Workforce Development

Control Engineering professional profile

Think Again: Understanding those interested in the control engineering profession is of great interest to people who interact with these professionals. The annual Verified Audit Circulation report is an extensive piece of research about Control Engineering subscribers. Recent top articles also focus on control engineers.

By Mark T. Hoske, Rick Ellis June 16, 2014

The annual Control Engineering Verified Audit Circulation report, recently released for 2013, is an extensive piece of research about those interested in automation, controls, and instrumentation: what products are of greatest interest, what industries are most popular, and the continuing importance of system integration, among other topics. Intense interest in the control engineering profession continued last month with heavy online traffic to four May articles that together appeared six times in the "Top 5 Control Engineering articles" during three weeks in May:

  • Control Engineering salary and career survey, 2014
  • Advice from the Control Engineering salary and career survey, 2014
  • It is an engineer’s job market
  • 7 things noncontrol people should know about control engineers.

The last article listed above appeared first in three of the weekly Top 5 tallies after it was posted. Why the interest? I believe it’s because Control Engineering readers want to know about the control engineering profession and how to bring even more value to their organizations.

Among findings from the VAC report, a tally of 86,492 Control Engineering subscribers:

  • 76% (65,724) have engineering job responsibilities at the primary job function. That breaks out into 28.5% process, production, or manufacturing engineering; 21.9% system or product design, control, or instrument engineering; 9.4% system integration or consulting, and 16.3% other engineering, including evaluation, quality control, standards, reliability, test, project, software, plant, electrical mechanical, or electric.
  • 15% have general or corporate management as primary job function.
  • 9% have operations or maintenance as a primary job function, bringing the total to 100%.
  • Of the 29 industry classifications cited, the leading five are: 1) Instrumentation, measurement, or control systems or devices, 2) Industrial machinery, 3) Industrial controls, test, or medical equipment, 4) Engineering or system integration services, 5) Electrical equipment.
  • 37.4% said they design, build, or install machines for use within their own company. 
  • 21.9% said they design, build, or install machines for resale to other companies.
  • About one-third, 33.9%, said they provide system integration or engineering services to manufacturing organizations.
  • 21 categories of products or systems are purchased or specified. On average, each subscriber purchased or specified about 10 products.
  • Among the 21, the top 5 categories for products purchased or specified are: 1) Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) or programmable automation controllers (PACs), 2) Human machine interface (HMI) hardware or equipment, operator interface (OI), control panels, alarms, annunciators, data acquisition equipment, or data recorders or plotters, 3) Computers, industrial PCs (IPCs) or PC-based control, 4) Power distribution systems or power protection systems, power supplies, or uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), 5) Distributed control systems (DCS, PC-based) or process control platforms (DCS).
  • The 21 categories of products and systems are divided into four general categories: 73,969 specify products from the information control category, 63,328 specify system integration products, 58,682 process control products, and 55,709 discrete control products.
  • Reading habits extend well beyond the print and digital edition, with
  • reaching a total unduplicated audience of 146,365, including the print and digital edition (86,492) plus 11 topical newsletters as of Nov. 26, 2013. Among those, more than 40% receive four or more Control Engineering products. Total (duplicate) circulation among all these equals 582,667.
  • Unique monthly visitors to averaged 50,768 for 2013, and topped out the year in December with 74,164, up from 45,054 in December 2012.
  • Webcast education is also important. Of eight offered in 2013, the biggest audience was 815 and the average was 524 among 4,188 for all eight. Of the eight, four offered an RCEP-accredited professional development hour.
  • Social media involvement is strong with 52,987 LinkedIn group membership, 3,288 Twitter followers, and total Facebook page "Likes" of 4,214. 

Global interest

Beyond the VAC report results, interest in Control Engineering extends globally to six editions published in five languages, with combined monthly magazine, newsletter, and website activity average of 986,857, for March-May 2013, according to the Control Engineering Total Audience Profile, summer 2013 (not including social media, webcasts, eGuides, or in-person events). Think again: the control engineering profession is a big deal with many interested participants seeking Control Engineering information in many ways, the world over.

– Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Data provided by Rick Ellis, Control Engineering audience director.

ONLINE extra

Additional data points follow from the 19-page 2013 Control Engineering Verified Audit Circulation (VAC) report, according to a summary provided by Rick Ellis, Control Engineering audience director:

  • Total audience reach is up from 508,000 in 2012 to 694,000 as a result of adding two new newsletter products, a healthy increase in website traffic, and an increasing presence in social media.
  • Unique visitor traffic to is up by over 53% to 609,219.
  • One-year verified magazine subscribers increased by about 3,800, and three-year verified fell by 6,700.
  • Social media in general is very strong for Control Engineering; in particular, LinkedIn is up by 16,000 group members since the 2012 report. Facebook and Twitter are now counted as well.
  • An audited cross-channel report is new, showing unduplicated magazine and newsletter subscribers: more than 146,000 subscribers to either/or.
  • The number of products received shows that more than 76% of Control Engineering magazine and newsletter subscribers receive two or more products and nearly 53% receive three or more. This is a very strong measure of the audience engagement with the Control Engineering brand and the many channels through which they receive Control Engineering content.

2013 Control Engineering audience monthly reach*

86,652 Magazine subscribers (print and digital edition)

50,768 Website unique visitors

60,489 Social media (LinkedIn, Twitter followers as of year-end 2013)**

495,495 Newsletter recipients

360 Webcast and eGuide registrants per month***

686,262 Average monthly reach, not deduplicated

*Five other Control Engineering editions globally are not included as mentioned in the text. Also see

**Facebook likes (4,217) are not counted in this table.

*** 4188 total Webcasts registrants divided by 12, plus 133 eGuide registrants divided by 12.

Learn more about Control Engineering and the VAC report at

See links below to the articles referenced above.

Download the 2013 Control Engineering VAC Report (PDF)