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Have you ever wondered in which countries engineers make the most money? A fair question and one that's not a simple one to answer.
From the off engineers tend to benefit from some of the highest wages of any career choice out there. But could you be underselling yourself by staying and working in your nation of origin?
Of course, it's not all about money and some feel more comfortable staying and working in their home nation. After all, it's very difficult to leave your family and friends for long periods of time.
But if you are brave enough you could find your money making potential is considerably higher further afield.
In the following article, we'll see if engineering careers are worth all the hard work, which disciplines tend to make the most and in which countries engineers tend to make the most money.
Is an Engineering Degree worth it?
In short yes, and some. Engineering positions tend to always feature in the top ten highest paying careers.
This is good news as all that hard work, blood, sweat and tears during your undergraduate and postgraduate studies had better pay off. And now is a good time to be getting into engineering-related career paths as the job market is pretty healthy.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, Mining, Construction, and Manufacturing industries are currently enjoying a period of strong growth. 415,000 positions were added in 2016 in the Healthcare industry alone in the U.S.
Engineering graduates also enjoy very high recruitment levels post graduation which is in stark contrast to many humanities graduates. But is pursuing a career in Engineering actually worth all the hassle?
Much like driving a car your degree is just the first test. Once you've graduated you will need to bolster your courage for a lifetime of stress, steep learning curves but, ultimately, one of the most rewarding careers one could choose.
But, of course, like any career, there will be highs and lows. Although many Engineers tend to love what they do working conditions can get on top of them.
On the whole, most disgruntled engineers report that they have, or are tempted to, quit their job because of a few common issues. These include not getting on with the boss, long commutes, stupid working hours, not potential for advancement.
Which Engineers earn the most?
Before we look into the countries that tend to offer the most money for engineers, we thought it might be useful to explore those disciplines of engineering that tend to pay the most.
After all, engineering is something of an umbrella term that encompasses many different industries, specializations and, of course, competition for employment.
The following are the top twenty highest paid engineering jobs. This data comes courtesy of typeofengineering.com .
The website compiled data from the US. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled with self-reported data from Universities, Forbes Magazine, US News & World Report, and reputable Engineering associations, such as the National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
As interesting as this is, it must be borne in mind that these figures are just a snapshot in time. They don't, for example, capture potentially future trends in their respective industries.
Some disciplines, like Petroleum Engineering, are highly paid at present but future employment could be affected by changes in the supply and demand of hydrocarbons around the world.
So long as consumption remains at least comparable to today, as well as reserves, this should be a lucrative choice for the near future.
But there is another interesting consideration with fields like Petroleum Engineering. It is predicted that many current employees are set to retire over the next ten years.
This will certainly affect the demand for 'new blood', likely inflating offered salaries far in excess of current rates.
Computer engineering is another field that might not be fairly represented in this data. It is a relatively new discipline in engineering with some claiming it is currently under-supplied with labor.
Of course, the future could see a dramatic reduction in wages as more and more new graduates flood the market over the next few years given its current popularity for undergraduates.
It should also be noted the quickest growing area is computer software engineering rather computer hardware.
That's before we even begin to consider the potential impacts of Artificial Intelligence over the next few decades. But just like the Industrial Revolution as old jobs are destroyed but new forms of employment rush in to fill the void.
Which countries pay Engineers the most?
As we have seen incomes for Engineers vary depending on what field of expertise they pursue.
Petroleum Engineering, for example, is generally the best paid with Civil and Mechanical Engineers roughly equatable but paid 1.7 times less then Petroleum Engineers on average in the U.S.
Despite this, engineering careers tend to rank very high on any list of highest-paying bachelor degrees.
Most new graduates in the U.S. can expect entry-level incomes of around $63,000 which makes the U.S. second only to Sweden for expected engineering incomes for recent graduates.
This figure comes from a recent report by a Stockholm-based employer branding firm, Universum.
Universum derived their results from their analysis of 277,590 engineering students in 57 countries during September of 2017 they uncovered some interesting information,
Another study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers discovered that Electrical Engineering seems to be the most in-demand engineering degree. They found that the average salary in 2016 was around $73,078.
Compiling information from various sources a recent CNBC article found that the top three countries for engineering students are:-
1. Switerzland - With an average expected income of around $79,243 a year;
2. The United States of America - With an average expected income of $62,948 per annum and;
3. Denmark - With an average expected income of $61,235 per year.
For comparison, they also found the countries with the lowest average expected salaries for engineers. These are:-
1. Vietnam with an average expected income of $6,397 per year and;
2. Egypt with an average expected income of $7,458 a year.
This sounds like a massive discrepancy between the top three and bottom two but remember living expenses in Egypt and Vietnam will be considerably lower than Switzerland or the U.S.
It's not how much you make but how much you keep
Something rarely, if ever, considered when it comes to higher earnings is factoring in living costs of countries you might decide to work in.
After taxes, bills, and other expenses your initially hefty income could make little difference to your quality of life.
Higher incomes tend to attract heftier tax brackets, sometimes as high as 60% or more above a certain threshold depending on where you are domiciled.
This varies widely from country to country and you should always bear this in mind before accepting a position.
After all, you wouldn't want to be pushed into a higher bracket (link to UK example) and be worse off then idling just below it and having relatively more money in your pocket.
Often employers might offer you other benefits like generous holiday allowances, pensions, flexi-time, healthcare etc that might be more valuable than an extra 10% in take-home pay.
Another thing to consider is broadening your horizons and considering working and living abroad. In an ideal world, it's best to earn in strong currencies like Dollars but spend in weaker currencies like the Turkish Lira for example.
In these circumstances, your income might not be as high as in the continental U.S. but as your expenditure is considerably lower you will be left with much more disposable income per month. Who knows you might even have enough to save and/or invest...
Working remotely or overseas is becoming more and more popular today and for good reasons. Obviously, you'll want to check your tax liabilities from country to country but most have bilateral tax agreements between them to prevent dual/double taxation.
Obviously, we are not financial experts and you should seek professional advice on any issues discussed above.
Working overseas also exposes you to new and exciting cultures and has other benefits including boosting your CV and skills.
Of course, this is not always possible nor desirable for many but its something to consider when evaluating potential jobs to apply for.