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RE: Salary Survey

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What's wrong with $70K/year at retirement??.........move to Nebraska

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Roger Turk [SMTP:73527.1356(--nospam--at)]
> Sent:	Tuesday, May 04, 1999 07:51
> To:	seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject:	Salary Survey
> Steve,
> You ask a very good question.  I guess that Structural Engineers are not 
> smart enough to demand appropriate compensation.  You and your friend are
> not 
> the only ones to recognize this fact.
> A while back, I received a package delivery that came via UPS.  The driver
> asked what kind of engineer I was and when I replied, "Structural," he
> said 
> that he had a Civil Engineering degree.  Then he added, "Engineers don't
> get 
> paid enough."  He was smarter than the rest of us.
> Why do Civil and Structural Engineers end up at the bottom of the totem 
> pole?  I guess that it is because most of us are in private practice,
> while 
> most electrical, mechanical, aeronautical engineers work for industry.  
> Industry produces a product, and prices that product at a cost that will 
> include manufacturing, overhead and a profit.  In industry, salaries are 
> overhead, in civil and structural engineering, time and knowledge are our 
> product, and each project is sufficiently different that it is difficult
> to 
> predict how much time will be spent.  And then there is the client who 
> requests a change just as the project is being completed and can't
> understand 
> why you want extra compensation.  After all, you agreed to provide the
> plans 
> and specifications for his/her project, and nothing has changed in that 
> respect.
> How can lawyers bill on an hourly basis and we engineers can't?  Because
> you 
> are asking the lawyer to protect *your* ass, and that becomes personal,
> not 
> just business.  All we are doing is providing the client with a set of
> plans 
> from which an inanimate object will be constructed that will not, if we
> did 
> our job properly, affect the client personally.
> Is there an organized effort to rectify this salary situation?  I don't
> think 
> that there can be an organized effort or it could/would be considered 
> "restraint of trade."  I can't even ask other structural engineers what
> their 
> hourly billing rates are, yet any retailer can go into another retailer's 
> store and see what is being charged for any item.  The fee curves 
> representing average fees that were typical in the pre-1970's are ancient 
> history now because the Department of Justice, having no more serious
> crime 
> to handle, filed anti-trust suits against AIA, ASCE, NSPE and possibly 
> others.  Also removed were prohibitions against bidding, display and other
> advertising and fee cutting from codes of ethics.
> There are many ways to make money.  You have to sell something for 50
> cents 
> that *everyone* wants and costs 1/2 cent to produce.  Look at that 
> millionaire lady who designed that plastic hair thingamajig that sells for
> about $3.00 and probably costs 5 cents to manufacture and package.  The 
> building in which I have my office, a six unit strip center, was sold
> about a 
> year ago.  The buyer paid $243,000 (cash) for the building.  If all the
> units 
> are rented, she will gross about $50,000 a year  --- that's a 20 percent 
> return on her investment!  And her tenants are responsible for
> maintenance.  
> (My lease is up August 1st, and I am curious about the lease that she will
> offer.)
> I don't know whether I answered your question or not, or even if there is
> an 
> answer, but these are my thoughts on the matter.
> A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
> Tucson, Arizona
> 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.