As a complement to the 2013 income survey of salaried engineers, we wanted to learn more about perceptions of the working conditions of engineers in the public and private sectors.
We asked engineers to select three elements from a list that they felt were the most important (because three elements were considered, the sum of the averages exceeds 100%).
Table 1 : Relative importance of different factors for engineers in the private and public sectors
In order, public sector engineers selected :
1.working on interesting projects (61%);
2.working conditions and above average salary (47%);
3.the feeling of professional accomplishment (37%).
Private sector engineers showed a similar proportion when it came to :
1.working on interesting projects (63%);
2. the feeling of professional accomplishment (40%);
3.having a higher than average salary (39%).
Public sector engineers felt more strongly than private sector engineers when it came to having better than average working conditions (47% vs. 33%) and a competitive retirement plan (22% vs. 7%) and lastly, believing in the organizations' mission (18% vs. 12%).
Private sector engineers however felt that it was more important to have a higher than average salary (39% vs. 24%) and have regular advancement possibilities (15% vs. 9%).
Whether working in the public or private sectors, engineers value working on interesting projects and the feeling of professional accomplishment. Public sector engineers value having better than average working conditions whereas engineers in the private sector value having a higher than average income.