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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 – 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 | have salaries increased? | other things to consider |

Starting salaries for graduate jobs in the construction industry are typically in line with averages in other graduate career areas, and your earnings will progress nicely as you gain experience and a professional qualification.

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

The following salaries are offered by leading construction and engineering employers, who are typically the highest payers. NB: figures refer to 2017–18 salaries unless otherwise indicated.

  • AECOM graduate salary: c. £24,000–£27,000
  • Amey graduate salary: reported to be c. £24,000–£28,000
  • 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: £28,000–£30,000
  • Balfour Beatty graduate salary: varies according to the role, but reported 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 according to the role
  • JLL graduate salary: from £23,000
  • Laing O’Rourke graduate salary: £28,000
  • Mace graduate salary: reported to be in the region of £25,000–£29,000
  • Mott MacDonald graduate salary: £25,000–£28,000
  • Network Rail graduate salary: £26,500 + regional allowances if applicable
  • nucleargrads starting salary: £25,000
  • Rider Levett Bucknall UK graduate salary: previous graduates have reported earning in the region of £23,000–£27,000, depending on location and job role
  • Sir Robert McAlpine graduate salary: previously in the region of £22,000–£24,000, depending on job role
  • Skanska UK graduate salary: previously reported to be in the region of £25,000–£29,000
  • Transport for London graduate salary: £26,000 in the first year
  • UK Power Networks graduate salary: £32,000
  • Wates graduate salary: £20,500 – £27,500

Average graduate starting salaries in architecture, project management, quantity surveying, building surveying and engineering

The Institute of Student Employers (ISE) 2017 Annual Survey asked their members about the graduate starting salaries. It cited the median graduate salary at construction and built environment employers as £27,00. It’s worth noting, however, that only construction/built environment companies only made up 5.5% of the Institute’s membership and that they tend to be the biggest recruiters who want to be seen as having especially good opportunities for students; their salaries might be more on the generous side and not representative of the entire industry.

Of more use to graduates when judging salaries, perhaps, is The Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2017, which compiled data from candidates placed in jobs by recruitment agency Hays in 2016. It found:

  • The typical salary for a graduate quantity surveyor at a consultancy: £23,000 (ranging from £20,000 in Northern Ireland to £27,000 in London)
  • The typical salary for a graduate building surveyor at a consultancy: £22,000 (ranging from £18,500 in Northern Ireland to £27,000 in London)
  • The typical salary for a graduate project manager at a surveying consultancy: £22,000 (ranging from £19,000 in Northern Ireland to £27,000 in London)
  • The typical salary for an architectural assistant, part I: £18,000 (ranging from £16,000 in Northern Ireland, south-west England and Scotland to £21,500 in London and south-east England)
  • The typical salary for a graduate civil engineer: £23,750 (ranging from £21,000 in south-west England to £28,500 in London)
  • The typical salary for a graduate structural engineer: £24,000 (ranging from £22,000 in Wales, north-east England and south-west England to £28,500 in London)
  • The typical salary for a graduate environment or geotechnical engineer: £24,000 (ranging from £22,000 in south-west England and Scotland to £29,500 in London)
  • The typical salary for a junior building services (M&E) engineer at a consultant: £25,000 (ranging from £21,000 in north-east England and Yorkshire and the Humber to £28,000 in London)

If some of these figures are lower than the salaries for 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.

Earnings for experienced construction industry professionals

The Hays 2017 survey reveals the following typical salaries for experienced professionals:

The typical salaries for experienced site managers

  • Assistant site manager: £32,000 (ranging from £28,000 in Wales to £40,000 in London)
  • Senior site manager: £47,000 (ranging from £40,000 in Northern Ireland to £60,000 in London)

The typical salaries for experienced quantity surveyors at construction contractors

  • Assistant quantity surveyor: £28,500 (ranging from £23,000 in Scotland to £34,000 in London)
  • Intermediate quantity surveyor: £41,000 (ranging from £38,000 in the West Midlands and Northern Ireland to £45,000 in London)
  • Senior quantity surveyor: £52,000 (ranging from £47,000 in north-east England to £62,500 in London)
  • Commercial manager: £64,000 (ranging from £55,000 in Northern Ireland to £85,000 in London)

The typical salaries for experienced quantity surveyors at consultancies

  • Newly qualified surveyor (with RICS or similar): £34,625 (ranging from £30,000 in north-east England to £41,000 in London)
  • Senior quantity surveyor: £46,000 (ranging from £38,000 in Northern Ireland to £57,000 in London)
  • Partner/director: £68,750 (ranging from £55,000 in north-east England to £92,500 in London)

The typical salaries for experienced building surveyors at consultancies

  • Newly qualified surveyor (with RICS): £32,000 (ranging from £28,000 in Northern Ireland to £40,000 in London)
  • Senior building surveyor: £43,000 (ranging from £32,000 in Northern Ireland to £55,000 in London)
  • Partner/director: £65,600 (ranging from £50,000 in north-east England and Northern Ireland to £92,500 in London)

The typical salaries for experienced architects

  • Architect: £37,000 (ranging from £31,000 in north-east England to £45,000 in London)
  • Associate: £45,000 (ranging from £39,000 in Wales to £64,500 in London)
  • Partner/director: £58,000 (ranging from £39,000 in Wales, north-east England and Northern Ireland to £85,000 in London)

According to the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, quoted in the Hays survey, in 2017 a chartered architectural technologist with three or four years’ experience can earn £25,000 to £30,000 and those with more experience can typically earn £33,000–£38,000.

The typical salaries for experienced civil engineers

  • Civil engineer: £33,000 (ranging from £29,000 in Northern Ireland to £37,500 in London)
  • Senior civil engineer: £41,000 (ranging from £38,000 in south-west England to £47,000 in London)
  • Associate civil engineer: £52,000 (ranging from £45,000 in Northern Ireland to £63,500 in London)

The typical salaries for experienced structural engineers

  • Structural engineer: £34,000 (ranging from £28,500 in Northern Ireland to £39,500 in London)
  • Senior structural engineer: £42,000 (ranging from £36,000 in Northern Ireland to £52,000 in London)
  • Associate structural engineer: £53,000 (ranging from £45,000 in Northern Ireland to £65,000 in London)

The typical salaries for experienced environment/geotechnical engineers

  • Engineer: £33,000 (ranging from £28,000 in south-west England and Yorkshire and the Humber to £37,500 in London)
  • Senior engineer: £39,000 (ranging from £35,500 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £46,000 in London)
  • Associate engineer: £48,500 (ranging from £41,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber to £62,500 in London)

The typical salaries for experienced building services engineers at a consultancy

  • Intermediate design engineer (M&E): £33,000 (ranging from £26,000 in Northern Ireland and Yorkshire and the Humber to £38,000 in London)
  • Senior design engineer (M&E): £46,000 (ranging from £38,000 in Northern Ireland to £55,000 in London)
  • Director: £61,000 (ranging from £50,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber and north-east England to £90,000 in London)

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

The Hays 2017 salary and trends survey found that 73% of construction and property employers had increased their salaries: 34% by up to 2.5% and 16% by over 5% (although it’s worth noting that employers often advertise harder-to-fill vacancies through recruitment agencies and so may need to offer higher salaries as an incentive, so the survey may show more of a raise than is typical across the industry). Uncertainties about Brexit could mean that some companies put across-the-board pay rises on hold, as they may want to control their expenses until the political and economic situation is stabilised.

However, it is usual for construction employers to increase salaries for employees who have passed their professional qualification.

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 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 they offer you.

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