2018 State of the Engineering Profession: A Highly Satisfied Field
Learn more about your colleagues in the industry in our fourth engineering profession survey.
If you’re curious about others in the industry, we’re here to help. Our survey asks the questions about salary, job satisfaction, and job constraints that you’d like to know but don’t get the chance to ask.
Clear Seas Research conducted the state of the profession study on behalf of appliance DESIGN to learn more about professionals involved in design operations. The study specifically aimed to identify trends in employee compensation, works hours and job constraints; overall job satisfaction; improvements to design operations; and a demographic profile of industry professionals.
Respondents came from a variety of industries. The top industry was air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating equipment (19%); followed by other electrical equipment, appliances and components (15%); computer and electronics products, including consumer (13%); product development and industrial design firms (12%); medical equipment and supplies (9%); commercial appliances and vending (8%); household cooking and laundry equipment (4%); water processing appliances (3%); test and measurement equipment (2%) and electrical housewares and portable appliances (1%). Fifteen percent did not fit into any of these categories.
Just under half of respondents work for an OEM, while a quarter are employed by a design/service/consultancy firm. Fourteen percent came from a components/parts manufacturer and 8% came from a contract manufacturer. Six percent came from outside these categories.
Company Revenue and More
Sixty-two percent of respondent companies report an annual revenue of under $50 million, while a third report revenue of $100 or more. The median annual revenue is $18 million.
More than two-thirds of participating companies have 500 or fewer employees. The median company size is 150 employees. The companies have increased for 47% of respondents, stayed the same at 46% companies and decreased at only 7%.
Companies are likely to commit the same amount of resources or more toward improving design operations in the next 12 months.
Those that plan to commit more indicate personnel is the most likely resource to be increased. Other top resources were prototyping equipment or software, materials, controls and sensors, energy and power solutions, and regulations/standards compliance. Rounding out the list of resources to be increased were: bonding and fastening solutions, electronic shielding, air moving solutions, molding, insulations and blowing agents.
In terms of embracing new technology, 29% said they are willing to be on the leading edge, 36% are willing to be one of the early leaders, 27% wait until others successfully use it, and just 8% are likely to be one of the last to use it.
Production takes place around the world. Ninety-one percent of respondents have a production location in the United States. China comes in next, with 34%, followed by Mexico at 22%. This was followed by Germany, the United Kingdom, India, Brazil, Canada, Taiwan, France, Japan, Italy, Australia, the Middle East, Central America, Russia, and Africa. Respondents also mentioned that they had production in other countries in Europe, Asia, and South America. In other words, traveling for business could bring them almost anywhere across the globe.
Companies had production in an average of 2.71 countries. About half have production facilities only in the U.S.
Respondents themselves are scattered across the country. The bulk live in the Midwest (40%), followed by the South (22%), the Northeast (19%) and the West (18%). One percent came from U.S. territories.
A Closer Look
Now let’s take a closer look at this year’s respondents.
The majority of respondents are male and hold a bachelor’s degree or greater. The mean age of respondents is 55. Nearly half of respondents work in engineering, while 21% are in research and development. Sixteen percent come from corporate/executive management, and 7% from design management.
Respondents have been in the industry for a long time, and at their current company for a while as well. On average, they have spent 21 years working in the industry, with 16 years of experience at their current company. Forty percent had been in the industry for more than 25 years.
And with this experience often comes supervisory roles. Of the two-thirds of respondents with supervisory responsibility, the majority supervise 10 people or less.
Respondents work an average of 47 hours per week, with all but 6% working a minimum of 40 hours. This has held steady with the past year for the majority of respondents and looks likely to continue for next year.
For those whose hours worked has increased in the past year, 63% said this was between 5 and ten hours.
While at work, there is plenty to fill those hours. The top responsibility listed was implementing solutions to problems, followed by interacting with suppliers, researching new methods and technologies, and implementing design/manufacturing methodologies.
Next came interfacing with management, interfacing with customers, evaluating proposals from suppliers, supervising day-to-day operations, continuing education and training, increase productivity/utilization, document adherence to formal market standards, and prepare and review budgets. Only 2% said they were not involved in any of the above. The average number of responsibilities cited was six.
As you might have guessed, time constraints emerges as the main job barrier expected over the next 12 months for more than half of respondents. Other job barriers were a skilled labor shortage, new and existing standards, management support, keeping up with state-of-the-art technologies, making new technology work, global competition, information overload, interacting with suppliers, budget cutbacks, mergers and acquisitions, interacting with customers and integrating in-process measurement.
But respondents have others to rely on at work to help with these obstacles.
Sixty percent of respondents are part of a new product development team at their company, 45% are involved in a new processes team, 36% on a productivity team, and 24% are involved in a new investment team.
Job Satisfaction and Concerns
Job satisfaction is high. Fifty-eight percent said they were highly satisfied with their current position. Only six percent said they were not at all satisfied with their current position.
No doubt many factors affect this satisfaction rating, but there are a range of important job attributes. The most important job attribute was the technical challenge, cited by 48%.
This was followed by a feeling of accomplishment (45%) and the ability to try new or creative approaches, as well as a good relationship with colleagues (43% for both). Salary came next, cited by 41%. Next was job security 35%), a pleasant work environment (32%), and lastly, a chance to be a team leader (13%).
Top job concerns were improving skills, keeping up with technology, and economic conditions. Others included management support, salary, keeping current on regulations, sufficient operating budget, job security, company merger or acquisition and outsourcing or privatization.
And speaking of salary, let’s talk about how much your peers are making. The average annual salary among respondents is just shy of six figures. Respondents make an average of $97,463. Three in five respondents receive an annual bonus, with an average bonus of $11,612.
And for about half of respondents, these salaries are going up. Fifty-three percent saw a salary increase in the past year, on average by 4%. For the rest, 44% saw no change in salary and 4% saw a decrease. For the 88% who receive performance reviews, 54% expect a salary increase at their next review.
For those whose salaries did not increase, there are a range of reasons. Budget constraints and economic conditions were the main reasons given. Not having a performance review was another factor, as was reaching the top pay level or a salary freeze.
The top cause for a change in salary was overall company performance, cited by 70%. Other factors include: performance reviews, meeting deadlines for new projects, launching new products, the location’s overall operating performance, leadership in implementing new technology, creating a new design or manufacturing process, or meeting product volume/product design requirements at a certain level.
In addition to salary, the majority of participants receive company paid benefits that include health insurance and paid vacation. More than half can also count on 401(k) matching, dental insurance, life insurance and vision insurance.
Two-thirds of respondents took some type of training during the past year. These included software and PC training for 30%, certifications for 28%, management for 24%, and methodologies for 23%.
In looking ahead, most respondents (67%) cited an interest in developing technical skills over the next 12 months, followed by problem-solving, time management, certifications, public speaking and presentations, writing reports and proposals, finance and accounting, employee supervision, and teamwork.
Thank you to all those who participated in this year’s survey. The survey was sent to active, qualified subscribers of appliance DESIGN, and fielded May 16 to June 18. Three $100 gift cards were given to three randomly selected respondents, and a $5 gift card was offered as an incentive to obtain additional completed surveys. The survey was completed by 144 people, for a response rate of 1.06%.
The information contained within this article comes from Clear Seas Research, 2018 State of the Profession – Appliance Design, July 2018.
Clear Seas Research is a full service, B-to-B market research company focused on making the complex clear. Custom research solutions include brand positioning, new product development, customer experiences and marketing effectiveness solutions. Clear Seas offers a broad portfolio of primary, syndicated research reports and powers the leading B-to-B panel for corporate researchers, myCLEARopinion Panel, in the architecture, engineering, construction, food, beverage, manufacturing, packaging and security industries. Learn more at clearseasresearch.com.
Here is the link to the report: