An Open Letter

The Importance of Your Participation

The NCSEA SE3 Committee is currently administering its third nationwide survey of structural engineers across the profession. With over 2,400 respondents by the beginning of May, we've received a lot of feedback. Let's talk about why this survey is important.

The core mission of the SE3 Committee is to attract and retain the best and brightest into our profession; and to ensure all structural engineers have a clear pathway to success. The SE3 survey is an ongoing effort to identify trends, understand the underlying factors, and initiate industry-wide conversations. The top three (3) most commonly asked questions about the 2020 SE3 survey include:

  • WHO should take this survey; 

  • WHY should I take this survey (again); 

  • HOW is it going to benefit the profession?

First things first, EVERY structural engineer is invited to participate regardless of race, gender, age or job title. The SE3 mission applies to every structural engineer. Survey demographics as of the beginning of May show that 72% of respondents are male and 25% are female; roughly 79% are white Caucasian, 11% are Asian, and 5.5% are Hispanic; and the average age of a respondent is 39.5 years old with a median age of 36.


Graphic of Preliminary 2020 Survey Data

Secondly, as a structural engineer you are part of a larger community and this is an opportunity to have your voice heard. Ever wonder if the conversations you're having with your coworkers are common among other engineers? Preliminary results of the survey suggest that respondents believe the top two (2) challenges facing the profession are inadequate compensation relative to similar professions and retention of engineers due to stress and burnout. Since the survey covers a wide breadth of topics related to career satisfaction, individuals who complete the survey may also gain a deeper awareness of their values and priorities. Introspection may influence positive changes in life choices, career decisions, workplace culture and leadership dynamics.

Furthermore, by participating in every survey cycle, the SE3 committee can track trends, identify areas that need and/or have shown improvement, and facilitate conversations towards change. The committee retains questions regarding demographics, career satisfaction, compensation, and work-life balance as a baseline to the survey. However, new questions are routinely incorporated based on popular demand and current events. For example, this year’s survey includes questions related to firm response to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. As work flexibility is a popularly sought-after benefit, as reported in previous SE3 surveys, close to 70% of respondents indicated their firms have assessed or reassessed their remote work policies due to the pandemic.

The success of the SE3 survey relies on participation of ALL structural engineers.


Join the conversation; take the 2020 SE3 Survey.




The NCSEA SE3 Committee