Why are mechanical engineers paid so low

engineer: "At 27 I'm already the rich uncle"

With the job change came almost 5,000 euros gross - and the sayings of the others. An engineer explains why he prefers to keep quiet about his salary.

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Surname: Anonymous
Age: 27
Position: Electronics developer
Branch: Industrial electronics

A year and a half ago I received my bachelor's degree and I'm already the rich uncle who's supposed to help my brother's family in bad times. That's what my brother said to me the other day. It was probably just a saying, but I've been hearing such sayings all the time lately. No wonder, because none of my friends earn that much - a year and a half ago I would have thought it was a bad joke that I now earn almost 5,000 euros a month gross.

I am an engineer, more precisely an electronics developer. My company produces electronics for refrigerators, including the components that ensure that the refrigerator is always at the right temperature. I develop the electronics together with my colleagues and also oversee production. That means, only when I have given the okay after my examination will the goods be produced and sold in numbers of tens of thousands. Conversely, this also means that I get a big problem if the cooling in the refrigerators at home suddenly fails, because that means that I have overlooked something.

"I am embarrassed about my salary and comfort"

That's why I make so much. This leaves almost 3,000 euros net. The salary is so high because my company pays according to the collective agreement. Plus, I only have to work 38 hours a week and can come and go when I want, as long as I get the work done within the deadlines. The downside: I'm embarrassed about my salary and comfort.

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That was not always so. Until a few weeks ago I was employed by a development service provider. That was my first job after studying at a university of applied sciences. I earned about as much as the other Bachelor graduates. I could talk to them freely about the salary. My starting salary of 3,200 euros a month was typical for the region. The conversations were helpful for my ex-fellow students, because my studies lacked realistic assessments of what one would earn after graduation.

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At the time I was living in the country. It was good that the company was right next door, but that was it with the perks too. I also wanted to be able to have a good meal, party with friends in clubs and do something other than reading or sitting in front of the PC in my free time. I wanted to move away from the country and into a big city - that's why I looked for the new job. By the time the new company presented me with the employment contract, I hadn't asked how much I was going to earn.