ASCE Salary Survey Results Reveal a Civil Engineering Industry In Demand

Survey says …?

Bright futures for civil engineers.

Results of the 2017 ASCE Salary Survey find that the median pre-tax income for civil engineers was $101,000 in 2016. Base salaries, meanwhile, have risen between 4 and 5 percent each year since 2014.

“It’s an exciting time to be a civil engineer,” said Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE. “As professionals, we take pride in our work as the stewards of the nation’s infrastructure and value educational and technical advancement to continue as leaders.

“The salary survey results show that our skills are appreciated by the market through compensation and other benefits. Not only is the profession a fun and exciting one, it is also one where you can make a good livelihood.”

The survey results draw upon the data of 5,868 ASCE member participants. The typical respondent is a male in his early 40s, with a bachelor’s or advanced degree, and about 17 years of professional experience. He is at the fifth or sixth of eight possible levels of professional responsibility, supervising a handful of other people, both professionals and support staff.

Salary Survey 2017 DisciplinesIn addition to the strong salary figures, the survey reveals that most civil engineers receive comprehensive benefits packages. Typical benefits include basic health insurance and family coverage, 15 paid vacation days and eight holidays per year, paid parental leave, and more.

The industry also values career advancement through paid professional dues, attendance at professional conferences, and educational assistance programs. These benefits help cover the cost of training and education needed to increase earning potential.

The survey finds that increased earning potential is directly linked to attainment of advanced degrees and licensure. Some facts:

• Those with a bachelor’s degree have a median salary of $93,000.
• Those with master’s degrees have a median of $101,000.
• Professional licensure increases the median salary to $108,000.
• Those with doctoral degrees earn the most on average, with a $110,000 median salary.

However, a pay gap persists for women and underrepresented minorities. The median salary for women is $83,000, compared with $101,400 for male respondents, about on par with the national average. Hispanic and African American respondents earned median incomes of $83,600 and $87,800, respectively.

“As a woman engineer, it’s disconcerting to see that a pay gap still exists for women and minorities in engineering,” Mattei said. “We’ve worked hard to make the profession more inclusive. We’ll study these survey results in detail to better understand the patterns and causes that might account for this difference, and work with employers to try to address this problem.”

As part of the survey release, ASCE members get two free data runs on the new salary calculator – a powerful tool that breaks down an engineer’s expected income based on a variety of factors, including discipline, experience level, and location.

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  1. Hi Ben! I’m wondering, did you collect any additional data on the participants? Such as where they went to school or geographic areas they work in. I work in HR at Schaefer, we’re a structural engineering firm and our employees have been interested in this article so I want to be prepared to answer questions. Thank you, Lauren Lonce

  2. Some more detail on classification taking into account experience after a BS degree would help. Various sub-classifications can be considered. The following would be an example.

    BS plus years of experience

    0 – 4 years median salary ________________
    4 – 10 years median salary ________________
    10 – 15 years median salary ________________
    15 + years median salary ________________

    MS could be equated to BS + 2 years
    PhD could be equated to BS + 4 years
    PE could be equated to BS + 4 years

  3. Hi,

    Is there a place where the raw data of the report can be viewed? My interest is in the pay gap specifically, this issue comes up a lot and any extra data I could obtain would be useful!


  4. The pay gap is nearly non-existent when you dig into the numbers and is most prominently due to the work choices of men and women. “Hours worked” alone account for at least half of the gap (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2019). Even so, that doesn’t mean there aren’t barriers and issues to be addressed and be diligent about. For example, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2017, men worked an average of 8.05 hours in an average day compared to 7.24 hours for women. 26% of working women work part-time due to non-economic reasons vs. 10% of men. Wording is also important since “earnings” and “wages” are noticeably different. Last statistic, never-married childless women earn 117 percent of male earnings (controlled for education, age, & hours worked). And again for overemphais, none of this mean there aren’t barriers and issues to be addressed and be diligent about.


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