Civil engineers help oversee public construction projects such as bridges, roads, and utility plants. Their duties include designing, inspecting and approving construction on these projects. In the United States, the civil engineer salary averages at $87,490 per year. Civil engineers earn between C$43,091 ($32,557 USD) and C$99,840 ($75,433 USD) in Canada, £24,000 ($29,489 USD) and £80,000 ($98,296 USD) in the United Kingdom and AU$50,504 ($36,843 USD) and AU$107,684 ($78,555 USD) per year in Australia. Salaries range between CHF54,000 ($53,061 USD) and CHF99,996 ($98,257 USD) in Switzerland. The average pay for civil engineers in Norway stands at NOK500,004 ($58,570 USD) per year.
Civil Engineer Salary Influencers
Factors such as the work sector, experience and seniority of position can shape the earnings of civil engineers. Generally, pay rises with more experience and management responsibilities. Further, certain skills also influence salaries. For example, according to PayScale, civil engineers in Canada with skills in using “AutoDesk AutoCAD 3d” earned four percent above the national average. PayScale reports that civil engineers in Australia with project coordinating skills were paid 13 percent above the national average.
A mix of private and government sector employers fill positions for civil engineers. For example, approximately 46 percent of civil engineers in the United States work in engineering services firms. Federal, state and local government agencies combined to employ nearly three in 10 civil engineers in the United States. Typically, private sector firms may offer higher salaries than government employers who may be limited by the availability of public funds or budget priorities.
2. Geographical Area
Civil Engineer Salary in the US
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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that civil engineers had an average annual salary of $87,490 as of May 2015. Those in the top 10 percent of earners made above $129,850, while one in four earned above $104,730 per year. However, within “Oil and Gas Extraction” sector was found the highest average salary, at $130,750.
Civil Engineer Salary in Canada
According to PayScale, civil engineers in Canada earned on average C$62,863. Total pay ranged from C$43,091 and C$99,840 annually.
Civil Engineer Salary in the UK
The pay for civil engineers in the United Kingdom runs between £24,000 and £80,000 per year, as reported by the National Careers Service.
Civil Engineer Salary in Australia
In Australia, the average salary, as reported by PayScale, is AU$71,396. Pay runs between AU$50,504 and AU$107,684 per year.
Civil Engineer Salary in Switzerland
Salary Explorer reports that civil engineers in Switzerland earn an average of CHF6,517 per month. This translates to CHF78,204 per year. The minimum salary stands at CHF4,500 and the maximum was reported as CHF8,333. On an annual basis, the range is CHF54,000 to CHF99,996.
Civil Engineer Salary in Norway
According to Salary Explorer, the average salary for Norwegian civil engineers stands at NOK41,667 per month, or NOK500,004 per year. Statistics Norway reports that professionals in engineering and related services earn NOK61,900 per month or NOK742,800 annually.
In Canada, salaries generally rose consistently with experience. PayScale reports that entry-level civil engineers in Canada start at C$58,000. In the five-to-ten year interval, pay ranged from C$73,000 to C$86,000. Those in their late career, or with more than 20 years experience, earned C$102,000 per year.
As “starters,” civil engineers in the United Kingdom make £24,000. Those in the “Experienced” category earned from £25,000 to £40,000, while “highly experienced engineers,” or “senior chartered engineers” made from £50,000 to £80,000.
For civil engineers in Australia, entry-level experience translates to a starting salary of AU$68,000, rising to AU$80,000 by year five. Those with at least 10 years of experience average AU$100,000, with “late-career” civil engineers (more than 20 years of experience) earning on average AU$110,000 per year.
According to PayScale, entry-level engineers in Switzerland averaged about CHF60,000 in pay.
Civil engineering is a full-time occupation, with these professionals often working over 40 hours per week. The average work week for civil engineers in Australia lasts 43.9 hours, compared to 40.2 hours for all occupations overall. In the United States, approximately one-quarter of civil engineers logged over 40 hours of work per week.
In order to monitor projects, civil engineers often work outside the office and may work beyond traditional office hours. Civil engineers who work in government may travel to inspect construction for compliance with governmental regulations, deadlines, and standards. In some cases, after-hours emergencies at job sites or public facilities may necessitate the availability of civil engineers to offer solutions or oversight.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
According to PayScale, bonuses for civil engineers in the United States range from $255.90 to $9,671 on an annual basis. Additionally, in Canada, bonuses reached as high as C$11,475, according to PayScale. In Australia, civil engineers earned bonuses up to AU$10,161. Statistics Norway reports that those performing engineering activities had average monthly bonuses of NOK1,500 or NOK18,000 per year.
Generally, firms and government agencies in the United States and Canada determine the pension and other benefits for employment. Normally, civil engineers employed by governmental agencies have time off for federal or state-recognized holidays.
In Australia, Switzerland and Norway salaried civil engineers are entitled to paid holidays and paid leave up to four weeks per year. Moreover, Australian civil engineers have their retirement funded through superannuation or contributions by employers. In Switzerland, employees receive benefits through a three-tier system. The first two levels combine “Old Age and Survivors’ Insurance” and mandatory employer contributions and afford civil engineers retirement benefits equal to 60 percent of their earnings. In the third pillar, contributions by employers are voluntary.
Norwegian law affords civil engineers occupational insurance and pension.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an eight-percent rise in employment of civil engineers by 2024 which translates to 23,500 additional jobs. According to the Australian Government, an estimated 10,001 to 25,000 positions should be open through November 2015. Moreover, opportunities may abound in certain regions as there were 43,000 civil engineers in Australia as of November 2015.
The need of agencies to replace aging and outdated infrastructure, build new roads and plants to accommodate traffic and population and undertake environmentally-sustainable action will drive the demand for civil engineers. Additionally, construction companies and other clients will rely on civil engineers to procure necessary permits from environmental and other government agencies and ensure that projects meet environmental laws and regulations.
However, budgetary constraints may suppress construction projects and the use of civil engineers. For a complete overview of the field, we suggest you read about the structural engineer salary, as well.
To conclude, civil engineers will have solid job prospects as infrastructure upgrades and replacements are needed and planned. With government regulations and standards comes the need for government-employed engineers to enforce them and privately-employed engineers to ensure compliance. Generally, more experience, skills in project management or coordination and employment in the private sector can bring higher compensation.