In both boom times and downturns, engineering graduates are able to command top dollar for their skills, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Even during economic downturns, when engineering graduates experience challenges in obtaining job offers, NACE reports that engineering and computer science graduates still receive “substantial starting salary offers.”
The 2006 NACE Salary Survey reported that engineering graduates in:
Mechanical engineering had an average starting salary offer of $54,587.
Chemical engineering had an average starting salary offer of $60,054.
Civil engineering had an average starting salary offer of $47,145.
Electrical engineering had an average starting salary offer of $54,599.
Starting salaries change year to year and region to region. It is advisable to use a variety of salary databases to stay up to date on engineering salaries. A few online options are
Engineering Salary Calculator (engineersalary.com)
Engineering Central (http://engineeringcentral.salary.com)
Hoover’s Online (http://swz-hoovers.salary.com)
By using these databases, it is possible to obtain salary information on a wide range of entry-level engineering positions by geographic area. In addition, most of the sites provide descriptions of entry-level engineering positions in industry. It is important to note that if you have less continuous, full-time experience than listed in some of the descriptions, you can expect salary offers to be lower. If you believe that your background might qualify you for a higher level of compensation than you are offered, you might consider negotiating for an earlier review with the possibility of a pay
Salary information changes quickly. Many factors impact the rate of pay offered to entry-level engineers. Some of those factors include, but are not limited to, national and international economic conditions and specific conditions in the industry and/or company that you may be considering. Therefore, it is advisable to read the business section of major newspapers or their online editions; read trade journals in your areas of interest; study job postings online and on company websites; and use salary websites listed in this book to check current salary information yourself.