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Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsEngineering · 2 months ago

Is $55k low for an Electrical Designer?

I'm 25 and I've been an Electrical Designer at my first job out of college since June 2019. My one coworker, our senior-most Electrical Designer, has worked for the company for 16 years and has either designed every electrical system or provided the heavy basis for every electrical system that gets completed by someone else. However, he only makes $2.15/hr more than I do. We are Salary Non-Exempt, but even so, I only made $55k last year. The company does not pay annual raises like a lot of other companies do, which many believe is attributed to our top-heavy executive team (i.e. 2 executives are over a grand total of 16 people). 3 of our other 5 executives come from engineering backgrounds, but it seems they still don't understand how to do right by their senior engineering staff. My department has yet to retain a second Electrical Designer for 2 years (I'll be the first this year).


I have a BS in Electrical Engineering, with 2 co-ops. Our senior-most Electrical Designer also has a Bachelors in Engineering.

Update 2:

We do get cost of living (i.e. $0.03 every 4 months or so), but that's it.

6 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    Do not tell anyone you work with, but update your resume and start looking for a new job.  Decide what you want to do that is different from what you are doing now, and look for that.  If you just want more money, look for that.  If you live in a small town in say Kansas or Nebraska, your salary may be just fine.  In an urban area it is not that strong. 

  • ?
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Depends on where you live.

    I was making about that when I first started doing Electrical Design, but the cost of living where I live is very low (and there are no state taxes).  The sales tax here is 9% though.

  • Adam D
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Without knowing where you are, I would say that isn't too low for someone right out of school with only a year of experience, but your pay should continually improve in engineering.  It doesn't seem like there's much room for that with the company you're at.

  • 2 months ago

    The turnover tells you they are not paying market salaries.  Our starting salary for a new engineer is $56,500, but there are annual pay raises on the order of 3-4% and a bonus.

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  • 2 months ago

    The IEEE publishes a salary survey every year and it is broken down by degree, experience, and locality.  I'd first look at that.  Salaries will vary according to where you reside and work, but I'd have to say the number you quote sounds a bit low at least for the Maryland - Washington, D.C. - northern Virginia region.

    The fact that you are salaried but you can quote an hourly pay rate is  red flag, as well as the fact that there is no evidence of pay raises even for cost of living adjusments.  You can probably do better somewhere else.

  • Bill
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    The only way to be sure is to apply for other jobs and see what offers you get.  

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