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

Research graduate salaries – and how much experienced professionals earn – in construction industry jobs including civil engineering, structural engineering, construction management, architecture, quantity surveying and building surveying.

Salary guide for civil engineering, construction and surveying careers: starting salaries for leading firms | average industry salaries for graduates | average salaries for experienced professionals | other things to consider |

Entering the construction industry isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. However, starting salaries are typically in line with averages in other graduate career areas, and will be a nice little earner a few years down the line.

Starting salaries for leading civil engineering, structural engineering, construction and surveying graduate schemes

The following salaries are offered by leading construction employers, who are typically the highest payers. NB: figures refer to 2016 salaries unless otherwise indicated.

  • AECOM graduate salary: £23,000–£26,000
  • Amey graduate salary: £24,500–£26,500
  • Arup graduate salary: previously reported to be around £23,000–£26,000
  • Atkins graduate salary: previously £23,000–£30,000
  • Babcock International Group graduate salary: £27,000–£30,000
  • Balfour Beatty graduate salary: reported to be in the region of £23,000–£27,000
  • BAM Construct graduate salary: reported to be in the region of £23,000–£31,000
  • Barratt Developments graduate salary: £24,000, rising to £27,000 for its London and Aberdeen offices and for its accelerated graduate programme
  • Croudace Homes Group Ltd: previously £26,000
  • Goldcrest graduate salary: £23,000–£30,000
  • JLL graduate salary: from £23,000
  • Laing O’Rourke graduate salary: £27,000
  • Lloyd’s Register graduate salary: £25,500–£27,500
  • McGee Group Ltd graduate salary: £22,500
  • Mace graduate salary: previously £24,000–£28,000
  • Mott MacDonald graduate salary: £25,000–£28,000
  • Network Rail graduate salary: £26,500
  • nucleargrads: £25,000
  • Rider Levett Bucknall UK graduate salary: previous graduates have reported earning in the region of £20,000–£26,000, depending on location and job role
  • Sir Robert McAlpine graduate salary: up to £24,000 in the past, depending on job role
  • Skanska UK graduate salary: reported to be in the region of £25,000–£29,000
  • Transport for London graduate salary: £26,000
  • Wates: £20,500–£27,500
  • WSP: reported to be in the region of £23,000–27,000

Average graduate starting salaries in the construction industry

The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) Annual Graduate Recruitment Survey 2015, which surveyed its members on the salaries they offered, cited the median graduate starting salary at a construction company or consultancy as £25,500 – but these tend to be the biggest recruiters who want to be seen as having especially good opportunities for graduates so salaries might be more on the generous side.

Of more use to graduates when judging salaries, perhaps, is The Hays Construction & Property Salary Guide 2016, which compiles data from candidates placed in jobs with consultancies by recruitment agency Hays Construction over the preceding twelve months. It found that the national average salaries were:

  • Architectural assistant part I: £18,250 (ranging from £15,500 in Northern Ireland, £18,000 in North West England and £21,000 in Greater London)
  • Architectural assistant part II: £24,500 (ranging from £20,000 in North East England to £30,000 in Greater London)
  • Architectural CAD technician : £25,000 (ranging from £20,000 in Northern Ireland to £29,000 in Greater London)
  • Graduate building surveyor: £22,250 (ranging from £18,500 in Northern Ireland to £25,000 in Greater London)
  • Graduate engineer: £24,000 (ranging from £22,000 in South West England to £27,500 in Greater London)

In its 2016 Salary Guide, Hays reported that typical salaries for graduate surveyors ranged from £19,500 in Northern Ireland, £21,000 in the West Midlands and £22,000 in Scotland to £25,000 in Greater London.

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

Earnings for experienced construction industry professionals

In the current economic climate, don’t expect much of an increase on your starting salary in your first couple of years in the job. However, in the longer term, the construction industry offers good potential for pay rises.

The Building/Hays Construction & Property Salary Guide 2016 reports the national average salaries for the following positions:

  • £37,250 for an architect; £52,500 for an associate; £72,500 for a partner/director
  • £24,000 for a graduate engineer; £41,500 for a senior engineer; £52,500 for an associate engineer
  • £22,500 for a graduate quantity surveyor; £46,500 for a senior quantity surveyor; £59,000 for an associate quantity surveyor

The CIBSE/Hays report found the typical national average annual salaries for the following positions:

  • Consultant – intermediate design engineer: £29,167
  • Consultant – associate engineer: £48,500
  • Contractor – estimator: £36,292
  • Contractor – project engineer: £31,708
  • Senior contracts manager: £42,458
  • Contractor – project manager: £42,333
  • Consultant – director: £26,833
  • Contractor – director: £55,333

According to the The Landscape Institute Employment and Income Survey 2014, the majority of landscape professionals (landscape architects, designers, managers, planners, scientists/ecologists and urban designers) earned within the following salary bands:

  • Licentiate (graduate) landscape professional: £20,000–£25,000
  • Chartered landscape professional: £30,000–£40,000

When reviewing construction, surveying and engineering salaries…

When investigating and comparing salaries, it’s not always wise to immediately plump for the higher salaries. Take into account other factors such as:

  • the living and commuting costs in the area
  • the extra 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 – this is particularly important for graduates looking to gain a professional qualification

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