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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 £27,100, 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 | have salaries increased? | other things to consider |

How much do construction companies pay on their UK graduate schemes?

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 2018–19 salaries unless otherwise indicated.

  • AECOM graduate salary: £24,000–£27,000
  • Babcock International Group graduate salary: £28,000–£30,000
  • Balfour Beatty graduate salary: previously reported to vary according to the role and to be in the region of £24,000 upwards
  • BAM Construct graduate salary: previously reported to be in the region of £23,000–£31,000, depending on the role
  • Barratt Developments graduate salary: previously £24,000, rising to £27,000 for its London and Aberdeen offices and for its accelerated graduate programme
  • Berkeley Group graduate salary: reported to be c. £25,000–£27,000
  • Costain graduate salary: £28,000
  • Crest Nicholson graduate salary: £25,500 + £3,000 car allowance
  • ISG graduate salary: falls in the region of £25,000–£30,000
  • JLL graduate salary: £23,000–£24,000 depending on scheme and role
  • Laing O’Rourke graduate salary: £28,000
  • Max Fordham graduate salary: reported to be in the region of £24,000
  • Mace graduate salary: previously reported to be in the region of £25,000–£30,000
  • Mott MacDonald graduate salary: £26,000–£30,000
  • Network Rail graduate salary: £26,500
  • nucleargraduates starting salary: £26,000
  • Sanctuary Housing Association: £25,000 rising to £26,250 following the successful completion of the first year
  • Skanska UK graduate salary: previously reported to be in the region of £25,000–£29,000
  • SNC Lavalin's Atkins Business graduate salary: reported to be in the region of £27,000–£30,000 for engineers and consultants
  • SNC Lavalin's Faithful+Gould Business graduate salary: £27,000 for London and the south-east; £24,500 for the rest of the UK
  • Thames Water graduate salary: £28,000
  • Transport for London graduate salary: £27,000
  • UK Power Networks graduate salary: £33,500
  • 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) asked its members about graduate starting salaries in its 2018 annual survey. It cited the median graduate salary at built environment employers as £27,100. But the ISE only surveyed 138 members, a minority of whom were likely to be built environment employers (in 2017 only 5.5% of the membership were from the built environment sector). The ISE membership also tends to be made up of the biggest recruiters; the amount they pay might not be representative of the entire industry.

Graduates interested in pay might find the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2018 survey more useful: it compiled salary data from candidates placed in jobs by the recruitment agency Hays in 2017. The results are below.

What does a civil engineer make?

  • The median typical salary of a graduate civil engineer: £23,750 (ranging from £21,750 in south-west England to £29,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a civil engineer: £34,000 (ranging from £29,500 in Northern Ireland to £38,250 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior civil engineer: £41,250 (ranging from £35,500 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £48,000 in London)

How much does a structural engineer get paid?

  • The median typical salary of a graduate structural engineer: £24,125 (ranging from £22,500 in north-east England, south-west England and Wales to £29,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a structural engineer: £34,250 (ranging from £31,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £40,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior structural engineer: £42,750 (ranging from £38,000 in Northern Ireland to £53,000 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: £25,750 (ranging from £21,500 in Yorkshire and the Humber and north-east England to £29,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an intermediate design (mechanical and electrical) engineer: £35,000 (ranging from £26,500 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £39,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior design (mechanical and electrical) engineer: £45,750 (ranging from £38,500 in Northern Ireland to £55,000 in London and south-east England)
  • The median typical salary of a director: £61,750 (ranging from £51,000 in north-east England to £90,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an experienced sustainability consultant: £43,500 (ranging from £37,000 in Northern Ireland to £55,000 in London

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

  • The median typical salary of a graduate quantity surveyor: £23,500 (ranging from £21,000 in Northern Ireland to £28,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a newly chartered quantity surveyor: £35,750 (ranging from £31,500 in north-east England to £42,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior quantity surveyor: £46,500 (ranging from £40,000 in Northern Ireland to £60,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a partner or director: £68,000 (ranging from £58,000 in north-east England to £95,000 in London)

How much does a quantity surveyor working on site make?

  • The median typical salary of an assistant quantity surveyor: £29,750 (ranging from £24,000 in Scotland to £35,000 in London) NB: We suspect that this is the salary of an experienced assistant surveyor.
  • The median typical salary of a senior quantity surveyor: £53,000 (ranging from £47,000 in north-east England to £65,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a commercial manager: £63,250 (ranging from £57,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £87,000 in London)

How much does an estimator earn?

  • The median typical salary of an assistant estimator: £29,750 (ranging from £27,000 in north-east England to £36,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an estimator: £44,000 (ranging from £40,000 in north-east England to £51,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior estimator: £54,500 (ranging from £47,000 in north-east England to £69,000 in London)

How much does a building surveyor make at a consultancy?

  • The median typical salary of a graduate building surveyor: £22,750 (ranging from £19,000 in Northern Ireland to £28,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a newly chartered building surveyor: £34,500 (ranging from £29,500 in Northern Ireland to £42,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior building surveyor: £43,500 (ranging from £33,000 in Northern Ireland to £56,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a partner or director: £66,750 (ranging from £52,000 in north-east England to £98,000 in London)

How much does a project surveyor make at a consultancy?

  • The median typical salary of a graduate project management surveyor: £23,000 (ranging from £20,000 in Northern Ireland to £27,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a newly qualified project management surveyor: £33,750 (ranging from £28,000 in the East Midlands to £45,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a senior project management surveyor: £46,000 (ranging from £42,000 in Northern Ireland to £62,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a partner or director: £68,250 (ranging from £62,000 in north-east England to £95,000 in London)

What is the salary of a construction manager?

  • The median typical salary of an assistant site manager: £32,750 (ranging from £27,000 in Northern Ireland to £42,000 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: £43,000 (ranging from £38,000 in Northern Ireland to £51,500 in London and south-east England)
  • The median typical salary of a senior site manager: £48,250 (ranging from £40,000 in Northern Ireland to £63,500 in London)

What is the salary of a construction project manager?

  • The median typical salary of an experienced operational project manager: £52,500 (ranging from £44,000 in Northern Ireland and north-east England to £65,000 in London and south-east England)
  • The median typical salary of an experienced project manager at a surveying consultancy: £45,500 (ranging from £39,000 in Northern Ireland to £55,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an experienced project manager at a building services contractor: £46,250 (ranging from £37,000 in Northern Ireland to £68,500 in London)

How much can an architect earn?

  • The median typical salary of a part 1 architectural assistant: £17,875 (ranging from £16,000 in Scotland to £22,000 in London and south-east England)
  • The median typical salary of a part 2 architectural assistant: £24,875 (ranging from £20,500 in north-east England to £31,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an architect: £37,375 (ranging from £32,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £45,500 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a partner/director: £56,500 (ranging from £50,500 in north-east England to £85,000 in London)

What is the salary of an architectural technologist?

  • The median typical salary of an architectural technologist: £26,750 (ranging from £22,000 in Wales to £35,000 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: £34,500 (ranging from £32,000 in Wales to £45,000 in London)

How much can you earn from a facilities management career?

  • The median typical salary of a facilities assistant: £23,000 (ranging from £18,000 in Northern Ireland to £25,250 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a facilities manager: £38,250 (ranging from £35,000 in Northern Ireland to £49,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of a facilities management director: £65,000 (ranging from £56,500 in Northern Ireland to £90,000 in London)
  • The median typical salary of an experienced mechanical/electrical engineer specialising in facilities management: £31,000 (ranging from £28,500 in Northern Ireland to £33,500 in Yorkshire and the Humber)

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.

Have salaries for construction, civil engineering and quantity surveying jobs increased and when will you get a raise?

There are signs that construction employers are increasing their salaries: some of the graduate employers listed above, including Transport for London and Mott MacDonald, have raised their salaries by at least a thousand pounds for this year. The Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends 2018 survey has also found that 78% of employers for commercial construction staff, 72% of employers of on-site staff and 62% of architecture employers did increase salaries over the previous year. It also found that the average salary increase for construction and property roles was 2.7%. (But employers often advertise harder-to-fill vacancies through recruitment agencies and so may need to offer higher salaries as an incentive; therefore, the survey may show more of a raise than is typical across the industry.)

The ISE Development Survey 2018 states that graduate employees at the same organisation would earn a median of 25% more than their original graduate starting salary after three years. This means that if you earned the ISE median salary for graduates at a built environment employer, £27,100, you are likely to be earning just under £34,000 three years in. However, once again, treat these figures with caution: only 6.9% of the employers who took part in the survey were from the built environment sector and they would be among the largest graduate employers in the sectors. The findings cannot be seen as representative of the entire construction industry.

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 – 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 or the work/life balance they offer you.

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