Control Engineering salary and career survey, 2013

03/25/2013


Table: Area that gets highest emphasis vs. what should get highest emphasis

Gets emphasis Should get emphasis Areas

34% 19% Operations

21% 19% Automation and controls

13% 16% Safety

8% 8% Maintenance

3% 3% Energy

3% 3% Instrumentation

3% 13% Training, education

2% 1% Manufacturing IT

13% 18% Other

Survey methods

Control Engineering published a link to an online survey and received 977 responses between Dec. 4, 2012, and Jan. 11, 2013. A short article about the survey was published in the February 2013 print and digital edition, and it was mentioned in several Control Engineering e-mail newsletters. As incentive, one $100 gift card was awarded randomly to five survey respondents. Respondents were not limited to subscribers; anyone could take the survey; 977 responses were qualified based on those who said they were currently doing engineering or managing engineering functions at the field or corporate level within their companies. Responses per question varied from 106 to 2,895.

- Mark T. Hoske, content manager with Control Engineering, CFE Media, can be reached at mhoske@cfemedia.com. Amanda McLeman, managing editor, conducted the survey and compiled the accompanying online report.

Key concepts

More respondents expect salary increases than decreases

Adequately prepared personnel are difficult to find

Continuing education and training are key to success

Technical challenges aid job satisfaction

Consider this

Schedule time this month to mentor a team member with less experience and/or seek mentoring from one with more experience.

Online extra - see below

- More details, not in March 2013 print/digital edition

- Full report online has data points and extra graphics

- Concerns and advice from two write-in questions

Online extra

Two open-ended questions asked for input on the biggest concern for 2013 and engineering career-related advice offered to others.

Among concerns were:

Not having enough time to finish a project correctly due to overload.

Economy slowdown

Staying technically adept

Job advancement and financial compensation

Government regulations, tax increases

Personnel to take care of heritage systems

Getting new and or continuing business from our customers.

Timeline for next expansion.

New product development

Job recognition and career advancement.

China

Personnel shortage and lack of support from Management on training of existing Automation workforce

Not enough people to support the large amount of growth.

Staying competitive

Some of the advice, divided into four categories, follows.

Education

The best additional skill to be good at engineering related jobs is project management.

Get an engineering degree and a MS in business. Try different jobs to decide what you like. Find a mentor and/or sponsor in the organization; your life will be a lot easier.

Get as much education as possible, BUT don't limit yourself to one engineering / science discipline. Make sure you have an extremely firm foundation of higher mathematics, including ALL the calculus and statistics families. Along with that, ensure a deep understanding of PHYSICS as a science, since much of engineering hinges directly on the equations of mathematics AND the Laws of Physics. For those so inclined, also be knowledgeable in things "chemistry," since it is fundamental to the building blocks of life! While I realize that is a tall order for a modern technologist, the state of advancement of technology is such that to be truly successful a person MUST possess these aptitudes.

Never stop learning! Make use of the tremendous resources available online and through trade publications.

Continue to stay current on new technology.

Diversify. And learn as much as you can.

Workplace strategy

Lean manufacturing requires you to wear many hats, make sure you keep focused on the overall priorities of the operation.

Find someplace that you can engage with your colleagues and enjoy going to work each day because you spend a large portion of your life at work. Negotiate fair salary and benefits because no one will offer more than they must.

Concentrate on activities that make your boss's job easier.

Keep trained in your skill work hard early make a name for yourself and don't get associated with bad people and programs

Get as many different experiences as you can and make sure you contextualize the effect on your competencies and capabilities.

Know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.

Look for jobs that give you the opportunity to hone skills that are useful with outside companies as well as your own.

Don't believe anything including your schooling, nothing is stead fast. Always approach with an open mind, no matter how simple or dumb it looks from the outside, keep an open mind before dismissing.

Attitude

Find something you love to do and you will do it well.

Never lose sight of your common sense. If something doesn't ring true it probably isn't!

Make sure you like what you're doing, otherwise going to work will be an unwanted chore that will only receive a portion of your potential. Happy employees = productive employees.

Patience. Advancement is based on knowledge and experience and not time.

Stay curious, always question how / why.

Communication

If you're already employed in an engineering profession, develop leadership and communication and ability to work with a diverse group of people (interpersonal skills).

Prepare yourself with presentation and communication skills.

Learn everything you can about relationships, TRUE listening, and communication. It will greatly help you not only in your career but your entire life.


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