03 Feb Consulting Engineering Salaries – 2004
The composite highest-income practitioner in this field (salary plus cash bonus and/or cash profit sharing) is the President “A” (defined as a chief executive officer who is the owner of, a full partner in, or a major stockholder in the firm) of a consulting engineering firm. The firm provides services in civil (general, structural, and/or land development), or geotechnical engineering; receives in excess of $25,000,000 in gross annual fees for services rendered; has 500 or more employees; and is headquartered in or near Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, St. Louis, Oakland/East Bay, Milwaukee, Portland (OR), Lincoln (NE), Chicago, Middlesex-Essex Counties (MA), or Sacramento. This individual has a BS in engineering or higher, and 20 or more years of experience. While the median President “A” has a total annual income of $112,000, the highest-income individuals reported in this group make over $1,000,000.
Far toward the other end of the income spectrum, Field Technicians have a median income of $27,400. Sometimes earning under $18,000, the lowest-paid employees in this group usually are located in or near St. Louis, Corpus Christi, Milwaukee, or Richmond/Petersburg (VA), or outside metropolitan areas studied in Missouri; work for firms providing services in surveying or general civil or geotechnical engineering; have under three years of experience; and have no college training.
These composites represent the briefest possible “boil-down” of the voluminous data provided regarding current salaries and cash bonuses and/or profit sharing, and numerous demographic variables provided by 216 consulting engineering and land surveying firms on more than 5,300 employees in 152 benchmark jobs. The end results of the survey appear in Compensation in Consulting Engineering and Land Surveying Firms, 10th Edition – 2004, an 888-page, four-volume statistical analysis of compensation in this field.
Copies of the entire report are available for $1,200.00 from Abbott, Langer & Associates, Inc., Dept. ART, 548 First St., Crete, IL 60417 (telephone 708/672-4200; fax 708/672-4674; http://www.abbott-langer.com). The volumes may be purchased separately (Volume 1 – supervisory & managerial jobs and Volume 2 – non-supervisory engineers & scientists for $495.00 each; and Volume 3 – CADD/design/draftings jobs and Volume 4 – laboratory/surveying/technician jobs for $395.00 each).
It would be an exercise in futility to attempt more than a superficial overview of the survey results in this summary. However, some overall data regarding compensation can be presented herein, and some comments can be made.
In addition to the incomes of the benchmark jobs already discussed, the median total cash compensation nationally of some of the other 150 benchmark jobs included in the survey report is:
Engineering Branch Managers “B” – $105,562
Senior Mechanical Engineering Project Managers – $95,500
Senior Environmental Engineering Project Managers – $89,322
Chief Financial Executives – $89,018
Senior Electrical/Electronic Engineers – $77,700
Chief Marketing/Sales Executives – $66,200
Senior Scientists – $66,000
Chief Human Resources Executives – $65,780
Project Highway/Traffic/Transportation Engineers – $61,168
Lead Designers – $55,000
Design/Drafting/CADD Managers – $52,000
Staff Civil Engineers – $48,240
Survey Party Chiefs – $40,120
Engineering Technicians – $37,000
Associate Field Technicians (Inspection – construction) – $36,360
Junior CADD Operators – $31,840
Associate Drafters (drafting) – $27,874
Laboratory Technicians – $27,190
Naturally, these nation-wide pay rates vary by region, state & metropolitan area, type of services provided and annual fees received by the firm, size of firm, type of work performed/supervised/managed, level of education, length of experience, and supervisory/managerial responsibility involved – all demographic variables for which data are provided in the complete report.
The median total annual cash compensation for supervisory/managerial personnel is highest in the southern and southwestern states and lowest in the midwestern and north central states. The Pacific, Rocky Mountain, and northeastern states fall in the middle of the range. Regarding metropolitan areas only, the highest median annual incomes are found in: Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill; Charlotte/Gastonia; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Orlando; and Daytona Beach/Melbourne/Titusville. The lowest median annual incomes are found in Eugene/Springfield (OR); Great Falls; Des Moines; Butte; and Pittsburgh.
Median total annual cash compensation for engineering and scientific jobs is highest in the Pacific and north central states and lowest in the northeastern and southern states. The southwestern, Rocky Mountain, and midwestern states are in the middle. Regarding metropolitan areas only, the highest median annual incomes are found in: Houston; Las Vegas; Moline/Rock Island/Davenport; Denver/Boulder; Chicago; and Minneapolis/St. Paul. The lowest median annual incomes are found in: Harrisburg/Lancaster/York; Glenwood Springs (CO); Albany/Schenectady/Troy; Charleston (WV); Rockford (IL); and Eau Claire (WI).
Median total annual cash compensation for CADD/designing/drafting jobs is highest in the Pacific and midwestern states. The southwestern and southern states are lowest, with the Rocky Mountain, north central, and northeastern states falling in the middle. Treating metropolitan areas alone, the highest median annual incomes are found in: Oakland/East Bay; Detroit; Davenport; Champaign/Urbana; and Seattle/Everett. The lowest median annual incomes are found in: Harrisburg/Lancaster/York; Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill; Louisville; Kansas City; and Austin.
Median total annual cash compensation for laboratory, land surveying, and technician jobs is highest in the Pacific and Rocky Mountain states and lowest in the southwestern and southern states with the midwestern, northeastern, and north central states falling in the middle. As to metropolitan areas alone, the highest median annual incomes are found in: San Diego; Inland Empire (CA); Los Angeles; Oakland/East Bay; Philadelphia; and Cherry Hill (NJ). The lowest median annual incomes are found in Corpus Christi; Jacksonville; Anchorage; Orange County (CA); Atlanta; and Orlando.
Type of Service Provided by Employer
Overall, supervisory/managerial personnel are paid best in architectural, civil (general), and environmental engineering firms, and worst in land surveying firms and electrical/electronics engineering firms. Engineering and scientific jobs pay best in electrical and highway/traffic/transportation engineering firms, and worst in environmental, surveying, and geotechnical engineering firms. CADD/designing/drafting jobs pay best in highway/traffic/transportation and civil (general and primarily land development) engineering firms, and worst in surveying and environmental engineering firms. Laboratory, land surveying, and technician jobs pay best in highway/traffic/transportation and civil (general or primarily structural) engineering firms, and worst in surveying and geotechnical engineering firms.
Overall, this factor is not a good indicator of the median total annual cash compensation received by all types of employees in the consulting engineering/land surveying field, except at the highest levels.
Number of Employees
This factor is also not a good overall predictor of median total annual cash compensation in the consulting engineering/land surveying field, again except at the highest levels.
Type of Work Performed
For supervisory/managerial personnel, median total annual cash compensation is highest in computer science and civil engineering (general), and lowest in CADD design, land surveying, and electrical/electronics engineering. For engineering and scientific jobs, it is highest in aeronautical/aerospace and chemical engineering, and lowest in ecology and land surveying. Among CADD/design/drafting personnel, designers (excluding CADD) are paid most and drafters (excluding CADD) are paid least. For laboratory, land surveying, and technician jobs, annual compensation is highest in civil engineering (primarily land development) and land surveying, and lowest in laboratory and earth sciences.
In most areas surveyed, this is an excellent predictor of median total annual cash compensation: Typically, the more years of experience, the higher the compensation.
This is a major indicator of median total annual cash compensation in all areas surveyed. For supervisory/managerial personnel and those in the engineering/scientific field, a doctorate brought the highest compensation. An advanced degree resulted in the highest compensation for both CADD/designing/drafting and laboratory, land surveying, and technician jobs.
Experience Versus Education
A combination of experience and education is a better predictor of compensation than either area alone. While dealt with in detail in the report, space does not allow an analysis of the data herein.
Median total annual cash compensation varies greatly according to the level of supervisory responsibility. Compensation is highest for supervisory/managerial personnel who supervise 50 or more professional employees (with little or no responsibility for supervising technicians and/or drafters). For engineering and scientific jobs, compensation is lowest with no consistent supervisory responsibility and highest when supervising 10 or more professional and subprofessional employees. For CADD/designing/drafting jobs, supervising three or four subprofessionals brings the highest compensation, while no consistent supervisory responsibility results in the lowest incomes. For laboratory, land surveying, and technician jobs, supervising five to nine technicians and/or drafters results in the highest compensation; no consistent supervisory responsibility results in the lowest pay.