Workforce Development

Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey, 2019

Engineers are getting paid more, although fewer expect to get increases in 2019; top factors for determining job satisfaction are feeling of accomplishment, technical challenge, and financial compensation.
By Mark T. Hoske and Amanda Pelliccione May 22, 2019
Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

Engineers are getting paid more in 2019 ($101,450 in 2019 compared to $100,339 in 2018 survey respondents), and 74% expect to get a salary increase in 2019, according to respondents to the Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey for 2019. Additionally, technical challenge and feeling of accomplishment both rank higher than compensation for job satisfaction criteria. Typically, compensation only ranks highest when the economy is in decline.

As Figure 1 shows, 63% expect a salary increase of up to 3% in 2019 (up from 56% in 2018); 11% expect an increase of 4% or more (down from 19% in 2018); 25% expect the same (23% did in 2018); and just 1% expect a salary decrease (2% in 2018).

Figure 1: 74% of respondents expect a salary increase. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

Figure 1: 74% of respondents expect a salary increase. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

Upward salary pressures correspond with strong U.S. manufacturing results, 31 months of growth as of March, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) monthly purchasing manufacturers’ index (PMI).

Survey methods

Survey respondents for the Control Engineering Career and Salary Report for 2019 were invited to anonymously provide their annual compensation information and opinions on the current state of their facilities and industries. The 2019 Control Engineering Career and Salary Report reflects data gathered from 173 automation professionals; margin of error is +/- 7.5% at a 95% confidence level.

For non-salary compensation (Figure 2), 23% expect an increase (statistically equal to 21% in 2018); 9% expect an increase of 4% or more (15% in 2018); 60% expect about the same (58% in 2017); and 17% expect less (11% in 2018).

Figure 2: 23% of respondents expect an increase in 20198 non-salary compensation. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

Figure 2: 23% of respondents expect an increase in 20198 non-salary compensation. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

For base salary compensation, the minimum was $25,000 (same as 2017) and the maximum was $800,000 ($342,000 in 2018), for 162 survey respondents providing this information. For non-salary compensation, the 2019 average received among 162 respondents was $10,467 (up from $10,091 in 2018); among the 73% receiving a bonus (118 respondents) the average was $14,370 (down from $14,863 in 2018).

Figure 3: In 2019, the average salary of respondents topped $101,000 (up more than $1,000), with average non-salary compensation declining slightly from $14,863 in 2018. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

Figure 3: In 2019, the average salary of respondents topped $101,000 (up more than $1,000), with average non-salary compensation declining slightly from $14,863 in 2018. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

Bonus criteria

Two leading criteria for bonus compensation were company profits, 57% (down from 73%), and personal performance, 47% (down from 62%) in Figure 4. Rounding out the top five were new business and sales, product profitability, and plant or line productivity. Energy efficiency fell below double digits in 2019.

Figure 4: Company profits and personal performance are, by far, the leading criteria determining non-salary compensation. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

Figure 4: Company profits and personal performance are, by far, the leading criteria determining non-salary compensation. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

Technical challenge

Job satisfaction factors (Figure 5) remained nearly the same for the top four year over year: feeling of accomplishment, technical challenge, financial compensation, and relationship with colleagues. Flexible work hours moved into the fifth spot from seventh.

Figure 5: Top factors for job satisfaction are feeling of accomplishment, technical challenge, and financial compensation. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

Figure 5: Top factors for job satisfaction are feeling of accomplishment, technical challenge, and financial compensation. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

What should get emphasis

The survey asked respondents what areas do and should get emphasis within their organizations and significant disparity continues between what does and what should receive emphasis. See Figure 6.

The top five areas that do get emphasis are budget and financials; customers and sales; operations; automation and controls; and safety.

Five areas that should get emphasis are automation and controls; safety; product development; customers and sales; and operations.

Figure 6: Red shows what should get the most emphasis: Automation and controls is the leading category. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

Figure 6: Red shows what should get the most emphasis: Automation and controls is the leading category. Courtesy: Control Engineering research, CFE Media and CFE Technology

The gap between what is and what should be spent on training and education has widened.

The 2019 respondents noted that training and education should get more than six times the emphasis it currently does. The 2018 respondents noted that training and education should get more than three times the emphasis it currently does.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, mhoske@cfemedia.com. Amanda Pelliccione is director of research and awards programs for CFE Media and Technology, apelliccione@cfemedia.com.

More ANSWERS

For much more information, download the Control Engineering 2019 Career and Salary Report for respondent regions, titles, functions, company size, staffing, views on energy, cybersecurity, and outsourcing, along with salary and non-salary compensation benchmarks by age, education, number of years with employer and industry, by job title, by job function, and by employees managed.

CONSIDER THIS

On the next pages, see related articles on: Advice from survey respondents and from Engineering Leaders Under 40; Retention; and Training.


Mark T. Hoske and Amanda Pelliccione
Author Bio: Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media; Amanda Pelliccione, CFE Media research director.