2014 Salary Survey: Perks Aplenty?

Factors Other Than Salary and Perks Motivate Our Readers to Come to Work Daily and Do Their Best

By Leslie Gordon

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This year's salary survey took a snapshot of how our readers see the process automation world in terms of the paycheck they get, the benefits they enjoy and even the pain points they feel. Overall, it shows a picture of the process engineering profession as one where members are well-paid, with a large number of our respondents earning more than $100,000 a year. That said, benefits have remained fairly stagnant over the last two years. What follows are more detailed results of this year's picture-taking.

Of course, compensation entails more than a paycheck. Our respondents seem to enjoy a fair number of perks and receive benefits such as medical (90.8%), dental (79.5%), life insurance (77.9%), disability (65.9%), pension (46.8%), 401K (68%) and tuition reimbursement (39.6%). Other common perks include stock options (13.6%), profit sharing (18.4%), car (9.9%), flex time (33.0%) and telecommuting (14.8%). Under the "Other” category, respondents mentioned flex spending accounts (FSAs) and wellness programs.

That said, this does seem to be an area where the numbers are staying fairly flat over the last two years. For example, in 2013, just a slightly smaller percentage of respondents reported getting medical (89%), dental (77%), life insurance (77%), disability (65%), pension (45%), 401K (67%), stock options (17%), flex time (32%) and telecommuting (16%). However, note that several of these numbers dropped significantly from our 2009 survey results. For instance, in the categories of medical, dental, disability, life insurance and 401K, numbers often fell by 10% or more.

In addition, with 42.9% getting a salary bump from last year of only $2,000 to $4,000, there are bound to be those who want more money. But this complaint was likely assuaged by the bonus that 65.5% of the respondents received. About half of them got anywhere from 2% to 10% of their salary as a bonus. About three-fourths of our respondents (73.8%) do not get paid for overtime.

Engineers don't necessarily find salary and benefits the biggest enticement. Many respondents (44.2%) pegged challenging work as the most important factor in providing them with a sense of job satisfaction. Other appealing factors included job security (10.1%), opportunity for advancement (8.9%) and appreciation (13.5%). Some respondents also mentioned they find it important to like the people they work with.

Interestingly, many engineers have chosen to remain among the rank and file (or is it that they haven't had the opportunity to move up?) as evidenced by the respondents' years of supervisory experience. Results are fairly evenly spread among engineers with two to five years (17.1%), six to 10 years (16.9%), 11 to 15 years (14.0%), 16 to 20 years (11.2%), and more than 20 years (15.4%) in the big office.