The engineering profession may feel undervalued but pay in the sector is rising faster than inflation and engineers have been officially ranked in the top category of the Government’s new social classes.
Although not in the highest ranking alongside company directors and bank managers, professional engineers are ranked among ‘high professionals’ in 1B, which includes doctors, lawyers, dentists and airline pilots.
Teachers, social workers and librarians are in the same group. Under the previous 9-level government classification, engineers were in Class 2.
The new job classifications were published on the same day as a survey showing that chartered engineers’ pay rose by an average of 5.1% last year to a new average of over £42,000.
Jobs with ‘engineer’ in the title crop up elsewhere in the new social-class pecking order, with the inference being that these are not part of the engineering profession, a distinction that bodies like the Engineering Council have been seeking to promote.
In Class 3, examples of typical occupations cited include computer engineers and precision instrument makers.
In Class 5 is a group known as ‘TV engineers’ those who repair, rather than design television sets.
A spokesman for the Engineering Council (EC) described the new classifications as ‘good positive stuff’ which reinforced the messages the EC had been trying to promote that engineering is a professional occupation.
Meanwhile, the EC’s pay survey covered a sample of 9,000 engineers and technicians. It showed that professional engineers’ pay rose faster than inflation over the past year.
The average pay of chartered engineers rose from £40,131 a year ago to £42,159 this year. Incorporated engineers’ pay grew 4.1% to £31,152.
Earnings of engineering technicians rose slightly to £26,453.
‘Engineers’ pay and prospects are in the premier league among the professions,’ said Malcolm Shirley, director general of the EC.