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Pay and salaries for construction, engineering and surveying graduate jobs

Salary guide: how much you earn in civil engineering, construction and surveying careers

Research graduate salaries in construction industry jobs, including those in civil engineering, structural engineering, construction management, architecture, quantity surveying and building surveying.
The median graduate salary at built environment employers is £26,900, according to the ISE... but how representative is that figure?

The pay packet of many graduate construction professionals (for example, the salary of a graduate civil engineer, a graduate quantity surveyor, a graduate site manager and an architectural assistant) can be said to be broadly in line with those of many other graduate jobs – although not reaching the heights of those working in law or investment banking. However, your pay will increase as you gain experience and as you gain professional qualifications. We look at how much your starting salary could be in a range of construction jobs and at a range of employers. We also investigate how much you could earn as you gain more experience.

Salary guide for civil engineering, construction and surveying careers: starting salaries for leading firms | average construction industry salaries for graduates and beyond | civil engineering salaries | structural engineering salaries | building services (M&E) engineering salaries | quantity surveying salaries | estimator salaries | building surveying salaries | project surveyor salaries | construction management salaries | project management salaries | architect salaries | architectural technologist salaries | facilities management salaries | other things to consider

How much do graduate construction, engineering and surveying companies pay graduates in the UK?

Below are the starting salaries for graduate programmes at the big construction, engineering and quantity surveying employers. These employers typically pay the highest salaries. Where a range is mentioned, your salary will either differ according to location or due to your job role (engineers typically earn more, for example). NB: figures refer to 2019–20 salaries unless otherwise indicated; where we say ‘reported’ the information has come from salary survey sites rather than the employer.

  • AECOM graduate salary: £24,000–£27,000
  • Atkins graduate salary: reported to be in the region of £25,000–£30,000 for engineers and consultants
  • Babcock International Group graduate salary: £29,000–£31,000
  • Balfour Beatty graduate salary: reported to vary according to the role and location, but said to be in the region of £27,000 upwards
  • BAE Systems graduate salary: in the region of £28,000 (construction-related roles include site and facilities project manager and its mechanical and civil engineer programme)
  • Barratt Developments graduate salary: up to £27,000
  • Berkeley Group graduate salary: reported to be c. £25,000–£27,000
  • Caterpillar graduate survey: either £30,396–£30,896, £29,396–£29,896 or £24,421 depending on the role and/or location
  • Carter Jonas graduate salary: £20,000–£30,000
  • Centrica graduate salary: £32,000 (construction-related programmes include a civil engineering programme)
  • Costain graduate salary: previously £28,000
  • Colliers graduate salary: reported to be in the region of £25,000
  • Crest Nicholson graduate salary: previously £25,500
  • Cushman & Wakefield graduate salary: reported to vary according to region, but said to be around £25,000
  • Faithful+Gould graduate salary: previously £27,000 for London and the south-east; £24,500 for the rest of the UK
  • ISG graduate salary: falls in the region of £25,000–£30,000
  • Kier Group graduate salary: reported to be in the region of £27,000
  • Laing O’Rourke graduate salary: previously £28,000
  • Mace graduate salary: previously reported to be in the region of £25,000–£30,000
  • Mott MacDonald graduate salary: £28,000–£31,000
  • Network Rail graduate salary: £26,500
  • nucleargraduates starting salary: £25,000–£30,000
  • Skanska UK graduate salary: reported to be in the region of £25,000–£31,000
  • Talent Source (which coordinates recruitment for employers in energy and utilities) graduate salary: ranges from around £28,000 to £30,000 depending on the role
  • Transport for London graduate salary: £27,000
  • Wates graduate salary: £20,500–£27,500.

How much can I earn as a graduate and go on to earn as an experienced hire in the construction industry?

The Institute of Student Employers (ISE) 2019 annual survey of its members cited the median graduate salary at built environment employers as £26,900. This is in line with many of the salaries at the top employers listed above, but perhaps that’s not surprising as only ten of the ISE’s built environment members supplied information to the survey and the ISE membership tends to be made up of the biggest recruiters. This figure might not be representative of the entire industry.

Graduates interested in pay might find the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 survey more useful: it compiled salary data from candidates placed in jobs by the recruitment agency Hays in 2018. The results are below.

What does a civil engineer make?

  • The median typical salary of a graduate civil engineer: £24,250 (ranging from £22,500 in south-west England to £29,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a civil engineer: £34,750 (ranging from £30,000 in Northern Ireland to £40,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior civil engineer: £42,625 (ranging from £36,250 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £50,000 in London).

How much does a structural engineer get paid?

  • The median typical salary of a graduate structural engineer: £24,750 (ranging from £23,000 in north-east England, south-west England and Wales to £29,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a structural engineer: £35,250 (ranging from £31,000 in Northern Ireland to £41,250 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior structural engineer: £43,500 (ranging from £38,750 in Northern Ireland to £54,000 in London).

What is the salary of a building services engineer at a consultancy?

  • The median typical salary of a junior design (mechanical and electrical) engineer: £26,500 (ranging from £22,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber and north-east England to £30,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an intermediate design (mechanical and electrical) engineer: £35,875 (ranging from £27,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £40,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior design (mechanical and electrical) engineer: £46,875 (ranging from £40,000 in Northern Ireland to £56,000 in London and south-east England)
  • The median typical salary of a director: £62,625 (ranging from £52,500 in north-east England to £91,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an experienced sustainability consultant: £44,250 (ranging from £37,750 in Northern Ireland to £56,000 in London).

What is the salary of a professional quantity surveyor (PQS) at a consultancy?

  • The median typical salary of a graduate quantity surveyor: £24,000 (ranging from £21,500 in Northern Ireland to £29,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a newly chartered quantity surveyor: £36,375 (ranging from £32,000 in north-east England to £45,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior quantity surveyor: £47,625 (ranging from £41,000 in Northern Ireland to £61,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a partner or director: £69,750 (ranging from £60,000 in north-east England to £100,000 in London).

How much does a quantity surveyor working on site make?

  • The median typical salary of an assistant quantity surveyor: £30,000 (ranging from £25,000 in Scotland to £35,000 in London) NB: We think this is for someone with around two or three years’ experience.
  • The median typical salary of an intermediate quantity surveyor: £43,250 (ranging from £40,000 in north-east England to £50,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior quantity surveyor: £54,000 (ranging from £47,000 in north-east England to £68,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a commercial manager: £65,500 (ranging from £60,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber and north-east England to £93,000 in London).

How much does an estimator earn?

  • The median typical salary of an assistant estimator: £31,000 (ranging from £26,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £38,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an estimator: £45,000 (ranging from £40,000 in north-east England to £55,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior estimator: £57,000 (ranging from £47,000 in north-east England to £72,000 in London).

How much does a building surveyor make at a consultancy?

  • The median typical salary of a graduate building surveyor: £23,250 (ranging from £19,500 in Northern Ireland to £28,750 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a newly chartered building surveyor: £35,500 (ranging from £30,000 in Northern Ireland to £44,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior building surveyor: £44,625 (ranging from £35,000 in Northern Ireland to £57,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a partner or director: £68,375 (ranging from £54,500 in north-east England to £99,500 in London).

How much does a project management surveyor make at a consultancy?

  • The median typical salary of a graduate project management surveyor: £23,625 (ranging from £21,000 in Northern Ireland to £27,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a newly qualified project management surveyor: £34,625 (ranging from £29,200 in the East Midlands to £47,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior project management surveyor: £47,375 (ranging from £43,500 in Northern Ireland to £65,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a partner or director: £69,625 (ranging from £64,000 in north-east England and Northern Ireland to £100,000 in London).

What is the salary of a construction manager?

  • The median typical salary of an assistant site manager: £33,750 (ranging from £28,000 in Northern Ireland to £42,500 in London) NB: We suspect that this is the salary of an experienced assistant manager on a large project.
  • The median typical salary of a site manager: £46,000 (ranging from £40,000 in Northern Ireland to £54,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior site manager: £51,500 (ranging from £42,000 in Northern Ireland to £66,000 in London).

What is the salary of a construction project manager?

  • The median typical salary of an experienced operational project manager: £54,000 (ranging from £45,500 in north-east England to £70,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an experienced project manager at a surveying consultancy: £46,875 (ranging from £40,000 in Northern Ireland to £57,000 in south-east England)
  • The median typical salary of an experienced project manager at a building services contractor: £47,750 (ranging from £38,250 in Northern Ireland to £70,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an experienced design manager: £55,000 (ranging from £45,000 in Wales and, strangely, south-east England to £75,000 in London).

How much can an architect earn?

  • The median typical salary of a part 1 architectural assistant: £18,375 (ranging from £16,000 in Scotland to £22,500 in London and south-east England)
  • The median typical salary of a part 2 architectural assistant: £25,750 (ranging from £21,000 in north-east England to £31,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a recently qualified architect: £31,000 (ranging from £28,500 in Northern Ireland to £38,000 in London)
  • The median salary of a senior architect: £40,000 (ranging from £38,000 in Wales to £52,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a partner/director: £58,125 (ranging from £51,500 in north-east England to £86,000 in London).

What is the salary of an architectural technologist?

  • The median typical salary of an architectural technologist: £27,625 (ranging from £22,500 in Wales to £36,750 in London). NB: We think this is a salary for those with three or four years’ experience.
  • The median typical salary of a senior architectural technologist: £36,000 (ranging from £33,250 in Wales to £47,000 in London).

How much can you earn from a facilities management career?

  • The median typical salary of a facilities assistant: £23,500 (ranging from £18,500 in Northern Ireland to £25,750 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an experienced facilities manager: £39,125 (ranging from £35,250 in Northern Ireland to £50,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a facilities management director: £65,750 (ranging from £57,000 in Northern Ireland to £91,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an experienced mechanical/electrical engineer specialising in facilities management: £32,500 (ranging from £29,250 in Northern Ireland to £34,000 in London).

Where these figures are lower than the salaries for the specific employers listed above, it reflects the fact that agencies work with construction companies of all types and sizes, not just the leading names offering the highest salaries.

When reviewing construction, surveying and engineering salaries…

When investigating and comparing salaries, it’s not always wise to immediately go for the employer that offers the highest amount of pay. Take into account other factors such as:

  • the living and commuting costs in the area
  • the additional benefits that come as part of the package, such as a company car, life assurance and private healthcare
  • the training and development opportunities and support on offer (for example, most large employers will pay your professional fees and training costs, but some smaller employers won’t; some run their own in-house training courses, while others will allow you to attend sessions run by your professional body).

You may well find that an employer who pays a lower salary makes up for it in the overall remuneration package or the work/life balance they offer you.

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