Don't Sell Yourself Short! - OCT 2008 - Engineer Boards
Jump to content
Engineer Boards
Sign in to follow this  
Roy T.

Don't Sell Yourself Short!

Recommended Posts

I know this isn't an exam result topic - per se. But for those who passed the PE - demand to get paid. Seriously, you've EARNED it. I know it's a tough economy but don't be afraid to "man-up" and demand what is rightfully yours -- a bigger pay check. How many lawyers you know that are afraid to bill you $400/hr?

There's no reason Engineers should get paid less than the top, say 25%, of lawyers in this country. A P.E. should equal 6 figures. If you don't demand it you won't get it.

just my $0.02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know this isn't an exam result topic - per se. But for those who passed the PE - demand to get paid. Seriously, you've EARNED it. I know it's a tough economy but don't be afraid to "man-up" and demand what is rightfully yours -- a bigger pay check. How many lawyers you know that are afraid to bill you $400/hr?

There's no reason Engineers should get paid less than the top, say 25%, of lawyers in this country. A P.E. should equal 6 figures. If you don't demand it you won't get it.

just my $0.02

Are you hiring?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My experience has been that negotiations work best in a very good economy. Many people would just settle for a secure job these days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know this isn't an exam result topic - per se. But for those who passed the PE - demand to get paid. Seriously, you've EARNED it. I know it's a tough economy but don't be afraid to "man-up" and demand what is rightfully yours -- a bigger pay check. How many lawyers you know that are afraid to bill you $400/hr?

I hate to be argumentative, but I can't resist. I challenge your assumption.

Just because you got your PE doesn't mean you're bringing additional value to your employer. A bigger paycheck, just because you have a PE, is not rightfully yours.... unless you're doing additional work for your employer (e.g. using your PEness in the office).

I'd suggest the majority of new PEs are not doing significant additional work... and so should be given a bigger pay check.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you will be the Engineer who provides design for clients and who stamps your own work, thereby increasing your value to your employer, then I agree that you should be entitled to a commensurate higher salary.

However, in the instance IlPadrino brings up, you may have to wait until you take on those responsibilities for your license to actually pay dividends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with his assertion in principal, but not in practice. Once you get your PE in a consulting office (or A/E like mine), your chargeable rate instantly jumps. Since your act of getting the PE has a measurable increase in revenue to the company, I think a raise should rightfully be yours. However, in this economy, I would not go in to my boss's office and start demanding things. Sure, they may be able to give you a raise, but they could just as easily fire your ass and hire a currently unemployed PE...probably at less than your current salary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dare to dream. In case you haven't been reading the paper or watching the news, we are in a recession.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very proud to be an Engineer but I don't think you can flat-out say Engineers deserve a six figure salary just because Lawyers can bill $ 400/hour. I think we can all agree that a lot of Lawyers are overpaid for what they do; however, if any of us were on trial with serious charges against us I'm sure we would not mind paying a few hundred bucks an hour. Law is complicated.

I agree with everyone who is saying we are in a recession and now is not the time to go demanding a higher salary. At the same time, depending on the dynamics of your individual work place I think it might make sense (say at your performance review/annual review or something of that nature) to say you feel you deserve more because you obtained your PE license. Also, we should all keep in mind that passing this test and getting a license is great, but our work performance is what really matters (at least at my company).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am very proud to be an Engineer but I don't think you can flat-out say Engineers deserve a six figure salary just because Lawyers can bill $ 400/hour. I think we can all agree that a lot of Lawyers are overpaid for what they do; however, if any of us were on trial with serious charges against us I'm sure we would not mind paying a few hundred bucks an hour. Law is complicated.

I agree with everyone who is saying we are in a recession and now is not the time to go demanding a higher salary. At the same time, depending on the dynamics of your individual work place I think it might make sense (say at your performance review/annual review or something of that nature) to say you feel you deserve more because you obtained your PE license. Also, we should all keep in mind that passing this test and getting a license is great, but our work performance is what really matters (at least at my company).

My original post was a bit tongue-in-cheek. But seriously, Engineers are sheep when it comes to negotiations. 6 figures is not at all unreasonable. Hell, RN's make 80-100K and in some states you only need a 2-yr degree. (In Houston 6-figures is pretty much a starting salary for engineers - although O&G is cyclical)

My point is - those that just got their scores - don't sell yourself or the profession short. A P.E. is as valuable as you make it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In Houston 6-figures is pretty much a starting salary for engineers

Really? I'm inching my way closer to 6 figures... but no raises this year (in fact, I feel lucky to still have my job since half of my office has been laid off in the past 45 days) and there's talk of cutting everyone's hours (and pay) by 20%.

I have never heard/seen of 6-figures as a starting salary... who do you work for... and are they hiring?

ETA - I know that RN's make a LOT of money in some areas... but that is due to the fact that there is a huge nursing shortage and has been for years now... hospitals are forced to pay more than a nurse "should" be worth, simply because they know that the hospital across town has a bunch of openings, and they don't want to lose the nurses they have. As far as I know, there is not a shortage of engineers... so the same logic does not apply.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Really? I'm inching my way closer to 6 figures... but no raises this year (in fact, I feel lucky to still have my job since half of my office has been laid off in the past 45 days) and there's talk of cutting everyone's hours (and pay) by 20%.

I have never heard/seen of 6-figures as a starting salary... who do you work for... and are they hiring?

ETA - I know that RN's make a LOT of money in some areas... but that is due to the fact that there is a huge nursing shortage and has been for years now... hospitals are forced to pay more than a nurse "should" be worth, simply because they know that the hospital across town has a bunch of openings, and they don't want to lose the nurses they have. As far as I know, there is not a shortage of engineers... so the same logic does not apply.

Crazy as it sounds - Parsons is still hiring like mad. At least that's what I've been told. It depends on what you're willing to do for money i suppose (ie: travel - a lot) work in nasty places like africa, indonesia --- baytown, port aurthur ;-), etc. My office is busy for now. But things can change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with everything that is said. I also think that some engineering disciplines inherently pay more... Also, I know the majority of folks, who got their license but there are a few I would hesitate to call PEs better yet engineers. I know of a someone, who recently got his PE. He failed EIT exam 16 times!! I kid you not! He failed for 8 years and barely passed the exam with a score of 70. It took him another 4 tries to get his PE in a branch like Architecture review something with a score of 70 again. This guy already has a mickey mouse engineering technology degree from a not so reputable community college, where he barely passed the classes... So you do the math... I guess the salary has to be in line with competency at some point regardless of the ability to stamp and seal... There is my 2 cents...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am very proud to be an Engineer but I don't think you can flat-out say Engineers deserve a six figure salary just because Lawyers can bill $ 400/hour. I think we can all agree that a lot of Lawyers are overpaid for what they do; however, if any of us were on trial with serious charges against us I'm sure we would not mind paying a few hundred bucks an hour. Law is complicated.

I agree with everyone who is saying we are in a recession and now is not the time to go demanding a higher salary. At the same time, depending on the dynamics of your individual work place I think it might make sense (say at your performance review/annual review or something of that nature) to say you feel you deserve more because you obtained your PE license. Also, we should all keep in mind that passing this test and getting a license is great, but our work performance is what really matters (at least at my company).

To be clear, lawyers have JD whereas engineers are only required to have a bachelors. Their salaries are highly dependent on the type of law they practice as well as location. Many family law attorneys around here earn less than $100k unless they are a senior partner. To blanket lawyers at $400/hr is a bit foolish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of my HS class became either doctors or lawyers. Unless they got hooked up with a sweet deal, most of the lawyers started out at less than 20K (this was 1989 mind you) and were working horrible hours. Plus, they had to have NICE clothes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Crazy as it sounds - Parsons is still hiring like mad. At least that's what I've been told. It depends on what you're willing to do for money i suppose (ie: travel - a lot) work in nasty places like africa, indonesia --- baytown, port aurthur ;-), etc. My office is busy for now. But things can change.

Roy.T...are you employed with Parsons? Where are you located?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Plus, they had to have NICE clothes.

:Locolaugh:

that's so true it's funny.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with everything that is said. I also think that some engineering disciplines inherently pay more... Also, I know the majority of folks, who got their license but there are a few I would hesitate to call PEs better yet engineers. I know of a someone, who recently got his PE. He failed EIT exam 16 times!! I kid you not! He failed for 8 years and barely passed the exam with a score of 70. It took him another 4 tries to get his PE in a branch like Architecture review something with a score of 70 again. This guy already has a mickey mouse engineering technology degree from a not so reputable community college, where he barely passed the classes... So you do the math... I guess the salary has to be in line with competency at some point regardless of the ability to stamp and seal... There is my 2 cents...

Just want to mention that the PE exam is on "Architectural Engineering" and not "Architecture", there is a difference. We have been down this road before, if you want to read more go to Engineer Boards > General Discussion > Shoot the Breeze > Hall of Fame>Architectural Engineering PE, Anyone out there plan to take it?

I do understand your point that just because two people have "PE" behind their name doesn't mean they are necessary equal. For example, in Wisconsin (where I grew up) you can obtain a PE without an engineering degree (I believe you can skip out of FE/PE exams as well), its crazy - I don't like it, but for now that is the way it is. I took the FE & PE only once each in case you were wondering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know this isn't an exam result topic - per se. But for those who passed the PE - demand to get paid. Seriously, you've EARNED it. I know it's a tough economy but don't be afraid to "man-up" and demand what is rightfully yours -- a bigger pay check. How many lawyers you know that are afraid to bill you $400/hr?

There's no reason Engineers should get paid less than the top, say 25%, of lawyers in this country. A P.E. should equal 6 figures. If you don't demand it you won't get it.

just my $0.02

you are a moron...or brilliant? maybe you are unemployed so you figured you would throw this out and hope someone gets fired and you can jump in there to take the position?

if you are serious, you are an idiot. obviously you do not know how our profession works. passing the PE does not mean you are all of a sudden more productive or profitable. A raise means you are earning more money, therefore you have to generate more money which means new projects...whcih means you are out there getting work and representing your firm. having PE after your name does not do that.

if you were any good at your job then you would already be paid like a profesional and making 6 figures.

and do give me that crap about consulting firms and moving up a pay class to professional engineer. if you were a good hard worker who has been performing you would be classified as a PM or senior PM which is typically a higher billing classification than professional engineer already.

if anyone demands a raise nowadays they will get what they deserve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
you are a moron...or brilliant? maybe you are unemployed so you figured you would throw this out and hope someone gets fired and you can jump in there to take the position?

if you are serious, you are an idiot. obviously you do not know how our profession works. passing the PE does not mean you are all of a sudden more productive or profitable. A raise means you are earning more money, therefore you have to generate more money which means new projects...whcih means you are out there getting work and representing your firm. having PE after your name does not do that.

if you were any good at your job then you would already be paid like a profesional and making 6 figures.

and do give me that crap about consulting firms and moving up a pay class to professional engineer. if you were a good hard worker who has been performing you would be classified as a PM or senior PM which is typically a higher billing classification than professional engineer already.

if anyone demands a raise nowadays they will get what they deserve.

Wow dannybopper, how do you really feel? I agree that it would be moronic to walk in to your boss's office and demand a raise for passing the PE. I think between the raise for passing the PE and the promotion I received (which I was elegible for only with the PE) I received about an 8% raise last year. Plus my annual merit increase and I had a total raise of about 15% last year all within a couple of months. Most big consulting firms pay market value, which means whatever the same position down the street is getting paid. To pay more means they have to have higher billing rates to make up for the payroll burden, which means they get less work, which means they have an unsustainable business model. With my firm, the only salary negotiations that occur are when you threaten to quit and that ain't a good idea right now. And I can honestly say that they pay better than most similar firms, not so much more as to be unsustainable, but more to be the empoyer of choice and attract the best talent. We as engineers are a commodity profession. If you don't like it I would choose another career.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just scanning through these responses makes me realize why Engineers are so underpaid relative to the amount to education and effort required. I hate to be cold - but engineers are sheep. bbbbbbbaaaaahhhhhhh. (not all but most)

Engineering is a business (and a profession). Treat it like one. Go work for a contractor for a while - that will help change your perspective. Don't be sentimental, don't be stupid, don't be weak. Be a professional and demand to get paid like one. The rest will take care of itself. Don't be afraid to start your own business either - if you aren't sure that you have the ability to do it what good is a PE, really?

That's it - congratulations to all who passed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just scanning through these responses makes me realize why Engineers are so underpaid relative to the amount to education and effort required. I hate to be cold - but engineers are sheep. bbbbbbbaaaaahhhhhhh. (not all but most)

Engineering is a business (and a profession). Treat it like one. Go work for a contractor for a while - that will help change your perspective. Don't be sentimental, don't be stupid, don't be weak. Be a professional and demand to get paid like one. The rest will take care of itself. Don't be afraid to start your own business either - if you aren't sure that you have the ability to do it what good is a PE, really?

That's it - congratulations to all who passed.

I believe the problem is bigger than your assumption. If engineers are sheepish, then they need to have powerful representation because you can't single out an engineer and ask him/her to stand up for the pay he or she deserves. It's just nonsense. The problem, as told from my college professor, is that it's the power set forth by those that represent the field in congress. It's over my head, but it certainly is a commodity currently. If the NSPE was a required fee/membership after obtaining the P.E. (much like it is for teachers), then there would be an organized representation for engineers on a national level. BUT, I'm not one to promote unions. Just take a look at the UAW-terrible union.

[Rant on]: Tell me why a guy can spend two freaking years in an IT vocational building with a half-baked effort and make $75k/yr. It's rediculous. I've only been able to crack $66k/yr and I've been out of school for 8.5 years now. Now M.S., but I passed the civil P.E. with relative ease about 2 years ago. [Rant off]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow dannybopper, how do you really feel? I agree that it would be moronic to walk in to your boss's office and demand a raise for passing the PE. I think between the raise for passing the PE and the promotion I received (which I was elegible for only with the PE) I received about an 8% raise last year. Plus my annual merit increase and I had a total raise of about 15% last year all within a couple of months. Most big consulting firms pay market value, which means whatever the same position down the street is getting paid. To pay more means they have to have higher billing rates to make up for the payroll burden, which means they get less work, which means they have an unsustainable business model. With my firm, the only salary negotiations that occur are when you threaten to quit and that ain't a good idea right now. And I can honestly say that they pay better than most similar firms, not so much more as to be unsustainable, but more to be the empoyer of choice and attract the best talent. We as engineers are a commodity profession. If you don't like it I would choose another career.

its just that the whole premise of the topic is dumb. if engineers are so bad at negotiations, and an engineer is most likely the person you are going to negotiate with, then what? it is dumb and i just dont like when people generalize things and try to get people all fired up. he came accross as almost a union type rant.

basically it comes down to this. you are paid based on performance. if you are worth $50k a year to the company, then they are going to pay you $50k. if you are busting your hump and bringing in work and are worth $150k, then they are going to pay you $150k. of course there are exceptions to the rule, but this is generally how it works. Having a PE doesnt make you any more productive or valuable to your firm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to be one of those "it all depends" types but really it does.

If you're in a big company then I would expect an increase.

If you're in a small company then advancement in the company could be more beneficial.

My theory about work is: "make yourself essential, and then they can't afford to be without you".

But I'm young so I have plenty of time to work out the details with the company I work for ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hate to be one of those "it all depends" types but really it does.

If you're in a big company then I would expect an increase.

If you're in a small company then advancement in the company could be more beneficial.

My theory about work is: "make yourself essential, and then they can't afford to be without you".

But I'm young so I have plenty of time to work out the details with the company I work for ;)

I totally agree with you on that one. :thumbs:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...