IEEE-USA InFocus

Surveys Focus on Salaries and Consultants Fees

By Chris Brantley

Surveys Focus on Salaries and Consultants Fees

Salaries on the Rise for IEEE U.S. Members According to IEEE-USA Survey

According to the recently released report of IEEE-USA’s 2009 Salary Survey, full time U.S. IEEE members working in their primary areas of technical competence saw their pre-tax income rise 7.5% in 2008.   The median compensation, including commissions and bonuses, but excluding overtime pay, profit sharing and other supplemental earning, was $116,000.

Highest earning fields included management, as well as engineering focused on communications technology, signals and applications, and aerospace and electronic systems.   Compensation for members employed in the private sector continued to outpace pay in academia or government positions.

Compensation of women trailed men at comparable experience levels, with no evidence of the gap narrowing.  Overall, the difference in median primary income between the genders, among those working full time in their primary area of technical competency, was $14,000.

The survey also suggested that employers are offering a broader array of health and related benefits, such as coverage for eyeglasses or lenses, well-baby care, and long-term care insurance.  At the same time, employee eligibility for stock-options, employee stock ownership plans, and other profit-sharing benefits reflected a slight downward trend.

IEEE-USA’s 2009 Salary Survey, the 22nd annual in the series, captures salary, income and benefit information from engineers, computer scientists and other technical professionals working across a wide array of disciplinary specialties and geographic locations.    With more than 12,000 IEEE members responding, IEEE-USA’s Salary Calculator provides one of the most robust tools on the market for benchmarking personal compensation against the market, and the survey data is widely used by engineering employers to set their compensation schedules.

Members who responded to the salary survey receive five free uses of the IEEE-USA Salary Calculator, which uses data from the report.  The 2009 IEEE-USA Salary & Fringe Benefit Survey Report is also available for purchase at a discounted member price of $75.00 at https://www.ieeeusa.org/shop/.

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The 2010 IEEE-USA Salary & Fringe Benefit Survey, conducted for IEEE-USA by Readex Research, is currently underway, and will capture compensation trends through the 2009 tax year.  Members who responded to the survey invitation in June will receive 5 free uses of the salary calculator.

Survey Profiles IEEE Consultants, Practices and Billing Rates

Drawing on data collected from its 2009 Salary Survey, IEEE-USA has released a special report profiling professional consultants in electrical engineering, computing and allied fields of technology, including information on their working arrangements, billing rates and practices.

The survey captures data from 388 survey takers who are currently self-employed, with consulting identified as their primary occupation.  The survey population had an average age of 50.1 years, with 25.8 years of professional experience, and with 55% of respondents holding a graduate degree.  Eighty-five percent work out of a home office.

According to the survey, most respondents bill by the hour, instead of by daily rates or fixed-price work.  The typical consultant billed 32.2 hours weekly, at a median hourly rate of $120.   Individual rates vary significantly, however, reflecting differences in technical specialty, years of experience, level of educational attainment, and geographic location, among other factors.

The Consultants Profile was developed in 2002 by IEEE-USA for the Alliance of IEEE Consultants Networks, as a benefit to members in the consulting field.  As a consultant is preparing a proposal or negotiating a contract, one of the primary concerns is deciding how much to charge.  The Profile provides useful data to help them benchmark hourly rates, as well as providing a window into practices and trends that are useful for both practicing consultants and members contemplating entering the consulting field.

The 2009 Profile of IEEE Consultants is available for purchase at a discounted member price of $9.95 at https://www.ieeeusa.org/shop/.

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The 2010 Profile of IEEE Consultants, also conducted for IEEE-USA by Readex Research, is currently underway, and will capture compensation trends through the 2009 tax year.  Members who responded to the consultant’s portion of the survey will receive a free copy of this report that will be published this fall.


Chris J. Brantley is IEEE-USA’s Managing Director.

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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