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Civil Engineering - We need to talk about money

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  • 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.


    Not really but you need to be prepared to jump ship or you could well end up settling for a much smaller raise.




  • 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.

    They might indeed, and it is worth the try. But just consider other options for the case that you dont get it. While it might be the market rate, and it may well be the case that they wont get someone else without paying considerable more, have recruitment costs, etc if they lost you, some employers will still baulk at a 20% increase. They may take their chances that they will get someone more cheaply. Or may not be well informed on the market rate and misjudge that they should be paying you more. It depends a lot on what the competition is like locally. If remote-ish, they may make that misjudgement. If in Dublin, they will probably be more aware of the rates and recognise they have to pay it.




  • Simona1986 wrote: »
    Not really but you need to be prepared to jump ship or you could well end up settling for a much smaller raise.

    This. Employers generally won't give significant rises unless there's a genuine chance of you leaving, and might call your bluff. I'd find out what your actual market rate is, and be prepared to move if you want to get it.

    There's no mystery to salary negotiation. Emphasise your value to the company, what the market is paying and have a bottom-line figure in your head. If you're not happy with what you get and can't push any further, accept it anyway and look for something else.




  • Civil Engineering Technician with an NCEA Certificate in Civil Engineering (Level 6) and Diploma (Level 7) in Highway Engineering from the early 90's with 25 years experience. First 10 years was with a Semi State working on heavy civil projects before i moved to a local authority. Salary of 59k plus a 3k allowance for additional duties.

    D.




  • I've checked out the Hays salary guide for 2018 and they are estimating €40-50k for a Senior Design Engineer with 6-9 years experience, and that's throughout the country. That's a good bit different to the €49k that was mentioned earlier for someone with 5 years experience.

    Are these salary guides anyway accurate?


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  • I've checked out the Hays salary guide for 2018 and they are estimating €40-50k for a Senior Design Engineer with 6-9 years experience, and that's throughout the country. That's a good bit different to the €49k that was mentioned earlier for someone with 5 years experience.

    The 49K mentioned earlier was my own. I work in the role of a civil/structural technician, but have a qualification as an architectural technologist. I think a combination of good fortune and a varied career has helped me. I have 5 years experience in architectural roles and almost 2 in my new found (unqualified!) direction.




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

    ..............

    Unlikely IMO

    They'll quite fancy their chances of hiring a lad / ladette with 2 years experience that they can start on a lower rate and capitalise on that person working their bum off and delivering lots and lots as they do so.

    If employers gave advertised market rates to current staff rather than small annual increments the job market would be a very different place, quite likely a worse place IMO.




  • I'm an associate of a company. Hiring is tough. Its an employees market out there. Was looking at a lad recently. 4 years experience. Wasnt overlay impressed with him. No ambition for CEng just yet. One of his first questions was about money.

    We were given a salary range by the recruiter. He actually want to start negotiations at the high end. He want €45k + benefits. Thanked him for his time and let him go.

    Told the recruiter. He went back to the interviewee. He told his boss he had a job lined up with us, got a counter offer and was off the market. Every ones time wasted but his. I bullet dodged but just shows the market now.




  • godtabh wrote:
    Every ones time wasted but his. I bullet dodged but just shows the market now.
    You can't blame him though, if you had offered him what he was looking for, he might have been willing to move and if his company had kept up with salary
    trends, he wouldn't have had to go looking. Swings and roundabouts - when wages were being decimated during the recession and there were loads of candidates around, there would have been plenty of unsuccessful candidates who may have felt they wasted time interviewing for a job which they weren't then offered.




  • Simona1986 wrote: »
    You can't blame him though, if you had offered him what he was looking for, he might have been willing to move and if his company had kept up with salary
    trends, he wouldn't have had to go looking. Swings and roundabouts - when wages were being decimated during the recession and there were loads of candidates around, there would have been plenty of unsuccessful candidates who may have felt they wasted time interviewing for a job which they weren't then offered.


    It’s not sunstainable. He had a questionable cv/experience looking for far to much money. I think we’ll be turning down Work in the future.


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  • godtabh wrote:
    It’s not sunstainable. He had a questionable cv/experience looking for far to much money. I think we’ll be turning down Work in the future.

    Only at the rates your tendering at. If we can't afford to pay engineers the same as IT professionals, accountants etc., engineering firms need to charge more. Rather than turning away work, charge more for it.




  • godtabh wrote: »
    I think we’ll be turning down Work in the future.

    Bizarre. It’d be interesting to get industry leaders from accountancy, IT etc to read through this thread and share their opinions.

    Currently in New Zealand where business is ticking along nicely. €70k salary with 6.5 years experience, 25-30% margins. Consultancies aren’t cutting the legs from underneath each other.... shows is can be done if the industry finally copped onto themselves!




  • godtabh wrote: »
    I'm an associate of a company. Hiring is tough. Its an employees market out there. Was looking at a lad recently. 4 years experience. Wasnt overlay impressed with him. No ambition for CEng just yet. One of his first questions was about money.

    We were given a salary range by the recruiter. He actually want to start negotiations at the high end. He want €45k + benefits. Thanked him for his time and let him go.

    Told the recruiter. He went back to the interviewee. He told his boss he had a job lined up with us, got a counter offer and was off the market. Every ones time wasted but his. I bullet dodged but just shows the market now.

    Would most people not be on 45k+ with four years experience?




  • Lleyn elec wrote: »
    Would most people not be on 45k+ with four years experience?

    In boom/optimistic times, it's a possibility (if you're good) - but in the last 10 years, you'd be lucky to be on 35-40k with that experience.




  • Fair play to the chap..... 4 years experience & he has no interest in being flogged by some crowd who reckon 45k+ isn't a realistic salary and seem to think not wanting to go chartered is to be frowned on.

    His current employers are best placed to judge his value and they reckon it was worth keeping him & stumped up the cash.




  • Simona1986 wrote: »
    Only at the rates your tendering at. If we can't afford to pay engineers the same as IT professionals, accountants etc., engineering firms need to charge more. Rather than turning away work, charge more for it.

    Accountants and civil engineers will always be faced with the two a penny thing..... they aren't the most difficult qualification to attain & they're not at all niche.

    The big4 take in loads every year and retain some after the 4 year gig.... the rest are well trained but not scarce.

    Plenty of poorly paid IT folk out there too.




  • Augeo wrote: »
    Accountants and civil engineers will always be faced with the two a penny thing..... they aren't the most difficult qualification to attain & they're not at all niche.

    The big4 take in loads every year and retain some after the 4 year gig.... the rest are well trained but not scarce.

    Chartered Accountants are typically paid substantially more than Chartered Engineers. A measure of the relative difficulty of the qualification route?




  • Hard to know really.

    Outside of Dublin there are no shortage of chartered accountants on not much more than the 45/50k mentioned in here that the civil folk reckon isn't rewarding their skillset.

    A friend left Dublin for cork in 2005 and he was horrified at the disparity in wages. A relative (big4 trained & chartered) has yet to break 55k basic.

    I think we are just seeing the effect of churning out graduates year after year coupled with the recession not being too long ago.

    Chartered eng seems to be big in the civil game. In the pharma/bio pharma spheres it's not so much as genuine 4+ years process/equipment engineers are harder to come by. When you locate some "are you chartered" or "planning to go about?" Being chartered isn't a question that is asked.

    I did some work in a large med device plant.... a few hundred engineers on site. That place seemed to have a fondness for chartered too.... it was another hoop to get people to jump through. I've always noticed really decent engineers can carve out their own career without jumping through hoops if they have a bit if something about them to complement their engineering acumen.

    There's the very real abuse of the chartered thing going on too.... an almost plageuristic, fantasy element to what many present as their work.

    I've seen some folk get chartered engineer when chartered project manager would be more apt.




  • Simona1986 wrote: »
    Only at the rates your tendering at. If we can't afford to pay engineers the same as IT professionals, accountants etc., engineering firms need to charge more. Rather than turning away work, charge more for it.

    It’s a race to the bottom. Public procurement has forced this.

    Private clients are just as bad due to access to finance. All well and good tendering higher but that is just the same as turning down Work. You won’t get it




  • The OP .......
    SteadyNed wrote: »
    Folks,
    I’m 5 years working as a Civil/Geotechnical Engineer in a consultancy environment in Ireland – not yet chartered, but planning to be within 6 months.
    We need to open a discussion about the White Elephant in the Civil Engineering profession – money. Having worked for 5 years in the industry, I have a full appreciation of pay scales in the profession, and frankly, it’s terrible. ...............


    The reason .....
    godtabh wrote: »
    It’s a race to the bottom. Public procurement has forced this.

    Private clients are just as bad due to access to finance. All well and good tendering higher but that is just the same as turning down Work. You won’t get it

    Folks getting chartered won't result in higher salaries either of course, just a new baseline for what employers can expect for €50k.

    My applied maths teacher told us in 1995 ........... don't do civil eng if you want decent pay, two a penny he reckoned.


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  • godtabh wrote: »
    It’s a race to the bottom. Public procurement has forced this.

    Why is it so specific to our industry so? Do finance, IT, legal firms etc not have to tender for Government Contracts?




  • Simona1986 wrote: »
    godtabh wrote: »
    It’s a race to the bottom. Public procurement has forced this.

    Why is it so specific to our industry so? Do finance, IT, legal firms etc not have to tender for Government Contracts?

    Less of them rendering for work than engineers




  • Dardania wrote: »
    Less of them rendering for work than engineers

    Is there actually though? Any stats?




  • Simona1986 wrote: »
    Why is it so specific to our industry so? Do finance, IT, legal firms etc not have to tender for Government Contracts?

    Lots of relatively poorly paid IT & finance folk about too.

    There's no shortage of civil engineers willing to work for quite low money. The building / construction game is notoriously boom & bust activity wise too of course.

    The likes of PM, BAM & Sisks are experts at selling folk positions on low remuneration. They are a big dial in setting market rates.




  • Augeo wrote: »
    Lots of relatively poorly paid IT & finance folk about too.

    There's no shortage of civil engineers willing to work for quite low money. The building / construction game is notoriously boom & bust activity wise too of course.

    The likes of PM, BAM & Sisks are experts at selling folk positions on low remuneration. They are a big dial in setting market rates.

    Suggests that mindset & culture plays as much of a role as supply/demand




  • Perhaps.... in a game that was recently enough severely hit by the recession there's likely enough out there to believe it's better to be working on 80% of what they should be on rather than not getting the gig.

    I know PM lowball folk who are seriously in demand so I can imagine their speel to folk with 5 years experience where 50k isn't par for the course.... not to mention the are you chartered sh1te.




  • Augeo wrote:
    The likes of PM, BAM & Sisks are experts at selling folk positions on low remuneration. They are a big dial in setting market rates.


    To be honest, having worked for one of those type companies and offered work with another (as a contractor), the money was pretty damn good (from my perspective) @ 35/hr in design roles as (opposed to site)




  • 35/hour is quite poor for a contract engineer.

    Working 40 hours a week, taking your 10 public holidays off & 20 actual days off you'd invoice 65k.

    Add in the temporary contract element, paying into a pension etc .... it's indicative of the thread topic IMO.

    For comparison... http://www.jobcontax.com/job-details/Graduate-CSV-Engineers-Ireland/Ireland/JO-1801-6330 ...

    One year graduate CSV experience and you'd likely get 35/hour. There wouldn't be much challenge to that role.




  • I hear you, but, 65K for the year was what I personally considered a great salary. Especially since it meant being paid for every hour worked, which was typically 45-50 a week. When coupled with 48% tax relief in pension contributions (director of ltd company for tax purposes - through Icon Accounting) it was very healthy.

    When I went looking for full time salaried architectural roles, I was offered abysmal money, 25-30K by lots of places.


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  • That's essentially what the thread is about, civil eng money is poor.

    In comparison to poor salaries low hourly rates (relative to what other industries have to pay) seem great when they are quite poor.

    BTW, given paye, prsi & usc you were getting more than 48% relief on pension contribs to an executive pension :)


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