The Trend Is Your Friend (Sometimes)
Compensation in the engineering sector is trending higher. Retirees and a growing need for skilled labour is making it more competitive. Employers will need to step up to ensure they have the right workers for the right job.
It seems several factors will likely affect engineering compensation trends for the foreseeable future. First, as infrastructure becomes more a part of political discourse both in Canada and the U.S., more jobs will be coming online and the ability to attract and retain those highly skilled workers will come down to salary. Also, a large sector of the engineering population is aging and will soon be retiring. As boomers make way for younger engineers, demand will also grow to replace the outgoing crop of employees. Finally, despite slumping oil prices over the past few years (and perhaps into the foreseeable future), there is still a geographic trend of engineers moving westward – giving companies on the west side of the country pause to re-evaluate their compensation strategies.
The same is true for software and IT engineers. According to the Digital Adoption Compass, Canada will need 182,000 people to fill IT and engineering jobs by 2019.
A national survey shows that in areas such as Quebec, the most in demand positions are electrical, mechanical and civil engineers. And for example, in Montreal, entry pay is $50,000-$65,000; mid-level pay is $60,000-$70,000 and senior pay is $70,000-$80,000.
In Toronto, the trends are higher for the same positions. Entry pay is $56,000-$77,800, mid-level pay is $75,400-$89,300 and senior level pay is $86,200-$101,100.
The survey also shows that the demand for mechanical engineers, for example, will hold at about 2,100 job openings per year until 2020 but more than half of those jobs will became available as people retire. After 2020 the number of new mechanical engineering jobs are expected to fall to about 1,400 annually until 2025. The result could be a decrease in salary trends (or at the very least, they will hold steady).
In the meantime, however, trends do not appear to be going down anytime soon. The survey also says that at any given time there are about 8,300 engineering jobs on the market and it takes recruiters 49 days to fill an engineering position. What does this mean practically?
It is still a candidate-driven market that likely has more bargaining power when it comes to their own salaries (thereby driving up compensation across the board). With an overall mean salary of $72,200, employers will be forced to remain competitive for some time to come.