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2018 Microwaves & RF Salary & Career Report: Satisfaction

This article, the first in a series that will report on findings from our annual survey, examines job satisfaction within the industry.

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It’s time once again to unveil the results of the annual Microwaves & RF Salary & Career Report. Unlike past years, this year’s results will be presented in a series of articles, kicking off with this first installment. The focus of this article is job satisfaction, with the overarching question being “Are engineers in the RF/microwave industry feeling satisfied at work?” Let’s take a look at what the survey revealed.

One positive takeaway—and good news for the industry—is that only about 9% of respondents reported being dissatisfied in their current position. In addition, just 12% say they are not challenged enough with the engineering projects at their current job.

The highest-ranking factors that contribute to job satisfaction are “researching potential design solutions” and “the challenges that accompany the design of new products.” It should also be noted that compensation ranked third. Overall, it does appear that engineers in this industry are satisfied with their work and the challenges that come with it, along with the compensation they receive for what they do.

However, about 40% did say they would consider leaving the engineering profession. The two most popular reasons were to “try something different” and to “pursue other interests or opportunities.” Of course, it’s not always possible to determine just how serious a person is when saying that he or she would “consider” leaving the engineering world. In any case, the 40% who would consider a move does seem like a rather high amount, suggesting that a good number of engineers are open to a career change of some sort.

Would Engineers Recommend Engineering?

If most of today’s engineers are feeling satisfied, would they in turn recommend engineering as a career path to a young person looking to choose a profession? About 89% of respondents said they would. One remarked, “For the right person, engineering offers the opportunity to learn new things for the entire duration of your career and to be creative with that new knowledge.” Another respondent commented, “It can be a fulfilling career, but it must be managed for personal growth and fulfillment—not just for money and advancement.”

Some respondents brought up other reasons why a young person should—or should not—enter the engineering profession. One said, “It depends on the person really. If they have the personality to figure things out and be challenged, it is a great way to make a living. If you are a 9-to-5 person who just wants a paycheck to finance your way of life, then probably not.” Another respondent stated, “If one's interests lie in the sciences and math—and technology is intriguing—then I would recommend it. Don't do it for the money. Do it because you have the interest and talents. Too many people do things for the money—and it leaves you unfulfilled.”

The Verdict

So, back to the original question: “Are engineers in this industry feeling satisfied?” While some might say otherwise, the results here seem to be positive for most. As the engineering profession is surely one that offers its share of challenges, hopefully engineers already in the industry will stay in it and a new generation of engineers will be eager to enter. Stay tuned for the next chapter in our Salary & Career Report series.


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