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SEP-OCT 2017

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10 INTECH SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 WWW.ISA.ORG Are we seeing a pay plateau in automation? Results from the 2017 salary survey By Cory Fogg T he salary of the average automation pro- fessional continued to rise for a fourth consecutive year in 2017. The results of the 2017 salary survey show that the average salary increased globally, albeit not signifi- cantly (2.5% in the U.S., 1.5% globally). In an economy where money is the primary factor holding up innovation (see https://mapi- foundation.org/economic/2016/6/10/auto- mation-investment-in-us-manufactur ing- an-empirical-picture), and many companies struggle to keep up with shifting consumer demands, automation professionals remain highly in demand, and in one of the higher paid engineering fields. Yet, as we move in- creasingly into the connected future, some legitimate concerns remain. Industries, such as oil and gas, took a widely noted hit over the past year, and this was reflect- ed in this year's responses. This particular drop may have been expected, but the 2017 survey also revealed some red flags that businesses need to acknowledge and address and engineers need to consider if they want to be engaged automa- tion professionals and help move their organiza- tions forward. For example, even though overall average salaries rose: l Average salaries for entry-level professionals in the U.S. (fewer than two years of experi- ence) dropped 7.3%. l Average salaries for less experienced profession- als in the U.S. (three-to-five years) dropped 4.7%. l The two largest raises, proportionally, went to engineering management (6.2%) and gen - eral/operations management (6.1%). Although there are continued indicators of progress, the increasing demand for automa- tion professionals has not yet led to the signifi- cant step-change that we have been expecting for years. However, with a new generation of professionals entering the fray, and technology continuing to advance by leaps and bounds, we

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