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Re:  Salary Surveys

Other than government agencies and *very* large firms that have fixed
salary schedules, I think that most firms *exaggerate* when responding
to such surveys.

Also, does the survey ask for salaries or wages?  Wages are what are
on the W-2 form; salaries can be interpreted as "Salary Cost" which
includes vacation, sick leave, social security contributions,
unemployment insurance, workman's compensation insurance, medical and
dental benefits and all other "costs" which can be associated with a
person's employment.

One survey that flies in the face of the salary survey is the survey
that reports billings per technical employee.  Ones that I have seen
show that civil firms have an average billing of about $130,000 per
technical employee; structural firms have an average billing of
$75,000 per technical employee.  If we consider the $130,000 billing
and divide it by 2.5, a typical multiplier for overhead, we would get
an average of $52,000 for salary cost for each technical employee. 
Dividing this by 1.4 (representing benefits and mandatory employee
contributions), shows the average wage for a civil engineer is about
$37,000 a year.  Do the same thing with the billing for structural
firms, and the wage becomes very small.  This is assuming that all
clerical and non-technical personnel as well as principals' salaries
come out of "overhead."

I have found that for a sole practitioner, that no matter how hard you
work, or how many hours you work, it is damn hard to have your
billable hours equal or be more than 50 percent of the 2080 hours of
non-overtime work a year.  Even at a hypothetical billing of $100.00
an hour, that would be a maximum of $100,000 a year, which divided by
2.5 would be equivalent to a salary cost of $40,000.  Still a far cry
from the *average* of $60,000.

Also remember that in 1969, NSPE modified their constitution to permit
membership by "engineers qualified but not registered," which is when
I resigned from NSPE.  Does this salary survey include these
"qualified but not registered" (whatever that can be) individuals?

A. Roger Turk, P.E. (Structural)
Tucson, Arizona   

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Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team

The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.