What is the average annual salary of a mechanical engineer? Includes what you can do to increase your income.


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Mechanical engineers are involved in the development of products in a variety of fields, such as automobiles, aircraft, and construction machinery, making full use of their advanced technical skills and expertise. Although mechanical engineers are said to have a bright future ahead of them, many may be concerned about their income when considering a career change.

In this issue, we will introduce the average annual salary of mechanical engineers and specific ways to increase your income. Please refer to this article if you are considering career advancement or a career change, or if you are aiming to increase your income in the future.

What is a mechanical engineer?


Mechanical engineers are professionals involved in the design, manufacture, and operation of machinery. Although their main role is to "build machines," they work in a wide variety of fields, including IT, automobiles, home appliances, food, medical, industrial robotics, and aircraft, and their work differs according to each field.

For example, the performance and specifications required of machinery for food production and medical equipment will be completely different. Therefore, mechanical engineers need to understand the characteristics of each field and design and manufacture the most suitable machines and systems. In addition, since they are involved in the entire process of completing a machine, they are responsible for a wide range of tasks from design to prototyping, manufacturing, and evaluation.

Thus, although mechanical engineers tackle different tasks in each field, they share the common goal of "enriching people's lives and solving social issues by making machines and components.

Main types of mechanical engineers


Mechanical engineers fall into four main categories

  • Mechanical Engineering Engineers
  • Mechanical Design Engineers
  • AI and robot development engineers
  • Mold design and development


Mechanical Engineering Engineers

Mechanical engineering engineers are professionals who use their knowledge and skills in mechanical engineering to design, manufacture, operate, and research and develop machinery.

To become a mechanical engineering engineer, one must have extensive knowledge of machinery. Particularly important is the fundamental knowledge of the "four forces," which includes the four areas of material mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and mechanical mechanics.

Mechanical engineers use this knowledge to design new machines or improve existing ones. Another important job is to solve problems at manufacturing sites and propose more efficient production methods. In recent years, technological innovations such as AI and IoT have required mechanical engineering engineers to create even more advanced and efficient manufacturing.

This puts mechanical engineering engineers in the role of working with modern technology to create more innovative and effective machines.

Mechanical Design Engineer

Mechanical design engineers are experts in designing the operating principles of machines. The work of a mechanical design engineer begins with the creation of a design drawing using CAD (computer aided design) tools. Based on that blueprint, virtual manufacturing is performed using CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) tools, and then CAE (computer-aided engineering) tools are used to simulate the design.

However, the role of the mechanical design engineer is not limited to drawing. They pursue optimal design, taking into consideration not only product functionality and performance, but also cost, ease of manufacturing, and safety. This requires a high level of creativity and extensive technical knowledge.

The field of mechanical design is very broad, ranging from precision equipment such as smartphones to large-scale facilities such as petroleum complexes. All these machines are created by the skills and knowledge of mechanical design engineers.

AI and Robotics Development Engineers

AI and robotics development engineers are experts in combining artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to create innovative products and services. Their main role is to develop robots that not only operate machines but also possess advanced intelligence to make people's lives and society more convenient and affluent.

Recently, this technology is being used in a variety of fields, including rescue robots for use in times of disaster, nursing care robots to assist the elderly and disabled, and robots for cleaning and caring for pets in the home, making this occupation in high demand.

With the declining birthrate, aging population, and changing work styles, the roles that society demands of robots are becoming increasingly diverse and sophisticated. Therefore, demand for AI and robot development engineers is expected to continue to increase.

Die Design and Development

Mold design and development is the art of designing "molds" for mass production of products by pouring materials such as metal, plastic, rubber, and carbon. It is often confused with mechanical design, but while mechanical design creates various machines from scratch, the main role of mold design is to design and develop molds for efficient mass production of the products created by the mechanical design.

For example, many products used in our daily lives, such as cases for smartphones and parts for home appliances, are mass-produced using molds. The mold designer receives requests from the client regarding the shape and function of the product, checks that there are no problems with the shape, and then determines the mold specifications, taking cost, quality, strength, and other factors into consideration in a comprehensive manner.

In particular, when making molds for products whose appearance is important or for the internal parts of electronic devices, a high level of precision is required, so a wealth of practical experience is necessary.

Average annual salary of mechanical engineers


According to the 2023 Basic Survey on Wage Structure by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the average annual salary of mechanical engineers is 6,124,000 yen. This is a high level compared to the average annual salary for all industries in Japan, which is 5,064,000 yen (according to the same survey).

However, the above figures are only one reference, as the annual salary of mechanical engineers varies greatly depending on the industry and field of specialization.

For example, according to a survey by Jobbox, the average annual salary of a full-time mechanical engineer as of April 2024 was reported to be approximately 4.73 million yen, while a survey by Recruit Agent reported 5 million yen as of June 2024. As you can see, the average annual salary of mechanical engineers varies greatly depending on the survey agency, so it should be used only as a reference.

(Reference: "2023 Basic Survey on Wage Structure," Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare)
Reference: Job Box Salary Navi
Reference: Recruit Agent Job Change Data Library

Average Hourly Wage by Work Type

The average annual salary for mechanical engineers varies depending on the source of the survey, but it is estimated to be approximately 5-6 million yen. So, how does this compare by work type?

According to a survey by Job Box, the average hourly wage for mechanical engineers is 2,081 yen for temporary workers and 1,096 yen for part-time workers.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's "Preliminary Report on Worker Dispatching Business in FY2022," the average hourly wage for dispatched workers is 1,996 yen, so it can be said that the hourly wage for dispatched mechanical engineers is slightly higher than average. On the other hand, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's "Monthly Labor Survey, Preliminary Results for April 2024," the average hourly wage for part-time workers is 1,315 yen, which is more than 200 yen lower than the average wage for part-time mechanical engineers.

Reference: Job Box Salary Navi
Reference: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, "Preliminary Report on Worker Dispatching Undertakings in FY2022" (in Japanese)
(Reference: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, "Monthly Labor Survey, Preliminary Results for April 2024")

United World provides full support for mechanical engineers looking for a new job. If you have any concerns or questions about changing jobs, please feel free to contact us.

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Let's take a look at the following six factors that influence the annual salary of a mechanical engineer.

  • Company size
  • Type of salary
  • Age
  • Industry and field
  • Company performance
  • Qualifications

Size of company

The annual salary of a mechanical engineer varies greatly depending on the size of the company. In general, large companies tend to be better funded than smaller companies and therefore pay their employees more. In addition, large companies often offer a full range of benefits and bonuses in addition to base salary.

In fact, according to the "2023 Basic Survey on Wage Structure" conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the annual salary of a mechanical engineer working for a large company with more than 1,000 employees is approximately 6.71 million yen, nearly 600,000 yen higher than the overall average annual salary of 6.12 million yen.

Below are the average annual salaries of mechanical engineers by company size.

Number of employeesAnnual salary
10 to 99 employeesApproximately 5,006,000 yen
100-999 employeesApprox. 5,799,000 yen
1,000 or moreApprox. 6,714,000 yen
AverageApprox. 6,124,000 yen

(Reference: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: 2023 Basic Survey on Wage Structure)

Salary Types

The annual salary of mechanical engineers varies greatly depending on the type of salary. Some companies offer fixed salaries, while others offer performance-based compensation. In the case of a fixed salary, you will receive a stable income every month, but in the case of a performance-based salary, you will be paid according to your individual performance and the success of the project, so you can earn a high income depending on your efforts.

Pay-for-performance is especially common in engineering firms and start-ups, where work is often done on a project-by-project basis.

In addition, special incentives may be offered for obtaining certifications or developing new technologies.

Own Age

Age is another important factor that affects annual salary. Generally, as one gets older, one's experience and skills increase, and so does one's annual salary. Young engineers have a training or apprenticeship period immediately after joining a company, so their starting salary is lower.

However, as they gain several years of work experience, they are assigned to project leadership roles and specialized work, and their annual salaries increase.

According to the 2023 Basic Survey on Wage Structure by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, annual salary increases steadily as one ages from one's 20s to 30s, 40s, and 50s. In particular, annual income reaches a peak of approximately 7.7 million yen between the ages of 55 and 59. During this period, many people are employed in managerial or highly specialized positions and can expect to earn high compensation.

Average annual salaries by age group are as follows

20~24 years oldApprox. 3,471,000 yen
25~29 years oldApprox. 4,675,000 yen
30~34 years oldApprox. 5,552,000 yen
35~39 years oldApprox. 6,450,000 yen
40~44 years oldApprox. 6,775,000 yen
45~49 years oldApprox. 7,327,000 yen
50~54 years oldApprox. 7,495,000 yen
55~59 years oldApprox. 7,696,000 yen
60~64 years oldApprox. 5,593,000 yen

(Reference: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: 2023 Basic Survey on Wage Structure)

Industry and Field

The annual salary of mechanical engineers varies greatly depending on the industry and field to which the company belongs. For example, in the aerospace industry, there are many national projects and defense-related jobs that require a high level of expertise and skills, so annual salaries tend to be high.

In fact, if you search for mechanical engineer jobs in the aerospace industry on job sites, you will find many jobs with annual incomes in excess of 10 million yen.

In addition, in emerging fields such as robotics, AI, and IoT, mechanical engineers who develop innovative technologies are also in demand and can expect high annual incomes.

Corporate Performance

The annual salary of a mechanical engineer is also greatly influenced by the performance of a company. If a company is highly profitable, it can expect to return profits to its employees, which may result in a higher annual salary.

Conversely, if the company's performance is sluggish, salary cuts or reductions in bonuses may occur, which in turn may affect the annual salary.

Qualifications held

A mechanical design engineer's annual salary is also affected by the qualifications he or she holds. In companies that offer a qualification allowance, having certain qualifications will increase your annual salary.

A qualification allowance is an allowance provided by a company to encourage employees to acquire qualifications. The amount varies depending on the type and difficulty of the qualification and the type of business of the company, but in general, the allowance ranges from a few thousand yen to several tens of thousands of yen.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's "Summary of the General Survey of Working Conditions in 2020," the average monthly allowance per worker is 18,800 yen. If this amount is paid monthly, 225,600 yen per year will be added to the basic salary, which can be expected to increase annual income.

(Reference: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, "Summary of the 2020 Comprehensive Survey of Working Conditions")

How to increase your income as a mechanical engineer


Here are three ways to increase your annual salary as a mechanical engineer. Take the method that best suits your needs to increase your annual salary.

Improve your skills as an engineer

Mechanical engineers are responsible for a wide range of tasks, including design, prototyping, manufacturing, and evaluation, and each process requires a variety of skills. By improving your skills, you will be able to broaden the range of tasks you can take on and increase your base salary.

The following four skills are particularly important for mechanical engineers to acquire.

  • Knowledge of electrical and electronic engineering
  • Ability to think logically
  • Management skills
  • Communication skills

In addition, acquiring qualifications as a mechanical engineer is also part of skill development. Since many companies introduce a qualification allowance, acquiring qualifications can lead to an increase in annual income. Be proactive in taking on the challenge of acquiring qualifications.

Advance your career in the field

To advance your career in the field, it is important to work for the same company for a long period of time and gain experience and achievements. As you develop expertise and are given more responsibility, you can expect to receive promotions and pay raises.

However, it is important to take concrete actions to improve your skills rather than simply accumulate years of experience. For example, take the following actions

  • Proactively take on new tasks
  • Expand your network of contacts inside and outside the company
  • Improve your management skills
  • Continue self-improvement to achieve your goals

If you want to increase your annual salary or get a promotion at your current company, it is important to take these specific actions to advance your career.

Change to a company with a higher annual salary

If you are finding it difficult to increase your annual salary at your current company or are feeling limited in your career, changing jobs is one option. Salary levels vary greatly depending on the industry, sector, and size of the company, so changing to a company where you can expect to earn a higher income will make it easier to achieve an increase in your annual salary.

If you have worked for the same company for a long time, it is not uncommon for your salary to be based on the company's evaluation criteria, which may not be commensurate with your market value. Therefore, we recommend that you check your market value through job hunting and find a company that values you more highly.

It is a good idea to start by consulting with a career change agent or checking job information websites to find out what the annual salary is for the same type of work, and to find out what the appropriate annual salary is for your skills and experience.

Summary: "United World" is the best place to find a job as a mechanical engineer.

まとめ:機械エンジニアへの転職を目指すなら「United World」

This article describes the average annual salary of mechanical engineers and the factors that influence their annual salary.

Mechanical engineers are an occupation that is expected to continue to grow in the future. Although a certain level of specialized knowledge and skills are required, the annual salary rate is set high for this reason, so why not try becoming a mechanical engineer as a career option?

If you are looking for an efficient way to find companies that are looking for mechanical engineers, try using the job search agent United World.

At United World Inc., dedicated career advisors work closely with each individual to support your job search. After carefully listening to your detailed requirements and career plans, we will introduce you to the best job opportunities that suit you best, so please feel free to contact us if you want to make your job change more efficient.

Talk to United World about 
career change.

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