Welcome to this year’s annual compensation survey. In surveying our audience across our family of brands, we found similar findings from Electronic Design to Microwaves & RF, Machine Design, Hydraulics & Pneumatics, and Global Purchasing. Among the major trends were more focus and interest on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)/Industry 4.0. Engineers are increasingly working on IoT solutions, while they and procurement professionals and management are also looking at how the IoT will impact the way they do their jobs.

Job satisfaction is currently very high. Engineers, for example, feel well compensated for their work and are generally happy with their career paths. They also feel optimistic about the state of the engineering industry, although some concerns remain about the economy, outsourcing, and IoT adoption. Among our Machine Design and Hydraulics & Pneumatics audiences, for example, there is some concern over manufacturing jobs being minimized or even phased out with IoT adoption.

For engineers, one of the biggest challenges remains staying up to date on the latest technologies. To accomplish this goal, our audience cites many online resources, ranging from white papers and e-books to webcasts and videos. They of course contend with time-to-market challenges and other job pressures, but by and large, they get a lot of satisfaction from overcoming those challenges. Interestingly, when they need to take a break and clear their heads, they most commonly shared that they go for a walk.

Across the industries we reach, more individuals are relying on smartphones to tie up business at the end of the day or prepare for what faces them in the morning. They also are paying more attention to social-media outlets like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Some cite that they use Twitter (and Facebook, but to a lesser extent) to stay updated, while LinkedIn continues to reign as the career-networking resource.

What about the future? Across the board, we continue to see the majority of responses pointing to concern over the next generation. The consensus is that, despite today’s efforts to bring more students into technology fields of study and careers, we’re facing an engineering shortage. It follows that specialized areas, like the microwave and radio-frequency (RF) market, are facing an even bigger chasm as companies look to the next generation. Many of the people that laid the groundwork for today’s technical breakthroughs have retired or are nearing retirement. While they brought in talent behind them, most do not think it is enough to bridge the gap.

Hopefully, all of today’s technical-outreach efforts will increasingly produce interest from the next generation. In the meantime, don’t forget to evangelize engineering and technology-related fields in your own circles. The majority of survey respondents said that they would recommend their professions, so why not start if you haven’t already? And don’t forget to take a deeper look at how people in your industry are compensated to see where you stand.