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Re: Salary Survey

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I chose to become a civil/structural engineer because of my love for the
subject, particularly structural analysis and design.  That was in 1967.  Now,
after all these donkey's years and, after seeing how less qualified have made
millions, I regret my decision.  This revelation has dawned on me during the
past six or seven years only( I came to USA about 11 years ago).  I still enjoy
structural engineering, but contrary to what most motivational speakers say,
money is, at least, an equally driving force apart from job satisfaction.

Seems to me that there are only two ways (legally and morally) to make more
money than being employed with some one.  One is based on volume sales, such as
having your own small company and making money off of somebody's efforts. Don't
get me wrong, as a owner of company you have to slog too, but your efforts will
be well compensated.  I know two of my contemporaries who have made enough
money in ten years that they have started thinking of retirement.  The second,
is to make money off of other's helpless or unavoidable situations.  For
example, lawyers and doctors.  To this class may be added sportspersons, actors
etc.  Just look at all those that are prepared to spend a great deal of money
to watch a game or a show.  As an individual engineer, civil/structural in
particular, one does not have any of the above advantages.  Why, even amongst
companies, some resort to absorbing losses for some time to drive some other
smaller companies out of the market.  You don't see that among doctors.  Within
a town and within a reasonable perimeter from it, all doctors charge about the
same fees.

But, I suppose that is the characteristic of a free market economy.  However, I
don't believe there is better alternative to free market economy.


Steve Strapac wrote:

> Some general questions for the group:
> I was not financially able to practice Structural engineering out of
> college, the salaries available for the jobs available were 1/2 to 2/3 what
> I make in Construction Management. So I'm not "close" to the field. Of all
> the fields of engineering, Civil seems to pay the least, and within Civil,
> Structural engineering seems to pay the least. This fact hit home when I
> got a call from a friend of mine from school who went on to get a Masters
> in Structural Eng. at Stanford, a year after finishing grad school, he quit
> and went to work for Dean Whitter.. as a stock broker (He hasn't even paid
> off his college loan. He explained that he looked at his mentors, and what
> they had accomplished, and he realized that in current dollars, he could
> expect to max out at $70k/year when he retired, in Los Angeles. With all
> the license requirements, etc., why don't structural engineers earn
> significantly more?
> Why do they bill "per job" vs. attorneys (accountants too?) who bill per
> hour? It seems as if you are all in a race to bid yourselves out of
> existence!?
> Is there an organized effort to rectify this?
> Steve Strapac, P.E.