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Civil Engineering - We need to talk about money

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  • Rather than start a new thread I thought I'd resurrect this one.
    I'm a Mech Eng who got back to pre-recession levels of salary only last year.

    So, my company has got an employee with 8 years more experience yet on the pay levels of 2008.
    Luckily I never lost my job in the recession but we all had to cut our cloth.

    Company is on the up & up, I've checked our last audited accounts online & profits are at an all-time company record.
    Linkedin is alerting me of vacancies every day of the week.
    I reckon this is the year I push for the big dollars.

    Currently €50k + benefits, might hit them up for €70k+




  • Rather than start a new thread I thought I'd resurrect this one.
    I'm a Mech Eng who got back to pre-recession levels of salary only last year.

    So, my company has got an employee with 8 years more experience yet on the pay levels of 2008.
    Luckily I never lost my job in the recession but we all had to cut our cloth.

    Company is on the up & up, I've checked our last audited accounts online & profits are at an all-time company record.
    Linkedin is alerting me of vacancies every day of the week.
    I reckon this is the year I push for the big dollars.

    Currently €50k + benefits, might hit them up for €70k+
    Right course of action for sure - just be aware that if they do agree to your proposal, they will try to push it out into the future (e.g. 5k this year, and every year for the next 4...) - have in mind what timeline is acceptable to you.




  • Dardania wrote: »
    Right course of action for sure - just be aware that if they do agree to your proposal, they will try to push it out into the future (e.g. 5k this year, and every year for the next 4...) - have in mind what timeline is acceptable to you.

    And be mentally prepared for what Plan B entails, having to move elsewhere. If you go into your review with the mindset that you're prepared to leave they should sense it. This shouldn't be explicitly stated but your body language and tone will show it, without you even realising it.

    Also, have noted what contributions you have made to business development. They are unlikely to give you a €70k salary for doing engineering work alone. You'll stand a much better chance if you can demonstrate how you're a major factor in existing clients being retained, or, that you've brought in new business i.e. how you're one of the reasons for the profit figures rising.




  • David6330 wrote: »
    Been following this thread with interest.

    I'm a mechanical engineer and graduated in 2011. Worked in the UK for 5 years since graduation. Finished up on 40k GBP p.a. last year before I moved home, which I consider being a pretty decent salary by UK standards.

    Now coming towards the end of a full-time master's and looking to break into the industrial automation sector. It has been a struggle so far trying to get my foot in the door :(

    Industrial automation as in DeltaV or Siemens PLC stuff ?
    It'll be very tough to get into that unless you get a graduate role with the likes of Zenith or Emmerson IMO.
    Rather than start a new thread I thought I'd resurrect this one.
    I'm a Mech Eng who got back to pre-recession levels of salary only last year.

    So, my company has got an employee with 8 years more experience yet on the pay levels of 2008.
    Luckily I never lost my job in the recession but we all had to cut our cloth.

    Company is on the up & up, I've checked our last audited accounts online & profits are at an all-time company record.
    Linkedin is alerting me of vacancies every day of the week.
    I reckon this is the year I push for the big dollars.

    Currently €50k + benefits, might hit them up for €70k+

    €50k is woeful for an engineer with 10+ years experience. You don't seem the sort to leave though, unfortunately, I imagine your employer has you pencilled in as a lifer and they'll offer you very little to stay.




  • Augeo wrote: »
    €50k is woeful for an engineer with 10+ years experience. You don't seem the sort to leave though, unfortunately, I imagine your employer has you pencilled in as a lifer and they'll offer you very little to stay.

    Yeah, not proud of it but it was net of an average 6k bonus & a 6% pension contribution.

    Anyone got a copy of the IEI Salary Survey 2016 by any chance ???


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  • If you want €70k you need to play hardball, get a job paying €60k+ and hand in your notice. Wait until after they tell you you aren't getting €70k if you want.

    "Currently €50k + benefits, might hit them up for €70k+"

    As you've detailed your €50k is net of a €6k bonus, so do you want €70k + a bonus?

    They won't throw a €20k (40%) payrise at you, you know that.




  • Augeo wrote: »
    Industrial automation as in DeltaV or Siemens PLC stuff ?
    It'll be very tough to get into that unless you get a graduate role with the likes of Zenith or Emmerson IMO.

    Yeah PLCs, robotics, that sort of stuff. Ended up taking a grad position to get started.




  • David6330 wrote: »
    Yeah PLCs, robotics, that sort of stuff. Ended up taking a grad position to get started.

    Well done, the way to go.

    If I was you I'd try and land into pharma/biopharma (plenty PLCs even in predominantly DCS plants) rather than industries where robotics are used (assembly).

    I worked on ABB 6 axis robots a few moons ago and though conceptually interesting the thing was replacing manual operations.

    The distributed control systems in pharma plants is a handier & more lucrative gig IMO.

    (just to add, I'm not an automation eng)




  • I am a bit clueless as to what the going rate is for a structural engineer these days as there seems to be limited information out there. I have over 5 years experience and have been working with the same company since before the resurgence of the construction industry in Dublin.

    I have been receiving a steady 10% increase in salary per annum, which seems great, but having started in the company when the economy was not so great, I am still at a relatively low level in my view - €43k without benefits. I am not chartered either, but I still believe I am worth more than I am currently being paid.

    Realistically, if I move to another company with I think is a good level of experience, what would I expect to be offered? Am I being foolish for staying loyal to my current employer?




  • You could probably get 45-50k plus benefits depending on your area of experience.

    I would take into account the type of work in offer, office vibe and the commute.

    Don't be afraid of asking for more money. Or a paid for post-grad course.

    It's difficult to replace good staff


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  • con1982 wrote: »
    You could probably get 45-50k plus benefits depending on your area of experience.

    I would take into account the type of work in offer, office vibe and the commute.

    Don't be afraid of asking for more money. Or a paid for post-grad course.

    It's difficult to replace good staff

    My area of experience is general building design. I have been receiving raises annually, but so have all staff. Would it be cheeky to ask for another raise 6 months after already receiving one?

    The office vibe is great and the commute is short, but there is a heavy workload and I feel I take on more than most.

    What kind of post-grad courses are you suggesting - a one day training course type thing or a paid masters? Sometimes I feel guilty asking for any paid training as it seems like I owe them afterwards!




  • 6 months would come across as kinda cheeky. Ideally you should push as hard as possible in your annual review, pay talks.

    There are lots of good post-grad courses in project management, contract law, sustainable development, etc. Push yourself higher up the ladder.

    The closer you are to the client and money, the more you will earn. Pure engineering talents will only bring you so far.




  • I see Engineers Ireland sent out a salary survey questionnaire at the start of this month. Anyone take part? What do you expect will be the outcome?




  • Since there are many engineers here, this is probably a good place to ask the question...

    I've a qualification in architectural technology, I've had 5 years architectural experience between an architectural practice, a large international engineering group and a specialist contractor.

    Then, through right place right time (decent BIM skills)and willingness to learn I've wound up working for a civil/structural/mech/elec consultancy. I work on the civil and structural aspects of jobs under engineer guidance.

    I have been here 2 years, and I'm on 49K. It's good money for a technician. I want to progress. I'm 32 and have a long work life left.

    I have a 2.1 level 8 degree so eligible for masters admission on various courses. Are there any part time/evening/distance learning/masters courses that I would benefit from regarding making career advancement? I cannot give up work to study. Am I out of luck?




  • What sort of level 8 degrees do the engineers who's guidance you work under have?

    Is your level 8 in architectural technology?




  • Augeo wrote:
    What sort of level 8 degrees do the engineers who's guidance you work under have?

    Is your level 8 in architectural technology?

    Yes, my level 8 is in arch tech. Those whose guidance I work on varies from project to project. Some have structural engineering degrees, others geotechnical, others engineering and project management.




  • With your experience & qualification a project management course might be best IMO :)

    I'd imagine other companies would offer you eng roles too.




  • Just feel it'd be nice to be able to lead a design rather than just implementing others. Being able to correctly size or space structural members rather then needing to consult the engineer each time.

    I can't imagine it's possible to get in this line without significant retraining. I don't want to trivialise the task of becoming an engineer.




  • I have been here 2 years, and I'm on 49K. It's good money for a technician. I want to progress. I'm 32 and have a long work life left.

    I would say civil / structural engineers with 5 years post grad experience would only just be on that money now...




  • When you're good.... ;)

    Ah no, I'm only joking. I know I'm doing well on that front. Just a mix of experience and brazenness got me here.

    Edit;
    In all honesty I do feel at times that I'm flying by the seat of my pants, hanging in by the skin off my teeth, "getting away with it", but would like to learn more, firm up my knowledge a bit and ideally obtain a piece of paper that backs it up. I'm not seeking partnership or being an MD anywhere, but I do strive to do better and improve potential career path.


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  • I see Engineers Ireland sent out a salary survey questionnaire at the start of this month. Anyone take part? What do you expect will be the outcome?

    Ya, completed it, think its important as many as possible do so. As for what the outcome will be, I imagine it will show an improvement in pay, but still highlight that Engineers are undervalued.




  • Just feel it'd be nice to be able to lead a design rather than just implementing others. Being able to correctly size or space structural members rather then needing to consult the engineer each time.

    I can't imagine it's possible to get in this line without significant retraining. I don't want to trivialise the task of becoming an engineer.

    Is there some legislative reason why your level 8 doesn't allow you to lead a design, correctly size and space structural members etc?

    I'm not in the civil side of engineering so excuse my ignorance :)




  • Augeo wrote: »
    Is there some legislative reason why your level 8 doesn't allow you to lead a design, correctly size and space structural members etc?

    I'm not in the civil side of engineering so excuse my ignorance :)

    Well, I'm not qualified or trained to make such decisions or calculations. Legislatively, I'm not aware of the laws. I can only assume that there would be insurance/indemnity issues if somebody without an engineering qualification was designing structures.

    Sorry, I've dragged this thread away from civil engineering a bit!




  • If that's the case than the PM route might be worth considering. Would you be happy leading a team where you have a resource to do the sizing etc?

    Your level 8 is science rather than engineering?

    In my game you frequently have science folk as project managers with multiple chem eng type folk on the design & approval side.




  • Simona1986 wrote: »
    I would say civil / structural engineers with 5 years post grad experience would only just be on that money now...

    Oh dear. I'm being severely underpaid if 49k is the norm for civil/structural engineers with 5 years experience!




  • Oh dear. I'm being severely underpaid if 49k is the norm for civil/structural engineers with 5 years experience!

    What's your own situation? There's a shortage of engineer's at the moment, you should be able to negotiate yourself a better deal?




  • Simona1986 wrote: »
    What's your own situation? There's a shortage of engineer's at the moment, you should be able to negotiate yourself a better deal?

    I am involved in general building design, project engineer on a number of projects and take on what I believe to be a large workload. I have received annual raises of 10% every year I've been with the company. It sounds great, but because I started on a relatively low salary at the time of joining towards the end of the recession when salaries were still low, 10% hasn't caught up with the demand for engineers, which is why I am currently on 40k a year.

    I feel it would be difficult to negotiate greater than a 10% raise, particularly outside of a review period.




  • I am involved in general building design, project engineer on a number of projects and take on what I believe to be a large workload. I have received annual raises of 10% every year I've been with the company. It sounds great, but because I started on a relatively low salary at the time of joining towards the end of the recession when salaries were still low, 10% hasn't caught up with the demand for engineers, which is why I am currently on 40k a year.

    I feel it would be difficult to negotiate greater than a 10% raise, particularly outside of a review period.

    Moving probably is the only way to get the step jump in salary that it seems probably should be available to you. Depends on where you are and the opportunities around you or whether you would need to relocate, whether it is worth that to you.




  • Moving probably is the only way to get the step jump in salary that it seems probably should be available to you. Depends on where you are and the opportunities around you or whether you would need to relocate, whether it is worth that to you.

    I understand what you're saying, but do you not think that management would consider matching what the market is offering?

    Lets say if I asked for a 20% raise (which would be just below the "norm" of 49k mentioned earlier), either they could agree and I continue working happily, or they refuse and I decide to leave. They more than likely would have to offer a higher salary for someone to take my position (if the market rate is indeed 49k), plus the complications of handing over projects which I am currently managing.

    Is this naive thinking? I've never had to negotiate salary before, but don't see why they wouldn't offer the going rate if I am performing well.


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  • I understand what you're saying, but do you not think that management would consider matching what the market is offering?

    Lets say if I asked for a 20% raise (which would be just below the "norm" of 49k mentioned earlier), either they could agree and I continue working happily, or they refuse and I decide to leave. They more than likely would have to offer a higher salary for someone to take my position (if the market rate is indeed 49k), plus the complications of handing over projects which I am currently managing.

    Is this naive thinking? I've never had to negotiate salary before, but don't see why they wouldn't offer the going rate if I am performing well.

    If you reckon your salary is 20% below the norm in any salary negotiation you should come to any meeting with management with examples of similar positions and the salary's on offer to substantiate your claim.

    Factor in the cost of a new hire, agency fees, advertising, interview process etc, do some homework and demonstrate the costs. That's only one side of the argument you will also need to bring to the table your own skills and value, how have you contributed to the business, how much money did you save on project x, you need to be prepared with plenty of examples here and blow your own trumpet.

    In my view I reckon management will likely balk at a 20% pay claim and probably come back at you with something in the region of 3 to 5%. With such a pay differential and the improving job market you should consider taking some time to speak with a decent recruitment agent, start working on your LinkedIn profile (if you don't already have one) and commence actively looking and networking.


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