It’s still a tough job market for engineers, but the worst may be over for a profession buffeted by the economic crisis.
According to the results of the EE Times 2010 Salary & Opinion Survey, conducted in September, more than half of the responding engineers in North America and China and three-quarters of the respondents in India received a pay increase during the past year. Further, better than half of the more than 5,000 respondents to our global survey said they continued to earn bonuses. Rising compensation packages were unheard of as recently as a year ago—a period when many engineers were hanging on by their fingernails.
In North America, more than half of the three age groups surveyed (under 35, 35-49 and 50 and over) told us they had earned a bonus in the past year. At the high end, nearly 59 percent of North American respondents between the ages 35 and 49 said they had earned bonus pay. The percentage dropped to 50.6 percent for older engineers.
Annual bonuses in North America averaged between $1,000 and $10,000, with a surprisingly large percentage—around 21 percent—in all three age groups reporting figures at the higher end of that range.
The average base salary among the North American engineers surveyed totaled just over $100,000; annual compensation, including bonuses and overtime pay, averaged $107,300, according to our findings. North American engineers also reported the highest job satisfaction (64 percent) among the respondents.
Bonus totals for European engineers were similar, the survey found, with more than 50 percent of the respondents having received bonuses in the past year that were bunched between $1,000 and $10,000.
In China and India (where base salaries for engineers in most cases remain far lower than in the other surveyed regions), bonus figures for Chinese engineers tracked those in North America and Europe, but India failed to keep pace. Only more experienced Indian engineers reported a greater percentage of bonus payments during the past year.
On the other hand, 72 percent of the Indian respondents saw their base salary increase over the past year, translating to a 7.8 percent average pay raise.
At the other end of the pay spectrum, 46 percent of the Japanese engineers surveyed reported a pay cut in the past year. That total surpassed the percentages so reporting in other regions, including Europe and China, by a whopping 40 percentage points.
While rising bonuses alone don’t prove that engineering salaries have either stabilized or are on their way up, this year’s survey marks the first time in several years that engineers in most of the regions studied received a bump in their annual compensation.