Civil engineers are one of the least happy careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, civil engineers rate their career happiness 2.8 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 18% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy civil engineers are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Industrial engineer
2.9
$95k
Power engineer
2.8
$64k
Industrial production manager
2.8
$103k
Sales engineer
2.8
$104k
Marine electrician
2.8
$77k
Civil engineer
2.8
$88k
Product safety engineer
2.7
$99k
Logistician
2.7
$77k
Traffic technician
2.6
$49k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are civil engineers happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do civil engineers find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as civil engineers?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are civil engineer’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are civil engineers making the best use of their abilities?

Are civil engineers happy with their salary?

Civil engineers rated their satisfaction with their salaries 3.2/5. Few are explicitly unhappy with their salaries, with most civil engineers having generally positive views of their salary.

We asked civil engineers how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

3.2 out of 5 stars

1442 civil engineers

5 Star
15%

15% of civil engineers rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
30%

30% of civil engineers rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
26%

26% of civil engineers rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
18%

18% of civil engineers rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
11%

11% of civil engineers rated their compensation 1 stars

Do civil engineers find their jobs meaningful?

On average, civil engineers rate the meaningfulness of their work a 2.7/5. While most civil engineers aren’t very fulfilled by their work, some people may still manage to find meaning in it.

We asked civil engineers how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

2.7 out of 5 stars

1455 civil engineers

5 Star
11%

11% of civil engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
17%

17% of civil engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
24%

24% of civil engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
23%

23% of civil engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
25%

25% of civil engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as civil engineers?

Civil engineers rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.5/5. The majority of civil engineers find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked civil engineers how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

3.5 out of 5 stars

1634 civil engineers

5 Star
19%

19% of civil engineers rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
36%

36% of civil engineers rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
27%

27% of civil engineers rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
13%

13% of civil engineers rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
5%

5% of civil engineers rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a civil engineer’s work environment?

As a whole, civil engineers rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.2/5. Most of them tend to enjoy, or at least not be actively bothered by, their work environment.

We asked civil engineers how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.2 out of 5 stars

1615 civil engineers

5 Star
14%

14% of civil engineers rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
30%

30% of civil engineers rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
28%

28% of civil engineers rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
19%

19% of civil engineers rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
10%

10% of civil engineers rated their work environment 1 stars

Are civil engineers making the best use of their abilities?

Former civil engineers on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 2.9/5. Civil engineers tend to feel that they don’t manage to use their abilities to their fullest, when compared to other careers.

We asked civil engineers how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

2.9 out of 5 stars

1616 civil engineers

5 Star
13%

13% of civil engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
23%

23% of civil engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
26%

26% of civil engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
24%

24% of civil engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
15%

15% of civil engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars