Engineers are below average when it comes to happiness.

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, engineers rate their career happiness 3.1 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 40% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy 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
Marine engineer
3.2
$93k
Software engineer
3.2
$93k
Mining and geological engineer
3.1
$97k
Petroleum engineer
3.1
$131k
Locomotive engineer
3.1
$80k
Engineer
3.1
$99k
Electrical engineer
3.1
$100k
Avionics technician
3.0
$69k
Software quality assurance engineer
3.0
$90k

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

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

Are engineers happy with their salary?

Engineers rated their satisfaction with their salaries 3.3/5. Few are explicitly unhappy with their salaries, with most engineers having generally positive views of their salary.

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

3.3 out of 5 stars

4361 engineers

5 Star
18%

18% of engineers rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
30%

30% of engineers rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
27%

27% of engineers rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
16%

16% of engineers rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
9%

9% of engineers rated their compensation 1 stars

Do engineers find their jobs meaningful?

On average, engineers rate the meaningfulness of their work a 2.8/5. While most engineers aren’t very fulfilled by their work, some people may still manage to find meaning in it.

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

2.8 out of 5 stars

4402 engineers

5 Star
14%

14% of engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
19%

19% of engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
24%

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

2 Star
24%

24% of engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
19%

19% of engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

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

Engineers rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.7/5. The majority of engineers find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

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

3.7 out of 5 stars

5010 engineers

5 Star
25%

25% of engineers rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
37%

37% of engineers rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
25%

25% of engineers rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
9%

9% of engineers rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
4%

4% of engineers rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is an engineer’s work environment?

As a whole, engineers rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.4/5. A solid majority of engineers enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as an engineer.

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

3.4 out of 5 stars

4939 engineers

5 Star
19%

19% of engineers rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
33%

33% of engineers rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
27%

27% of engineers rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
14%

14% of engineers rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
6%

6% of engineers rated their work environment 1 stars

Are engineers making the best use of their abilities?

Former engineers on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 3.1/5. Most engineers are satisfied with how well their abilities are skills are made of use.

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

3.1 out of 5 stars

4963 engineers

5 Star
16%

16% of engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
24%

24% of engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
27%

27% of engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
22%

22% of engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
12%

12% of engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars