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SEP-OCT 2018

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14 INTECH SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018 WWW.ISA.ORG COVER STORY followed closely by the process/plant/manu- facturing engineers, who reported an increase of around $12,500. ROI for engineering degrees Although we cannot guarantee a return on in- vestment (ROI) on a liberal arts degree today, engineering is very clearly a field where a degree can be quite lucrative. Seventy percent of our respondents were college graduates. Engineers with a graduate degree averaged salaries that were nearly $14,000 higher annually than those with a bachelor's, and $29,000 more annually than those with solely a high school degree. Student debt is the bane of many a young pro- fessional's existence, but those with engineering degrees should statistically not have much of a problem. With the increases for each level of degree, and the current financial statistics, the average engineer should be well placed to pay off his or her degree in just a few years. Choosing the right industry While education level is a big salary separator, the indus- try an engineer works in also has a very significant impact. The average oil and gas engineer, for example, makes nearly $40,000 more than the typical water/wastewater engineer. It is fascinating to note, however, that despite being the highest-paying industry segment, oil and gas was the only continuing to rise, this significant increase in compensation is a nice trend to see. Although automation/control engi- neers probably cannot expect 5% gains every year, we see a favorable environment for today's engineer and no signs of that environment waning any time soon. Job function matters Of course, there are plenty of job functions for engineers other than automation and control, and we did not ignore them. In fact, the number of functions and specializations available for today's engineers continue to increase, as we included infor- mation technology and education functions in the 2018 sur- vey to better reflect all the options open for today's engineer. Every single job function registered an increase in the past year, save two. Engineering management and opera- tions and maintenance were the only two functions that decreased in average salary. Engineering consultants were apparently in very high demand. They reported an average salary increase of almost $14,000 over 2017; their rise was Industry Average salary Percent respondents Chemicals $130,373 10.1% Education $111,562 1.2% Engineering consulting or systems integration $125,191 23.3% Food and beverage $109,396 6.7% Industrial machinery and equipment $115,000 10.5% Oil and gas $134,150 11.6% Pharmaceuticals $129,234 3.8% Utilities – electrical, natural gas, nuclear $121,444 7.0% Utilities – water/wastewater $96,000 7.8% Other $110,172 18.0% Average salary by industry segment U.S. automation/control engineer average salary by year Job function Average salary Percent respondents Automation/control engineering $116,915 39.5% Consulting engineering $140,566 4.1% Design engineering $113,591 5.3% Engineering management $149,650 7.8% General or operations management $132,546 4.2% Operations and maintenance $93,275 10.0% Information technology $141,578 1.5% Process/plant/manufacturing engineering $115,818 4.3% Project management $125,735 4.3% Sales – business development $131,573 6.9% Teaching/instruction $107,954 0.9% Other $110,184 11.4% U.S. average salary by job function Level of education Average salary Percent respondents High school graduate $106,854 2.4% Technical/trade school graduate $100,117 14.9% Attended some college $105,593 11.8% College graduate $121,792 49.6% Graduate school/advanced degree $135,725 21.6% Average salary by highest level of education Note: Survey was not held in 2009. $116,915 $110,577 $109,184 $106,629 $103,916 $105,650 $104,040 $102,660 $99,241 $85,083 $82,622 $0 $20,000 $40,000 $60,000 $80,000 $100,000 $120,000 $140,000 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007

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