As Massachusetts competes with other states for federal infrastructure funding, it is struggling to recruit enough engineers who would do the work. Under an agreement negotiated with its unions, MassDOT is proposing a 10.3% across-the-board salary increase for all its engineers.

“It's perhaps the hottest market that we have seen for civil engineers, certainly in my career. And so, our competition has become extreme over this past year," Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver told MassDOT’s Finance and Audit Committee on Wednesday.

The state’s coming influx of $9.5 billion over the next five years will need civil engineers to work on projects for highways, the MBTA, regional transit authorities and environmental projects.

But unlike prior federal programs, some additional funding from the bipartisan infrastructure bill is not specific to Massachusetts but is a competitive grant program.

As Gulliver explains: “We are literally competing with everybody. And by everybody, I mean every other state, DOT, anybody who uses civil engineers for any reason.”

But the salaries offered to prospective engineers by MassDOT are not competitive, he says. Officials are proposing salary increases and other financial incentives to recruit new employees — and retain the ones they have.

Matt Knosp, MassDOT’s HR officer says, “we believe that an increase of this size will improve the our overall ability to retain our existing workforce, while also positioning us more effectively to attract both new candidates”. A second provision is for a $5,000 signing bonus and a third provision would recognize employees who perform above and beyond or who create significant cost savings for the organization with a $250 payment.

The MassDOT Audit and Finance Committee has endorsed the proposal, which will be presented before the full DOT Board on June 15 for approval.