2012 was a great year for design engineers, according to a recent survey and infographic conducted by Aerotek, with high salaries, job longevity, high satisfaction rates and bright options in the future for the profession.
For 2012, the average design engineer career length stood at 18 years. In a sign that points toward high retention and happiness rates throughout the engineering field as a whole, the average design engineer has also been with his or her current employer for 13 years. Annual bonuses averaged well above $10,000 and average salaries ranged just under $100,000, making it clear that workers in the position are pleased with their current status.
More than 56 percent of industry professionals reported being either extremely or very satisfied with their careers, reporting advantages in their daily lives that include problem solving opportunities, time in their daily routine where they can harness their creativity, great locations and benefits, and frequent chances to take on and conquer technical challenges in their work. A very positive sign of the industry's overall job growth is that more than 80 percent said they were likely to recommend their careers to friends, sons or daughters.
Across the country, 69 percent of workers reported that they received salary increases in 2012. Overall, the most lucrative opportunities in the industry were found in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest, though other regions were not far behind. The South, Mountain and Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as New England, all saw salaries average over $100,000 annually, and the Southeast and Midwest were just behind that total.
Only a small percentage of design engineers said they were actively hunting for new work in the field, and more than 40 percent said they were happy currently, or at the very least not actively seeking another job. Another 33 percent said they were open to potential opportunities that could arise, while 15 percent reported involvement in passive job searching.
Of those workers who are looking for new jobs, or have heard positive results from friends and colleagues, word of mouth and LinkedIn were cited as the most successful paths, receiving 51 and 50 percent of overall votes. In addition, staffing agencies received positive marks from 32 percent of respondents, with another 30 percent hearing good things from social networks and 26 percent finding positive news from job search websites.