Salary structures not a deterrent, says EEF

Research shows executive pay on a par with other sectors

Engineering employers have dismissed claims by analysts at PA Consulting that poor pay structures are hindering attempts to lure skilled executives and managers into engineering.

The Engineering Employers’ Federation said it was a `myth that engineering is poorly paid’. It was backed up by research group Incomes Data Services (IDS), which said engineering executive pay was not significantly out of line with other sectors.

IDS figures show that in FTSE 100 companies, median engineering chief executive pay is £674,000, 9.2% higher than the overall figure. Median engineering director pay in the same category is £397,000 – 10% higher.

Chief executives of FTSE-250 engineering companies earned just above the median, but for directors of such companies, median pay was 11% lower, at £204,000.

David Dewhirst, head of PA’s Midlands practice, defended his findings: `Many vacancies in the manufacturing sector require specialist knowledge of modern world-class manufacturing, enterprise resource planning and CAD/CAM.

`There is a scarcity of directors and managers with knowledge in these and other areas. They need to be lured out of their positions with higher salaries and improved incentives, ideally with an equity stake.’

An EEF spokesman disagreed with the findings, but accepted PA’s claims might be true in some cases.

The Engineering Council has compiled figures from member surveys showing that average chartered engineers’ pay in 1997 was more than £42,000.

This betters that of similarly qualified and experienced teachers, health professionals, accountants and solicitors, according to the Council.

Employment rates and pay were also better than the average for engineering graduates six months after graduation, it said.