September Editorial: EE digs into job data

Editor Mike Hockett discusses what went into Evaluation Engineering's 2019 Job Report and the insights its data provided

Mike Hockett, EE Editor-in-ChiefMike Hockett, EE Editor-in-ChiefYou'll find that biggest feature of the September print issue of Evaluation Engineering is our 2019 Job Report, which, based on its title, may appear to be a first-time feature for EE readers. But as you’ll find out once you start reading it, our Job Report was EE’s Salary Report until this year. Upon further consideration that only a handful of the survey questions that our report is based upon focus on salary matters, we felt it was appropriate to rebrand the report to encompass all that the survey covers.

We provide our Job Report as a snapshot of what work encompasses for EE readers—everything from job duties, technologies used, experience level, satisfaction, and more, with salary & compensation being just one aspect.

Along with its name change, we overhauled the format that we present the job survey results in. Until this year, all results were pooled together, regardless of job level. This year, the results of most questions are segmented by four job levels—engineers, managers, executives, and other/retired/scientific/academia. By doing so, we think the resulting data is much more valuable since results of engineers are grouped together only with other engineers, executives with executives, and so on.

I’ve done similar job and salary reports for several other publications before my time at EE, and my favorite part of them is always the open-ended feedback when respondents are asked to anonymously share their thoughts on their salary or compensation. It often ends up serving as a way for our audience to vent about frustrations with their compensation—without fear of reprisal. Thus, the vast majority of the comments we receive have a negative slant, but it makes them all the more interesting.

Here’s a sampling of comments from engineer respondents:

“I keep hearing the aerospace industry complain there is not enough talent, and then they show hundreds of engineers the door, especially experienced engineers. What these executives really mean is they want ‘cheap’ talent. An engineer that is over 50 is not considered an asset to the organization. Age discrimination is still alive and well.”

“Even though we are starting to lose engineers to other area companies for higher salaries, our company does not work to match or exceed the offers they are getting to keep the people here, when, most of the time they should, due to tribal knowledge that they have.”

There’s plenty more good commentary at the end of our report.

As you peruse the results of EE’s 2019 Job Report, here are some statistics to keep in mind, on behalf of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • The 2018 median pay for electrical and electronics engineers was $99,070 per year, while the median annual pay for electrical engineers was $96,640, and the median for electronics engineers (except computer) was at $102,700.
  • The top paying metropolitan area for electrical/electronics engineer jobs is San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, with an annual mean wage of $132,750. Washington D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria is a distant second at $123,810.
  • New Hampshire has the highest concentration of electrical/electronics engineer jobs, at 3.01 such jobs per 1,000 total overall jobs in the state. Alabama was second with a 2.33/1,000 ratio.
  • The total number of electrical/electronics engineer jobs was 324,600 in 2016, the most recent year BLS reported.
  • The BLS estimates that the total number of electrical/electronics engineer jobs will increase by 6.6% from 2016 to 2016, gaining 21,300 jobs in that span.
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