The 1,659 engineers surveyed in Microwaves & RF’s 2015 Salary Survey present an interesting outlook on the RF/microwave industry. On a positive note, the results demonstrate a relatively stable industry, as 89.2% expect their company to maintain or increase hiring in the coming year. In addition, 87.9% of respondents said their job title had remained the same within the last year. But those surveyed did voice other concerns.
New technologies and developments require engineers to remain updated. However, a common issue is the challenge to find the time needed to stay current with all the latest information. As one respondent explained, “There is a tremendous amount of helpful information online, but not enough time to utilize it.”
Outsourcing is also another major topic of discussion among engineers, with 51.4% of respondents saying that their company does indeed outsource engineering work. The primary reasons for outsourcing vary, but cost savings as well as the lack of highly specialized in-house skills appear to be prevalent factors. Personal opinions of outsourcing are quite varied. Some point out its potential negative effects, while others believe it can actually reap benefits. Outsourcing causes some concern among engineers, such as the erosion of skills and experience from a company. However, some also believe that outsourcing can allow a company to focus on its core competencies. As one respondent said, “Outsourcing is what allows us to focus all our efforts on the core design. It increases our know-how in the areas that the company has decided not to outsource.”
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The actual quality of outsourced work was also mentioned. “Outsourcing can be beneficial. But sometimes the work done outside of the company does not meet the quality standards and has to be redone in-house. This negates the time and money saved by outsourcing,” according to one respondent. This demonstrates that companies must be careful when deciding where to outsource their work.
Despite the concerns, 89.3% of respondents would recommend engineering as a career path to a young person. A major reason for the high percentage is the rewarding work that an engineering career can provide. Engineers also mentioned the opportunities to express innovative ideas and solve problems. In addition, respondents cited good compensation as another reason why they would recommend an engineering career.
In general, the RF/microwave industry appears to look positive, with 88.3% of respondents saying they are satisfied in their current position. Engineers also reported an average base salary of $100,657, with 66.7% saying they felt adequately compensated for their work. Overall, the industry appears to be in good shape. Engineers remain well compensated for their innovative and challenging work—and with a generally high level of job satisfaction, the profession should remain strong for the foreseeable future.
Technical Editor Chris DeMartino wrote this report. Data conducted and compiled by Jay McSherry.
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