2015 Salary Survey

The 2015 Salary Survey was changed considerably from years past, and has presented us with more data to analyze.
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The 2015 Salary Survey was changed considerably from years past, and has presented us with more data to analyze.

Likely, the most important part of the results is salary level, and this time, we decided to break all the results into market groups � specifically, markets 101 and below; markets 100 through 75; markets 74 through 50; markets 49 through 25; markets 24 through 11; and finally, the top 10.

Aside from salary, we also looked at other aspects of an engineer�s work life, including staffing levels; whether or not those who responded got raises; and other benefits, such as vacation and vehicles.


At the end of our 2015 survey, we provided a place for you to add comments, and although the topics covered were many, salary again came up frequently. That begs the question: What can be done by the engineer in the field to increase his or her salary?

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It�s a given that becoming the head of the department is a way to make more money at a particular station, at a particular market level. Many of you don�t necessarily want to be the boss, however; so what else is there to do?

We would suggest that a reasonable way to get more money for the job you do is to move up in market level, and results of the survey support that claim.

Since these figures represent the median salaries, we want to make note of three other results:

� 21.7 percent of the respondents (for all job categories) in markets 24 through 11 category indicated that they make between $100,00 and $125,000 per year

� 22.7 percent of the respondents (for all job categories) in the top 10 markets indicated that they make between $100,000 and $125,000 per year

� 20.5 percent of respondents (for all job categories) in the top 10 markets indicated they make over $125,000
per year

As much as many of us lament the diminishing impact and importance of the radio-engineering field, the fact is that there are more than 15,000 radio stations in the United States, and they all need technical support on some level. The results show, as expected, that as you go up in market level, your salary follows.


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Many of us in the field are concerned that many years have gone by between raises. This is another question we put to you, and again, we�ll look at the results on a per-market-group basis.

The likelihood that you got a raise last year seems to depend quite a bit on the market group in which you work.


We�ve asserted that one way to get more money working in broadcast engineering is to move up in market level. However, one could easily ask: �Doesn�t working in a larger market mean that I�ll have to work just that much harder? Won�t I have to take care of more stations?�

With that in mind, we put another question to those taking the survey on what we termed the staff ratio, determined by taking the total number of staff (including engineering and IT) and dividing it by the number of stations for which your department is responsible. For example, if you have 10 stations, and 5 total staff, your result will be 5/10 = 1/2, which is less than (<) 1.

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What the chart below shows is that as you go up in market size, staffs get larger. That�s not to say you won�t have to work harder as you go up in market level; but our results indicate that the total number of people you have in a department will tend to correlate with the number of stations in your portfolio. It�s also not too much of an extrapolation to say that as your staff gets bigger, the amount of work you do simply managing them will increase as well.


If you took the survey, you probably noticed a section for contractors. We were interested in knowing if rates tend to go up with market size (for the most part, they do), and we were interested in seeing how �emergency or otherwise unplanned hours� were charged to clients.

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As one would expect, those rates also tend to rise with market size.

Many of you moonlight or take on other side projects in addition to your regular employment. Looking across all markets, 49 percent of you work as employees only; 11.2 percent of you are strictly contractors; 39.8 percent of you are regularly employed but do �outside� work as well.

Another aspect of working as a contractor that is of concern is the percentage of you that maintain contracts with clients. Looking at all market levels, 14.5 percent have contracts with all of your clients; 18.3 percent of you have contracts with some of your clients; and 67.2 percent (over two-thirds) don�t have contracts.


We�ll end our analysis with some information that you provided about yourselves.

It�s been shown in previous Salary Survey results that certifications generally lead to higher salaries. What certifications, then, are currently held by respondents?

Are you certified with any of the following organizations?

Most of the category �other� were FCC radiotelephone license holders. Yes � in retrospect, that should have been included in the options. Interestingly, though, only about 11 percent of respondents noted that category � about one-quarter of those who responded as SBE-certified.

It�s been said that the industry is graying at a rapid pace. Our results seem to confirm that.

What is your age?

That�s perhaps the most important result that should be on the minds of station managers and corporate engineering managers.

We also asked respondents the number of years they�ve been in the radio engineering field. It�s a variant of our last question, of course. The shortest career was 1 year to date; the longest, 61 years (several responses at that length). The median was 31; the average 30.5.

There you have it. We hope that the information gathered from the many respondents is interesting and of use to you. To those of you that responded: Thank you.

Please look out for our next salary survey, which will be posted online in July of next year.