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Engineering salaries dip slightly in 2016 but layoffs and cutbacks largely over

Engineering salaries dip slightly in 2016 but layoffs and cutbacks largely over

The Association of Professional Engineers and Geologists of Alberta (APEGA) released key highlights of their 2016 salary survey last week. 177 companies participated in the survey this year, as well as over 14,000 individuals, representing about 19% of registered APEGA members. The survey was conducted in May.

Following in the footsteps of other provincial regulating bodies, APEGA is no longer releasing full details to the general public or even its own members. The purchase price for the full report is now $500, but participating companies will receive a complementary PDF copy. Previous editions, which used to be free, are now only available for purchase. However, the association has made a short summary available to the general public. 

Although it's no surprise the mood is a lot more sombre this year, there are some signs that the full brunt of the oil price shock is largely over. The survey did reveal some interesting statistics.

Expect employment levels and salaries to hold stead this year

  • 36% of companies expect to increase salaries by an average of 2.6% this year
  • 57% of companies are freezing compensation in 2016
  • 31% of companies expect to hire, while 63% are holding current staffing levels
  • Only 6% of companies expect more layoffs this year.

The May survey provides a stark contrast to data from just a few years ago. In 2014, 95% of companies were planning pay increases in the order of 3.6%. Over 70% of companies were expecting to hire across all experience levels.

Note that participating companies tend to be more heavily weighted towards large corporations. Survey results may under-report salary and job cuts in smaller firms, which are a lot more sensitive to downturns in the economy.

Oil & Gas Exploitation remains the best paying sector

Engineering and geoscientists working for energy producers remain the best paid in the province, with total compensation ranging from $62,000 for co-op students and interns (level A-) up to $495,000 for senior executives (level F+). Base salaries range from about $80,000 for new graduates up to $270,000 per year for upper level managers.

 

ANNUAL BASE PAY FOR ENGINEERS ACROSS ALL SECTORS (COURTESY APEGA)

 

Salaries have dipped slightly from last year, but not by much. The base salary range in 2015 was $81,500 for new graduates employed in oil & gas exploitation, up to $264,000 for senior managers.

Across the different sectors, those with 10 to 30 years of experience seems to have been the most impacted by pay cuts.

ENGINEERING SALARIES (COURTESY APEGA)

GEOSCIENCE SALARIES (COURTESY APEGA)

Small differences between the genders starting to show

It's no secret that engineering tends to be a male-dominated field, with men accounting for over 80% of APEGA members. Male and female engineers and geoscientists in Alberta had comparable salaries in previous years. However, male engineers came out slightly ahead this past year, especially at the senior management level.

2015 BASE SALARY FOR ENGINEERS

2016 BASE SALARY FOR ENGINEERS

APEGA is responsible for the regulation of engineering/geoscience practices in Alberta on behalf of the Government of Alberta through the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act

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