The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 1, 2013
What California state workers earn: Engineers

20120814_HA_CATRANS0203.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

Professional Engineers in California Government was the last employee group to negotiate pay parity for its members with contracts that dramatically increased wages over a number of years.

But the last big pay bump was five years ago. Since then, PECG has fought to hold the line on wages and curtail outsourced engineering and inspection contracts, and also has battled furloughs all the way to the state Supreme Court. Now union leaders say it's time to look again at what members earn compared to their local- and regional-government counterparts and boost travel reimbursements that have been stagnant for many years. (Oh, and the union also wants managers to earn more, since wages tend to roll downhill.)

Here is a look at what state engineers earned in the last two years:

Number of employees in 2012: 10,462
2012 average pay: $90,349
2012 median pay: $92,288

Number of employees in 2011: 10,491
2011 average pay: $86,393
2011 median pay: $87,747

2012 Largest job class: Transportation Engineer (Civil)
Highest paid job class (2012 average): Petroleum Reservoir Engineer State Lands Division ($139,184)
Lowest paid job class (2012 average): Assistant Engineering Specialist-Civil ($27,504)

With talks and ratification votes for new state employee contracts on the agenda over the next few weeks, The State Worker is taking a first-ever look at what unionized workers earned over the last two years by bargaining unit.

The numbers feeding the series come from the State Controller's payroll database. The figures include only regular pay issued to full-time employees represented by the 21 bargaining units that negotiate contracts with the state. The number of employees includes only full-time workers who were paid during the calendar year. University of California and California State University employee earnings are not included in these figures. The data covers calendar 2011 and 2012.

PHOTO: Malcom Dougherty, left, holds a sample of the steel bars being used in the construction of the new Bay Bridge as chief state bridge engineer Brian Maroney explains how concrete travels through the bars before the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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