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Thread: Any engineers here in NZ able to answer a few queries in regards to salary levels etc

  1. #1
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    Any engineers here in NZ able to answer a few queries in regards to salary levels etc

    Ok so here it goes.

    I've been employed by a company since graduating as a Site Engineer contracted as 40 hours a week and 55k a year with overtime unpaid and expected on days I'm on the site. That rate is very similar to that of many friends in office engineering jobs but I am onsite about 90% of the time and the 10% I am not is because I'm in the changeover period between jobs. I average about 40 unpaid hours overtime each month absolute minimum sometimes as high as 80 hours unpaid including when I have to travel away.

    What I want to know is a few things is anyone employed by one of the larger roaring companies as they base their salary on an engineer at 50-60 hours so would be interested to get a few figures on salary, overtime rate if any, and hours. At the moment I am the lowest paid person on site and do more hours than all bar the supervisor as I'm busy doing stuff to keep the site running in the day time and then have to stay late to finish QA.

    In person the engineering field being professionals are very quite so it's hard to gauge if I'm going to leave the industry and just write off my degree or whether it's just this company thats so bad as it's doing my head in.

    I have put in my resignation and have the first 4 months of next year planned to drive tractors and make what I make in a year currently in 4 months before I leave to Canada for 4 months. I'm undecided whether I come back to the industry or not as this company has been so bad that I'm not sure anywhere is any better.

    It's really got me down as it was effectively a wasted 4 years studying which I didn't enjoy but slogged through with good bloody grades in the end.

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stocky View Post
    Ok so here it goes.

    I've been employed by a company since graduating as a Site Engineer contracted as 40 hours a week and 55k a year with overtime unpaid and expected on days I'm on the site. That rate is very similar to that of many friends in office engineering jobs but I am onsite about 90% of the time and the 10% I am not is because I'm in the changeover period between jobs. I average about 40 unpaid hours overtime each month absolute minimum sometimes as high as 80 hours unpaid including when I have to travel away.

    What I want to know is a few things is anyone employed by one of the larger roaring companies as they base their salary on an engineer at 50-60 hours so would be interested to get a few figures on salary, overtime rate if any, and hours. At the moment I am the lowest paid person on site and do more hours than all bar the supervisor as I'm busy doing stuff to keep the site running in the day time and then have to stay late to finish QA.

    In person the engineering field being professionals are very quite so it's hard to gauge if I'm going to leave the industry and just write off my degree or whether it's just this company thats so bad as it's doing my head in.

    I have put in my resignation and have the first 4 months of next year planned to drive tractors and make what I make in a year currently in 4 months before I leave to Canada for 4 months. I'm undecided whether I come back to the industry or not as this company has been so bad that I'm not sure anywhere is any better.

    It's really got me down as it was effectively a wasted 4 years studying which I didn't enjoy but slogged through with good bloody grades in the end.

    Cheers
    Sorry not an Engineard here but i work with enough of them. How much experience do you have an what's your area IE civil? Most engineers spend quite a few years at the bottom until they crawl up the food chain (passing me still in the slime layer) and then break out into high paid jobs. Nowadays it seems like you need something more than just a simple BE to get somewhere.
    csmiffy likes this.

  3. #3
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    well if what you say is correct I am glad I didn't look at that myself. You are on less money than a tradie.
    I would suggest looking overseas. Way more big industry and equivalent pay packets. I am referring to mining and such especially in OZ.
    kiwi pay rates are junk.
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    Have you had a look at the Engineering NZ (formerly IPENZ) annual salary survey results? Probably a good place to start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulNZ View Post
    Have you had a look at the Engineering NZ (formerly IPENZ) annual salary survey results? Probably a good place to start.
    Yeh but it doesn't split office vs site jobs and a difference of 50% on the hours is significant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by csmiffy View Post
    well if what you say is correct I am glad I didn't look at that myself. You are on less money than a tradie.
    I would suggest looking overseas. Way more big industry and equivalent pay packets. I am referring to mining and such especially in OZ.
    kiwi pay rates are junk.
    I am in oz now with the company until Christmas I said I would go before they gave me the offer as they where stuck as a Site eng here was on leave and the site really needs two and it was about to have none. They wanted me to come over permanently and then offered my about half the going rate here. To keep my word I'm here til Xmas but that was the final straw that made me quit.

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    @Stocky sorry but Mate 4 years at school doesn't equate to site experience. You have to suck that up for a few years! I'm a jnr site manager now after having done an adult building apprenticeship and wanting to to further up the ladder so ive definitly been down the same path. My advice Suck it up, prove your worth, if you feel unfairly treated talk to your manager/ company owner if they dont give you valuable constructive feedback take a good hard look at yourself, if it's not you move on, if it is you and you want to change then find out what you need to change and do it.
    veitnamcam, mucko, mikee and 5 others like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 300CALMAN View Post
    Sorry not an Engineard here but i work with enough of them. How much experience do you have an what's your area IE civil? Most engineers spend quite a few years at the bottom until they crawl up the food chain (passing me still in the slime layer) and then break out into high paid jobs. Nowadays it seems like you need something more than just a simple BE to get somewhere.
    Yeh I get that the issue is usually the start out in a consultancy doing a genuine 38 to 40 hours a week averaging say $27-30 which is sweet. But I'm on site lifting hefty testing gear on a regular basis, running drill crews, overseeing concrete pours etc working usually 11 hours a day after you take out "lunch" which I usually have to work through just to keep up with the workload. And it averages out around $19 -$21 an hour if I don't work weekends i often work saturdays which I get no pay for. So then it's down to $16.50 - $18 average for the week and fuck all down time.
    Where as a basic labourer rate on our site is $24/hr. Like I get starting someone low but that's just crazy it's something they should tell you before you spend 4 years at uni because you were good at school stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blisters View Post
    @Stocky sorry but Mate 4 years at school doesn't equate to site experience. You have to suck that up for a few years! I'm a jnr site manager now after having done an adult building apprenticeship and wanting to to further up the ladder so ive definitly been down the same path. My advice Suck it up, prove your worth, if you feel unfairly treated talk to your manager/ company owner if they dont give you valuable constructive feedback take a good hard look at yourself, if it's not you move on, if it is you and you want to change then find out what you need to change and do it.
    I get what you saying mate I have a fair working history prior to this. I've worked on a farm since I was a kid helping out doing a little bit everything. Every summer since I was 16 and had my fill license I've operated machinery for 7 days a week for my summers and holidays all bar a week over Xmas and New Years and a week at the start and finish of the Christmas break. (I really wanted to buy a decent Ute. Luckily I came to my senses and banked it.) I get the low start pay but having worked my ass of to make sure that the job is perfect. Doing work in my own time when I'm required to test or organise crews more than normal and don't have time to do the QA part of my job in work hours. After all that they offer me effectively nothing and no thanks for any of it (smallish company so not an unknown number. I deal with the general manager of NZ on a regular basis and we are matey).

    I've talked about the hours and I'm always met with "it's not the norm you will be back to 8 hours in no time" but it's been like that for a year and a half. I still to this day jump through hoops for them because I need at least a good reference from them or else it was for nothing....

    Ok I know it's a rant but this forum is usually my stress relief and I have no one really to talk to about it. Sorry I feel better already I think even typing it down is helping my mental health.

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    I work in an office for an engineering consultancy. Gained a diploma in Mech engineering. Started as a Draftsperson now a Designer.
    That was my salary after 1.5-2years. Working 75 hour fortnights. Most consultants get Salary + overtime at the nominal hourly rate, one of the competitors has first 10 hours a week overtime is free after that is paid.
    Contractors like fabricators and tradies usually get 1.5x after 8 or 9 hours and 1.5x on weekends. Some have double time added in after say 55 hours a week or after so many hours on a weekend.

    In house engineers tend to have similar contracts to you. With overtime unpaid.

    "reasonable amount of overtime unpaid"

    Get rid of this and ask for something in stone. Ie 5 hours a week, what is reasonable to your employer might not be reasonable to you. Now if you are regularly doing overtime of 10 hours a week i would argue that is not overtime, that is your expected duties.
    Overtime would be projects and a shutdown.

    The experience you are gaining will be invaluable, learn what you can and apply for other jobs with a better contract.
    Last edited by Nugget connaisseur; 05-12-2018 at 09:28 PM.
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    Sounds like you have the shit end of the stick man, my brother in law is a civil, did his honours then got a job at about $55k per year working a 40 hour week, left went to Europe for sport, decided to start his own business and subcontracted himself while he was away (which was only a year). Heís now back in country and getting paid 75k a year and he gets over time ect ect, Iíd definitely shop around if I was you, when you get back pm me and Iíll possibly be able to set you up with an interview at another firm if thatís what your wanting.
    All the best man


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  12. #12
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    Any engineers here in NZ able to answer a few queries in regards to salary levels etc

    Iíd hit them up straight first, no harm in asking. Iím an Engineer but in an entirely different field and am only now in a decent wicket. Money is ok but itís family friendly and Iíve done my stint running crews, shuts, big house, Canada, Australia etc.

    Tell them the money is not enough, itís not. Youíd earn way more with less stress on some tools.


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    Dan M

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    How long have you been in the job? I wouldn't whinge to much. Graduate jobs are usually 40-50k salary for a professional.

    Lawyer for example will be on peanuts for abut 3 years, accountants etc probably the same.

    I started on a salary in the 40's. Just prove your worth then negotiate a better package. You usually only get one open book chance with a annual review so make sure you get everything inline and no how much you are worth.

    I would put a semi experienced site engineer that can do a bit of survey work, programming, client liaison and QA testing at the 70-80k mark working 50 hours a week, no weekends.
    Nugget connaisseur likes this.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stocky View Post
    Yeh I get that the issue is usually the start out in a consultancy doing a genuine 38 to 40 hours a week averaging say $27-30 which is sweet. But I'm on site lifting hefty testing gear on a regular basis, running drill crews, overseeing concrete pours etc working usually 11 hours a day after you take out "lunch" which I usually have to work through just to keep up with the workload. And it averages out around $19 -$21 an hour if I don't work weekends i often work saturdays which I get no pay for. So then it's down to $16.50 - $18 average for the week and fuck all down time.
    Where as a basic labourer rate on our site is $24/hr. Like I get starting someone low but that's just crazy it's something they should tell you before you spend 4 years at uni because you were good at school stuff.

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    Graduates in engineering are pretty much treated like shit until they get their professional registration. The employers know this and ruthlessly exploit it. If you were in a consultancy you'd still be doing the overtime. Construction management works the same way, graduates/ juiniors work their arses off for fuck all till they get the "experience". Once you have the experience you'll realise the workload doesn't decrease you just get used to it.
    You'll just need to jump around job's till you get a good position. Go for a structural or civil design office. Avoid large multi-disciplinary consultancies like BECA or Aurecon like the plague
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stocky View Post
    Ok so here it goes.

    I've been employed by a company since graduating as a Site Engineer contracted as 40 hours a week and 55k a year with overtime unpaid and expected on days I'm on the site. That rate is very similar to that of many friends in office engineering jobs but I am onsite about 90% of the time and the 10% I am not is because I'm in the changeover period between jobs. I average about 40 unpaid hours overtime each month absolute minimum sometimes as high as 80 hours unpaid including when I have to travel away.

    What I want to know is a few things is anyone employed by one of the larger roaring companies as they base their salary on an engineer at 50-60 hours so would be interested to get a few figures on salary, overtime rate if any, and hours. At the moment I am the lowest paid person on site and do more hours than all bar the supervisor as I'm busy doing stuff to keep the site running in the day time and then have to stay late to finish QA.

    In person the engineering field being professionals are very quite so it's hard to gauge if I'm going to leave the industry and just write off my degree or whether it's just this company thats so bad as it's doing my head in.

    I have put in my resignation and have the first 4 months of next year planned to drive tractors and make what I make in a year currently in 4 months before I leave to Canada for 4 months. I'm undecided whether I come back to the industry or not as this company has been so bad that I'm not sure anywhere is any better.

    It's really got me down as it was effectively a wasted 4 years studying which I didn't enjoy but slogged through with good bloody grades in the end.

    Cheers
    While I cannot comment on the value of your salary compared to other similar positions, if you really feel that they are taking the piss with overtime, and you are genuinely prepared to quit, take your resignation with you and have a sit down with the boss. Carefully read a copy of the "Job description" for your position. What the written description says it expects you to do and compare that to what you are actually doing. Have you picked up tasks that are technically outside you role? Explain your position and ask them if they genuinely believe that your worth is as low as they are indicating. Point out that you have tried to "stick it out as long as you can" but that this is not working for you and that something has to give. If you cannot cope with the current workload then you may need to explain that if things continue the way they are then the chance of errors increases and what costs are associated with these. Also discuss that the labourers are earning more without the same qualifications or (more importantly) without the responsibilities and duties you are carrying. Also add that you can earn more elsewhere doing things like driving so you are not in a position of having to stay. If you cannot reach an understanding as the the definition of a reasonable amount of extra time (Not overtime as you are not being paid for it) then you can offer them your resignation if they choose to accept it, and suggest they try find someone else. This can go two ways so if you are not prepared to leave, then this may not be the answer.

    Often this can be resolved by clarifying what is reasonable and unreasonable. Clearly the volume was not indicated to you as an expectation when you started otherwise this question would not have been asked. Perhaps they are unaware of the level of effort that you are putting in or perhaps some of the tasks that they are requiring you to spend time on can be delegated to someone so that you are doing the work you are supposed to.

    I agree that you cannot expect top dollar with a fairly recent entrance into an industry. And from my perspective four years is recent. (18+ years in my current profession, and with 14 years experience in my current role) And seeing as you have the next 8 months doing something else, this will give you a chance to look for other roles in the industry and compare what is available to you. However, 8 months away from the industry could also have a significant impact on your chances of success especially if you are relatively new to said industry. If I had done that early in my career, it would have meant starting again at the bottom when I returned.

 

 

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