and analysis, download the salary survey report.
Salary averages are $58,376 under 30, with an average nonsalary compensation of $7,211. Salary average increases above $86,000 for those in the 30s, nearly $97,000 for those in the 40s, about $95,000 for those in the 50s, increasing to over $106,000 in the 60s, and above $105,000 for 70 or older, which had the highest nonsalary compensation, but sample size was very small, just two 70 and over.
More education generally resulted in more salary, except for those only with the high school diploma, where the sample size was very small, only four.
Number of years with current employer showed salary pressure to attract new employees; those onboard fewer than 5 years averaged more in salary than two other 5-year tenure periods.
Number of years in current industry increased steadily up to 20 to 24 and then dipped a bit for the next 10 years, continuing the upward trend 35 years and up.
Best three titles to have for salary are project manager, engineering manager, and vice president. Worst three are manufacturing engineering, plant engineer, and owner (although don't feel sorry for the owners; they had the third largest average nonsalary compensation at $25,000). Controls engineer came in about the middle of the pack, at 12 among 20.
Nonsystem integration consulting had the lowest among primary job functions, just under $73,000; system integration was more than $92,000; and general or corporate management was the highest, nearly $125,000.
Compensation by numbers of employees managed also increased with number, except for zero, which also may reflect higher upward salary pressure to attract new engineers.
See additional salary information about job satisfaction, age and experience and the hours engineers work, and data about outsourcing.