MassDOT setting aside $20m to help recruit engineers

Package includes 10.3% salary increase, $5,000 signing bonuses


ADD CIVIL ENGINEERS to the list of public-sector jobs in high demand these days.

With Department of Transportation workers heading to the exits in larger numbers than usual, officials are poised to roll out a $20 million package of raises, bonuses, and other employee benefit tweaks aimed at recruiting and retaining engineers.

MassDOT’s audit and finance subcommittee on Wednesday endorsed a collective bargaining agreement that would provide a 10.3 percent salary increase to all employees in Bargaining Unit E next month, offer $5,000 signing bonuses to new hires, and make some employees who help achieve cost savings or perform above and beyond their jobs eligible for “spot bonuses” of up to $250.

Many employers have faced labor challenges in recent months, and for MassDOT, hiring and retention struggles are exacerbated by a new federal infrastructure law making trillions of dollars available to states for highway, rail and other types of projects.

Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver described the climate as “perhaps the hottest market we have seen for civil engineers, certainly in my career.”

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Chris Lisinski

Reporter, State House News Service
“Our competition has become extreme over the past year,” Gulliver told the subcommittee. “We are literally competing with everybody, and by everybody, I mean every other state DOT, anybody who uses civil engineers for any reason, so not just ones in transportation, but firms that are right now doing massive building programs.”

The collective bargaining agreement will go before the full MassDOT Board for approval next week.