Corrosion Salaries Head Up and Down
North American corrosion professionals are significantly outearning their European counterparts, according to a new survey by NACE International.
While average salaries for corrosion careers in the U.S. and Canada reached new highs, topping six figures for a second straight year, European countries saw a dip in income, according to the 2014 Corrosion Career and Salary Survey, conducted by NACE's Materials Performance magazine.
The magazine has conducted the annual corrosion career survey of NACE members since 1998.
The survey includes data on:
In the U.S.
Over the last decade, the average annual salary for corrosion professionals has increased by about 48 percent in the U.S. and by about 55 percent in Canada, the survey found.
In the U.S., average annual pay (including salary and bonuses) is $101,615, up 5.3 percent.
The largest group of U.S. respondents works as technicians/technologists (21 percent), followed by quality control/quality assurance inspectors (17 percent).
The jobs with the highest U.S. average salaries were engineers ($133,924, a 14 percent increase over 2013); consultants ($132,689, up 6 percent); and management ($124,024, up 3 percent).
Canada's average taxable income increased by 11.4 percent since 2013, reaching CAN$120,480 ($110,027 USD).
Canadian respondents reported working as technicians/technologists (21 percent), engineers (21 percent) and QC/QA inspectors (18 percent).
The highest annual average salaries reported in Canada were for management (CAN$151,364, up 8 percent over 2013); QC/QA Inspectors (CAN$133,704, up 14 percent); and consultants (CAN$126,250, up 0.5 percent).
Average salaries in the U.S. and Canada increased, while Europe saw a decline. This was the first year data was collected for the UK.
Industries reporting the highest average annual salaries for both the U.S. and Canada were oil and gas extraction ($163,334 USD/CAN$150,610); refining ($138,537 USD/CAN$140,556); and plastics/nonmetals ($131,667 USD/CAN$140,000).
Europe, UK Salaries
In Europe, corrosion salary averages decreased by 2.5 percent to €66,944 ($91,117). Most European respondents reported jobs as engineers (33 percent) and QC/QA inspectors (26 percent).
The highest annual salaries in Europe were for professors/teachers (€145,000, a 32 percent increase); management (€108,333, up 75 percent); and sales/marketing (€80,000), the survey found
The industries with the highest annual average salaries in Europe were chemical processing (€94,000); ships/marine structures/offshore platforms (€90,000); and testing services (€83,000).
This was the first year data were collected for the UK. Salaries in the UK averaged £78,690 ($131,806 USD). Overall, industries where the highest average annual salaries were reported included construction (£250,000); oil and gas extraction (£120,238); and chemical processing (£92,000).
In the U.S., Canada, and the UK, the dominant industry for corrosion professionals is oil and gas. Respondents who chose oil and gas pipelines/storage tanks as their primary industry totaled 26 percent in the U.S., 21 percent in Canada. In the UK, 25 percent selected oil and gas extraction as their primary industry.
Respondents employed in the coatings and lining industry totaled 21 percent in the UK, 15 percent in Europe, 14 percent in the U.S., and 12 percent in Canada.
In Europe, refining (10 percent) and engineering/architecture (10 percent) were also selected as primary industries.
Survey results indicated that the corrosion field continues to be predominantly male. Women respondents made up 7 percent in the U.S., 11 percent in Canada, 10 percent in Europe, and 7 percent in the UK.
Survey participants were also asked about challenges of working in the corrosion industry.
According to NACE, North Americans said they wished for larger budgets for corrosion control and more advancement opportunities.
European respondents also prioritized advancement opportunities and improved access to effective corrosion technologies.
Throughout the world, respondents wanted larger staffs and budgets, more manageable workloads, more qualified candidates, less travel and better pay.
Several respondents expressed the desire to receive better support from decision makers when investing in corrosion control—one of the industry's most difficult challenges. Many participants reported difficulty in persuading management and clients that long-term corrosion costs can be much higher than short-term prevention costs.
"Everyone wants to stop corrosion, but no one wants to put any money into the effort," one respondent said. "Spending money up front will save money in the long run."