Canadian Consulting Engineer

Salary survey shows consulting engineering sector paying well

November 28, 2008
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Two engineering salary surveys have been published that show engineers are doing fairly well compared to the g...

Two engineering salary surveys have been published that show engineers are doing fairly well compared to the general economic trends.  In particular, B.C. engineers’ salaries are rising above the infaltion rate.  And in Ontario, engineers in the consulting engineering sector are enjoying higher salaries than in some other engineering fields.

First, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) conducted a compensation survey and compared it to the last survey in 2006. It found that on average the median compensation for members had increased by well above Canada’s annual inflation rate. Salaries had gone up 7.4% from 2006 to 2008 on average, or 3.7% annually, which was more than 32.6% higher than the inflation rate.

According to the survey, the 2008 median base salary for B.C. professional engineers is $94,500, and the total median compensation is $102,700.

For a professional geologist, the median base salary is $92,000, while for an individual who is both a professional engineer and geologist, the median salary is $118,230.


According to the B.C. survey it pays to become a licensed professional.  Median pay levels in 2008 are 65% more for a P.Eng. compared to those for an EIT (engineer in training).  Similarly a P.Geo earns around 55% more than a GIT (geologist in training) based on median pay levels.

APEGBC members in the Peace River region had the highest median total annual compensation in the province.

For full details, see Innovation, September/October 2008.

Meanwhile, a survey done by Mercer Consulting with the Ontario Society for Professional Engineers (OSPE) yielded some interesting results.

The Employer Compensation Survey looked at compensation data for 2008 for nearly 15,300 engineers, employed by 177 organizations in both the private and public sector, across six engineering responsibility levels.

The differences in pay across the different primary industries were significant. Consulting Services was one of the top three industry sectors, with an average compensation level of around $95,000. The top paying industry was the “Non-Durable Manufacturing” sector which includes oil and gas companies. Second highest was “Other Industries,” which involves the resources and metals mining sector.

The lowest three of the six sectors measured were “Durable Manufacturing,” “Transportation” and “Public Sector & Not-for-Profit.”

Engineers who work in Sarnia, Ottawa and Mississauga had the highest base salaries, while those who work in Guelph, Hamilton and Kitchener/Waterloo had the lowest base salaries.

The survey found that median base salary increases for most engineering levels have outpaced the increase in Ontario’s Consumer Price Index.

The increase at the lowest responsibility levels for 2007-2008 was by far the highest, at 4.5%. Taken across all levels, the mean base salary for engineers has increased by an average of 2.8%. However, this was less than the increase between 2006-2007, which was 3.4%.

The survey found that taken as a whole, compensation for engineers at all levels still “lags that of general industry.” The discrepancy ranges from 5% to 23% at the highest levels.

A free copy of the Member Market Compensation Summary is available online at


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