A salary analysis of industrial engineers

By Zubin Ajmera

When I was new to the field of industrial engineering, I had zero idea on what the field was about. What do industrial engineers do? Where do they work? What do they do on a daily basis?

These were the type of questions almost everyone has when they start out. But sometimes the hidden truth behind all those questions is that we want to know the salaries of industrial engineers – how much do they earn, which industries within IE are more lucrative, what’s a good benchmark salary for an IE, etc., to see if this field is worth the academic investment.

So I started doing some basic research and I discovered there is no good resource which can provide valuable information on this topic. And it couldn’t have been a better idea to put this valuable information on the platform of IISE – the hub of industrial engineers.

In this blog, we’re going to talk about salaries of industrial engineers. The good thing is we won’t just talk about salaries, but we will talk about the factors behind them.

Ultimately, a salary boils down to the three most important variables

  1. Experience: Are you a new to the industry or have had experience?
  2. Degree/Education: Have you earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and/or a Ph.D.?
  3. Location: Where are you working? Atlanta, New York, Mumbai, Chicago, Delhi, Seattle, Boston, etc.?

Of course, there are many variables like company size, performance review, interviewing skills, negotiating skills and others, but I consider the three listed above to be the most important in determining your salary.

I narrowed down the best major cities to work in based on a mix of data from reliable sources, references and my experience:

  • Atlanta, New York, Boston, Chicago, Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Charlotte, Seattle, Detroit, Columbus (Ohio).

I also took in-depth data from salary.com since it provides reliable information regarding the actual salaries that industrial engineers are offered. I also factored in my experiences after working in four states for seven different employers as well as interviewing with almost 50 companies.

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Source: Salary.com

Let’s begin.

Graph 1: Salary Analysis for Bachelor’s Degree Recipient with Experience by City

Below you see that “x” is the years of experience. Typically:

  • A recent college graduate has less than one year of full-time work experience
  • A mid-level professional has anywhere between one to three years of experience
  • A senior professional has more than three to five years of experience

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Highlights:

  • Highest Salary: $82,045
  • Lowest Salary: $59,543
  • Average Salary: $68,980

Graph 2 : Salary Analysis for Master’s Degree Recipient with Experience by City

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Highlights:

  • Highest Salary: $83,236
  • Lowest Salary: $60,348
  • Average Salary: $69,847

Graph 3: Salary Analysis for Ph.D. or Advanced Degree Recipient with Experience by City

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Highlights:

  • Highest Salary: $84,535
  • Lowest Salary: $61,233
  • Average Salary: $70,880

Key Takeaways :

  • Salaries lie between $60,000 per year to $70,000 per year: Almost all of the salaries fit in this range. When I started my career, 1) I never found a good resource to rely upon; and 2) The answers varied from $60,000 per year to $80,000 per year, and even $100,000 per year. But now you have a good benchmark by which you can compare.
  • Not all salaries will encompass the industrial engineering spectrum: As we know, the field of industrial engineering is broad. There are positions in supply chain, manufacturing, consulting, data analytics and more. What we have done in this blog is captured a bird’s eye view for the position of industrial engineering so we get a good idea for all of its domains.
  • Most high earning salaries come from the U.S. west coast: This is for obvious reasons and true for any major or job, so don’t confuse this when you do your math.
  • Your navigation map: Finally, take this analysis as your navigation map and not the final answer. At the end of the day your salary will be affected by many factors. Also, these numbers may change over time, but for the immediate future, you can refer back here and review to get a good benchmark to help you find the right job that pays well and starts your career.

About the Author

Zubin has a master’s degree in industrial engineering and currently works for a logistics company. He has experience in multiple roles among manufacturing, consulting, and data analytics. He aims to help aspiring industrial engineers in their career endeavors.

 

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8 Comments

  1. Himanshu Agarwal

    Hi Zubin,

    That’s a great article. I am a recent graduate with a masters degree in industrial engineering. I needed some career guidance regarding the applications of my major. Can you help me out?

    Thanks

  2. Hello Zubin Sir,
    The info presented above was of great help. I am looking out for Masters in the field of IE in the USA. Your video and blog depicted the inside view of IE which helps me in getting an insight into it. I have 1 or 2 questions which I would like to ask you if you don’t mind. How shall i contact you?

    Regards,
    Shrey

  3. Utkarsh

    Hii Zubin can you give idea about master’s in supply chain management taking in account the pay-scale ,working condition, best place as well as best institute’s .

  4. Utkarsh

    Hii Zubin can you give idea about master’s in supply chain management taking in account the pay-scale ,working condition ,best place for supply chain management as well best institute’s

  5. Ash

    Great article Zubin,
    I have a query regarding MS with thesis. Does it matter to the employers? Is it advisable to do masters with thesis. I don’t want to spend 1 extra another semester if thesis is of not that important.

  6. Thejas

    Nice article by Mr.Zubin on salaries of industrial engineers.
    I was also looking for such data for India. Has anybody mapped it?

    • Hi Thejas,

      I did try to do research for India too. I wasn’t able to gather enough since there is no reliable data.

      I’ll keep an eye on it and will try to have more articles on this topic.

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