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In February, 2018, I ran a salary survey. There were 1142 useful responses (i.e., properly-filled out form, non-hobbyists, etc.). Here's a summary of the results. This is not a scientific survey! No tests were performed to ensure the accuracy of the data, and one would be wise to understand that participants may have confused local currency with US dollars, or to make other mistakes. Further, I've combined salary and benefits into one number, which may be confusing due to local laws. For instance, in the USA we, or our employer, pay for health insurance, while in some other countries that is a State benefit. And, oddly, the average listed value for benefits is $413, which seems so low as to be unlikely.

Other survey results:

Still, the data is interesting and paints at least a broad picture.

Salary Survey geographical distribution

We're getting older, and this trend has been significant since I started doing this survey in 2006. Here's this year's data and that for 2014:

embedded salary survey ages

In the USA, respondents reported the following figures for combined salary and benefits. Note the, in many cases, fairly significant increase over 2014:

embedded salary survey USA compensation

Regionally, a few interesting averages:

USA Average $115,454
CA $140,541
CO $116,245
FL $105,571
IL $119,298
MA $121,942
MI $112,018
PA $103,074
WA $127,453

In Canada, the figures look like this:

embedded salary survey Canada compensation

In Western Europe:

embedded salary survey Western Europe compensation


Australia and New Zealand:

embedded salary survey Australia/NZ compensation

India (only 21% had over 19 years experience):

embedded salary survey India compensation

Paid vacation days per year:

embedded salary survey vacation days

Hours worked per week:

embedded salary survey hours worked per week

9.6% of respondents work as consultants. Their hourly rates are all over the map, so this chart shows the average and the standard deviation:

embedded salary survey consulting rates

Here's the distribution of consultants' rates in the USA:

embedded salary survey consultants rates in USA

6.6% of respondents feel business is about the same as last year. 2.9% feel it's better. An astonishing 82% thinks business is "much worse than a year ago" and an additional 0.08% feel it's "worse than a year ago." Recessions seem to follow a ten-year cycle; could this be an early indicator of trouble?

Yet 29% feel the demand for engineers is about the same as last year; only 5.6% feel it will diminish. 54% expect a strong demand for engineers while only 3.5% expect their work to be offshored.

223 people left comments. A few highlights are:

  • Ageism is starting to catch up with me - opportunities seem to evaporate despite exact qualification.

  • At my job we are developing embedded software using C++11 and there are exceedingly few resources on how to develop embedded systems using modern C++. We try to stick to industry best practices, but a lot of the time there is a lack of standards (or even discussion) regarding parts of C++ that are now 7+ years old. I would love to see more discussion and use of modern C++ in the embedded community.

  • Canada still has a huge brain drain problem across the tech sector, embedded is no different. If a new grad can almost double their salary by heading down to the US on a NAFTA visa - well, why wouldn't they? There is also a far better VC ecosystem in the US for tech. Until those circumstances change, I don't really see growth potential for capital-intensive startups like hardware and embedded in Canada.

  • Employer has done three layoff in previous ten years; where each reduction ends with more responsibilities and less pay. And no one in San Diego County is hiring permanent employees that are over age 55. Should have quit and migrated to the east coast during early 00s to escape this 'cult of youth'. Perfect 20/20 hind-sight...

  • Engineering these days seems to consist of working out the right things to search for and then knowing enough to tell the rubbish answers from the good ones.

  • Everyone wants connected Cloud/IoT.

  • Everything Changing So Fast Fast, Super Competition At Home And From Outside, Cheap Products From China.

  • Have made significant salary sacrifice to be able to work more from home office. It's worth every penny and employers should offer it more. Also gave up any kind of managerial responsibility. Just because you can do something well doesn't mean you should, when you don't enjoy it. Does not mean I don't mentor junior engineers. That's just something you owe your younger self.

  • I generally enjoy my job, but get frustrated trying to find resources to learn more about software and hardware design philosophies. I wish that I had more exposure to other microcontroller suppliers beyond the one we use at work to possibly become a consultant some day.

  • I have been trying to fill an embedded engineer job at my company for the last 3 months. I think there is a real shortage, based on the lack of good candidates and higher salary requirements that some candidates wanted, but we could not justify. Good news, we interviewed a person yesterday who hopefully we can get to join our team.

  • I have cut down on staying up to date with technology. My management is not interested in new technology in our products.

  • I'm lucky to be working for a good company. ,

  • In the UK I expect the Brexit schizophrenia* to escalate, with employers screaming that they can't recruit foreign talent, yet completely ignoring the talent on their doorstep within the country. *Schizophrenia: abnormal social behavior and failure to understand reality, including false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking. Pretty well describes the UK employment/Brexit situation.

  • Love what I do, but the work/life balance has really gone to hell, over the last fifteen years: business expectations have become increasingly unrealistic.

  • More and More Hardware Design Engineer jobs available here in Belgium which seem not to get filled in easily. Seems the market is in search for more Electronic Hardware design engineers here in Belgium.

  • My knowledge doesn't matter, only my age. I'm being pushed out, but not kicked out yet because my employer has more work than personnel. I'll be let go as soon as the staffing matches the work.

  • Other countries teach computer science and technology much better than the USA. I have 2 bright sons who absolutely think what I do is boring. They have no interest in software or technical details of hardware. I do mostly embedded software, but not hardware design although I interface with plenty of hardware. Most of the new kids out of school know little about how a computer actually works. Only the high level interfaces and languages.

  • Still see strong demand for embedded software & hardware in the US. IoT hype and positive market conditions have certainly helped.

  • The field is evolving too fast. I once had time to keep abreast of trends and changes. To experiment. Now I am focused on completing projects with two to three week turn around times (or at least that is how much time I get as I hopscotch from one job to the next). Heaven help me if I get something wrong. Some customers are not forgiving of missed dead lines.

  • There is NO quality left in the world!!