Penton's Design Engineering and Sourcing Group 2013 Salary Survey Finds Increased Pressures, Lower Compensation and Higher Unemployment Facing U.S. Engineers

Despite Increased Competition from Immigration and Other Issues, Engineers Still Recommend the Field

Oct 30, 2013, 09:00 ET from Penton

NEW YORK, Oct. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Penton's Design Engineering and Sourcing Group today announced its annual review of the U.S. engineering industry, an extensive survey of salaries, benefits and working conditions for engineers.  The 2013 Salary Survey also analyzed various aspects affecting the industry, from employment and career earning potential to international hiring practices.

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This year's tenth anniversary Salary Survey, sponsored by Digi-Key Corporation, polled nearly 3,000 electronic engineers, those who design everything from airplanes to healthcare technology to personal electronics.  The survey specifically inquired about several hot-button issues, including:

  • Increasing immigration, outsourcing and the proliferation of H-1B Visas;
  • Keeping current with the explosion of today's technology; and
  • Rising industry unemployment.

Jay McSherry, Contributing Editor, said, "Globalization is placing downward pressure on wages. Advances increasingly seem to deliver incremental outcomes, rather than transformative ones. And there just isn't enough oxygen in the economy to fuel the kind of recovery that would really heat up the engineering job market."

On overall compensation, after three years of modest increases, engineering salaries have stalled. Base salaries and bonuses were off slightly in 2013, and employers were even more tightfisted with stock options (down 6 percent) and other sources of income (down 4 percent). The average total income for engineers was $105,028 in 2013, down $1,070, or 1 percent from 2012 levels.

Survey participants had strong opinions on the poll topics.  One respondent summed up their feelings towards the use of foreign workers in American engineering positions "The stress of always being told that some low-income H-1B is standing in line for your job, along with the lack of respect from the organization and the long work hours, sometimes makes you feel the job's not worth it."

Despite lower pay and job issues, nearly 90 percent of those responding said they enjoy their jobs and would recommend engineering to a young person looking to choose a career; many even feel the field offers the same opportunity for salary advancement that it did five years ago.

The demand for engineers remains high. McSherry added, "We're living in a time when engineering has never been more important. From communications devices in the hands of most people on the planet to the intelligence that is being embedded into manufactured goods at an unprecedented scale, engineering solutions have never been in higher demand."   

Despite the somewhat bleak picture, engineering itself is sure to remain a central activity of American and international commerce for the foreseeable future.

Results of the survey were released in the October issue of Electronic Design magazine, which can be found at For a PDF version of the 2013 Salary Survey, click here or to watch a more in depth video, click here.

About Design Engineering & Sourcing Group
Penton's Design Engineering & Sourcing Group combines the strengths of several acclaimed brands including Electronic Design, Machine Design and SourceESB. The group provides total access to the design engineering team and engagement with the entire engineering community from intent to action. Our primary focus is on the design engineer/manager and purchasing professional. Our content and products provide the in-depth technical and purchasing information they need to get their job done successfully.  The group brands include Electronic Design, Microwaves & RF, Source ESB, Global Purchasing, Distribution Resource, Power Electronics Defense Electronics, Electronic Design Europe, Machine Design, Hydraulics & Pneumatics, Medical Design, and Engineering TV.

About Penton
For millions of business owners and decision-makers, Penton makes the difference every day. We engage our professional users by providing actionable ideas and insights, data and workflow tools, community and networking, both in person and virtually, all with deep relevance to their specific industries. We then activate this engagement by connecting users with tens of thousands of targeted providers of products and services to help drive business growth. Learn more about our company at

Penton is a privately held company owned by MidOcean Partners and U.S. Equity Partners II, an investment fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co., LP.

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