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2018 Microwaves & RF Salary & Career Report: Engineering Culture

The final part of our annual survey tackles engineering culture within the RF/microwave industry, and it reveals some interesting perspectives from various respondents.

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In this article, the fifth and final installment of our annual Microwaves & RF Salary & Career Report, we investigate the topic of engineering culture. What is the culture like among companies in the RF/microwave industry? And what did respondents have to say about the matter? Let’s go to the results.

About 31% of respondents said they strongly agree with the statement, “My company’s culture aligns with its stated values.” About 38% said they somewhat agree, while 22% reported that they neither agree nor disagree. On the other side of the fence, approximately 6% of respondents said they somewhat disagree, while about 3% strongly disagreed with the statement.

The good news here is that the majority do believe that their company lives up to the values it declares. Nonetheless, what changes would respondents want to make to their company’s culture? This question elicited some interesting responses. One respondent said, “I would make our company a leader in research and development again instead of a company chasing the latest trend to maximize the dollar at the expense of industry leadership.”

And while about 50% of those responding reported that the chief executive or other senior leadership is responsible for fostering the culture at their company, not all are fully satisfied when it comes to executive and senior management. One respondent stated, “Executive and senior management should get more connected to teams and individual employees as we continue to grow.”

Others spoke about their desire for changes at the top level, explaining how they would like to see management cultivate an environment that encourages creativity. “The decision-making process is very top down,” said one respondent. “There is not much autonomy among the ranks—and I believe this stifles creativity and innovation. Management needs to trust that professionals can do their jobs and give people a little leeway to make decisions on their own projects and products.”

Another respondent would like to see “better management principles and an understanding of risk/reward principles,” as well as “the avoidance of micromanagement and an understanding of how to encourage creative thinking.” And yet another remarked, “We should create a culture where employees are treated with respect and allowed to make contributions rather than being driven from 'top down.'”

Furthermore, one respondent shared this perspective, “I sometimes feel like engineers are commodity items and are not treated like people. It's all about the bottom line, and while as an MBA graduate, I totally understand the business case, it’s hard to watch my coworkers get replaced entirely based on cost. It violates a stated value of being an asset to our communities around the world.”

In the end, while some would certainly like to see changes, about 88% of respondents did report that they are proud of the company they work for. Of course, not all is perfect, but such a high percentage suggests that the majority of those in the industry feel relatively good about where they work. And if that’s the case, companies have done a pretty good job creating a positive culture.

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