A new survey has found that an engineering background produces more millionaires than any other form of tertiary instruction.

The survey, conducted by wealth management publication Spear’s and consulting firm WealthInsight, found that engineering was the most popular degree amongst the world’s millionaires, beating out even MBAs and computer science and finance degrees.

MBAs came in second after engineering, with economics, law and business administration degrees rounding out the top five. While engineering was at the top of the list, the only other STEM subject represented in the top 10 was computer science, logging in at number eight.

Other disciplines common among the world’s millionaires included commerce, accounting, politics and finance.

The mammoth survey looked at over 70,000 millionaires around the world, who were defined as individuals possessing in excess of US$1 million excluding their primary residences.

Despite the prominence of engineering backgrounds amongst the world’s wealthiest, WealthInsight’s Oliver Williams said in a statement that the rankings could be somewhat misleading, since most of those millionaires amassed their fortunes as entrepreneurs as opposed full time vocational professionals.

“Interestingly, few of these degrees turn out to be outright vocational,” he said. “Most engineering graduates, for example, are not engineers but entrepreneurs.”

The combination of advanced abstract thought and practical problem-solving ability earned through training as an engineer undoubtedly contributed, however, to the success of degree holders in their chosen paths as entrepreneurs.

The results of the Spear’s survey may come as little solace to engineering professionals in Australia, with recent surveys indicating that their incomes have declined of late in the wake of the mining boom’s decline.

Mercer’s Total Remuneration Survey, which was released last month, indicated that construction and engineering salaries in Australia are declining for the first time since 2009 despite pay gains in other sectors of the economy such as retail and manufacturing.

“We are seeing a considerably more conservative approach to remuneration than we have in most of the last decade,” said Mercer spokesperson Garry Adams in a statement.

The Mercer study follows a survey released by Engineers Australia in February of this year, which indicated that the remuneration packages of members of the engineering profession fell by three per cent in 2012 compared to 2011, for their first decline in the decade since the survey was was launched.

The Engineers Australia Salary and Benefits Survey 2012 found that the average base salary for engineers had fallen from $104,156 in 2011 to $100,644 in 2012, while the average salary package fell from $117,030 to $113,421.