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Carrier and earnings after CEng
Hi,
I am looking for some authentic reports and/or surveys which are based on the salaries of Chartered Engineers in the field of Electronics Engineering that describe the range of salaries and average salaries of Chartered Engineers.  
What support we can expect from TheIET if a Chartered Engineer still earns less than the average salary that a CEng is supposed to earn? Would there be any salary negotiation support from TheIET ?
 
11 Replies
Hi Peter,

The simple answer, in the order the questions were asked, is "None" and "No".

First you have to remember that the IET are not a trade union and do not act in such a manner (and it will probably be contrary to their Charter). Also if you look at the 'average salary' that a CEng is supposed to earn, don't forget that 50% of those with CEng earn less than that, else it wouldn't be the average. What you can do is use the figures from the IET (or Engineering Council or other source) regarding the average and median salaries for CEng and use these in your own salary negotiations.
Simon Barker
806 Posts
The IET used to publish an annual salary survey.  But not since 1998, it seems. https://communities.theiet.org/discussions/viewtopic/795/24544.
Andy Millar
1750 Posts
Alasdair Anderson:
...and use these in your own salary negotiations.

Excellent reply from Alasdair, and just to add to this point (having spent years and years negotiating salaries for my engineering teams and negotiating with HR etc!) what's even more important is the salaries being paid today by other companies for your role in your part of the country. Basically your employer has to think "if we don't pay them more, and they leave, how much will it cost us to get someone in (including training etc) to replace them?" 

Also parity within the company is important: the company will not  - if they are a good company - pay you more than one of your colleagues who is doing the same role to the same level. So if they increase your salary, e.g. from a successful application of the argument above, they have to increase everyone else's salary in the same position. It may still be valid that this increase should be made (for the reasons above), but it's important to remember that this could end up costing the business more than one person's increase, and so when presenting an argument this needs to be borne in mind.

But most commonly (unless you are being seriously underpaid against the local going rate) the only way to get a pay increase is to offer to take on more responsibility. Because then you are generating more value to the company.

Best way to get a pay rise? See your line manager, and say very openly "what would I need to do to get a pay rise?" And listen to the answer. You might not like the answer, but at least you'll know where you are, and then you can decide whether to stay there and do whatever the answer said needed to be done, or leave.

Best way to NOT get a pay rise? Tell your line manager (or, even worse, their manager) that you are undervalued and that they must do something about it. Because basically then you are telling them that they are incompetent. This may even be true, but they are not going to thank you for raising it. And be prepared that if you say "I could earn £10k more at this other company, what are you going to offer to keep me?" then rather than offering you more money they're equally likely to just start drafting the advert for your replacement on the assumption that you're going to leave anyway. (Saying "I like working here, but realistically salaries do seem to be higher at other local companies, is there anything I need to do to earn that sort of money here?" is fine, and perfectly honest.) 

Good luck,

Andy

Andy Millar
1750 Posts
Simon Barker:
The IET used to publish an annual salary survey.  But not since 1998, it seems. https://communities.theiet.org/discussions/viewtopic/795/24544.

And to be honest they were never very useful, precisely because of the huge range of salaries involved.

Andy Millar:
Simon Barker:
The IET used to publish an annual salary survey.  But not since 1998, it seems. https://communities.theiet.org/discussions/viewtopic/795/24544.

And to be honest they were never very useful, precisely because of the huge range of salaries involved.

And because only a very small proportion of possible respondents actually bothered to respond so it was never clear how typical the responses were....

mbirdi
1024 Posts
This type of question does prop up from time to time, and attracts quite a lot of responses; an old time favourite I guess.

I agree with the replies above especially Andy's detailed response. I would probably add a couple of suggestions of my own, which obviously is dependent on the type of organisation, job role, and the number of people working in the team.

If they feel they're on top of their game, they should test the waters by applying for another post elsewhere and going through the interview process. Should they receive an offer, then just put the word about they've been offered a job with a reputable company and they've got until the deadline date to accept the job. Then just carry on as if nothing has happened. If their employer values their contribution, they'll have a word with them in private and hopefully make a counter offer; in which case mission accomplished. Of course if the offer from the competitor is too good to refuse then accept the new offer.

The second plan of attack is to take the internal job evaluation application. This is similar to applying for CEng/IEng registration. They get the opportunity to put all their responsibilities in writing, and get HR evaluators to score it and decide what salary grade they should be on.

Of course the fastest root to career progression, and hence higher pay awards is to use body language: establish a bonding relationship with their line manager; help achieve the manager's goals and take on additional responsibilities to motivate the rest of the team in meeting the manager's objectives. Be on the manager's good books (much like being the teacher's pet).

Those with A level education appear to be more in tune with their line manager objectives and are the most successful career advancers compared to higher academic achievers. Postgraduates seem to be the least interested in applying positive body language and communication skills. I guess it's because they have a nerdy interest in the technical side of the job than integrating with the management team and taking interest in the overall business side of the company.

One thing I don't understand is why do recent qualified CEngs, (and IEngs) believe there exist an IET median salary figure they should be expected to earn? If it did exist, it could well be argued that CEng (or IEng) titles could be withheld until the engineer concerned is able to achieve that median figure. And why does anyone think the IET is a trade union? Where does it say that on the website? They don't even offer indemnity insurance, though there are other similar organisations that do. The IET is a no frills organisation: Pay your dues and enjoy the membership, and registration titles if you've got one.

On a lighter note. If you want to know whether you're doing well, salary wise, find out what the PA(s) working for your Director are earning? If you're receiving the same pay then you're doing well. Anything less then you know that typing skills count for more than your engineering skills. 
 
Hello Peter,

More or less what the others have said. I assume there's an enormous range of salaries that chartered engineers are paid and I doubt even the median is particularly helpful.

More importantly, and I mean absolutely no disparagement, how would you see this conversation going even if the IET did offer support with such things? "Please pay me more because I'm a chartered engineer and most of them earn more than me" is unlikely to be persuasive. It would be totally plausible to mention it if you wanted to take on more responsibility though or of course applying for other jobs.
mbirdi
1024 Posts
I just remembered one other point that's relevant to the debate: If an employer positively encourages an engineer to work towards registration, and they go on to achieve it, then the employer has got a case to answer. I knew of someone who was promised that if they achieved a degree through the day release scheme, then they would be considered for promotion to another grade. After graduating there was silence on the matter, so the person in question, went to the head of department and politely demanded they keep their promise, and they did by promoting him to a higher grade. So that's another route to consider.
 
Andy Millar
1750 Posts
That is a good point, however some employers will see professional registration as a mutual benefit (provided they pay the fees): they get the benefit of being able to show they have evidence of competency of that employee, and the employee has a personal benefit that will help them in their career, including with other future employers. So it is quite common for employers to argue that the employee is already getting the benefit of getting their fees paid. Of course if employers push the staff to get registered, and then don't pay their fees, then they can jolly well expect those staff to ask for a pay rise to cover the cost!

And for some roles, either as a signatory or in consultancy, it's a huge benefit to the employer for the employee to be registered, so in that case they absolutely should pay more for it - but then equally they'll have likely made it a part of the role profile anyway. (I just checked mine out of interest, it says "Chartered status (or equivalent) essential and member of a recognised professional institution". I'm now wondering what "or equivalent" means...)

For education, occasionally I have seen an issue in very structured organisations where staff are encouraged, and maybe financially supported, through FE / HE, but at the end of it there isn't immediately a role for them to move into. This can cause frustration, I think that's down to the company to be honest and clear that the employee won't progress without the education, but with it they can progress when an opportunity becomes available. I remember this happening with an assembly worker who got a degree, but for business reasons (stuff had to be got out of the door!) still had to work as an assembly worker for a period of months. This was difficult, the company's view was that they had to pay them the same as their co-workers as they were doing the same job to the same standard, but the person involved was understandably frustrated. Of course it all got sorted out, and after a few months priorities changed and they could be found a new role and salary which used their extra education. But I think it did still rankle with them for a while.

On the other hand (settling into Uncle Andy's fireside tales here, well it's been a long day...) there was the junior engineer who worked for me who was excellent, one of those people you just learn to rely on to get the job done, who had no qualifications at all after their GCSEs. I kept trying to promote them, but HR quite reasonably said "that's a degree level position, would you even interview someone external for that position with no engineering qualifications at all?", to which - even given my pretty lax attitude to qualifications - the answer had to be "no". So that case worked the other way around: when this person asked for a pay rise I told them to go and get an HNC, we'd pay for it, we'd give them time to study for it, just bloomin' well do it!* And in the end we got them through, and of course they passed with flying colours (to their surprise, but not to ours). Then all I had to do was spend six months arguing with HR, but at least I now had the ammunition to win, AND get the promotion backdated to the qualification date.  

Of course what doesn't work at all is just deciding to get qualifications or professional registration and then asking for a pay rise because you've got them...

And don't believe any "promises" made by an employer unless you have them in writing...the number of times I have heard people mishear "yes doing that is likely to give you an opportunity for promotion" as "do that and we'll promote you"...they are two very different sentences! (And note to managers: always have a lawyer and HR representative standing by you when discussing pay / promotion with your staff!)

Cheers,

Andy

* This went on for about five annual appraisals in a row...
mbirdi
1024 Posts
I think "Chartered status (or equivalent)" will likely include options such as IEng or Degree level in Engineering, Mathematics or Science - just to widen the net of suitable candidates.

Many thanks for providing an insight into the mysterious (and possibly murky) world of Management and HR; particularly when it comes to juggling which staff deserves pay increment(s) or regrade, whilst avoiding a wage rise escalation in the department/division. I now appreciate such wage escalations could lead to potential job losses for both staff and managers if not kept under budget, especially in the current climate we're in with the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
Andy Millar
1750 Posts
mbirdi:
I think "Chartered status (or equivalent)" will likely include options such as IEng or Degree level in Engineering, Mathematics or Science - just to widen the net of suitable candidates.
 

Actually it's more in our case that a) although a UK company we have staff based in many countries where Chartered is not normal practice ("Egad sir! How dreadfully un-English.") and anyway b) even in the UK it's not unknown for very good engineers, the type that people like us would want at a rather senior level, to either not want to be Chartered or even - shock horror - get refused Chartership. So there has to be words in place to cover those cases, but actually we all know what it means in real life: equivalent = you'd trust them as much as you would a Chartered Engineer, even if you can't quite define precisely in words why! (It's generally down to showing a good track record of responsibility.)

Cheers,

Andy 

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