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A picture of the top ten construction, civil engineering and QS graduate employers, as revealed in The Guardian UK 300

The top employers in construction, civil engineering & quantity surveying

…according to the students and graduates who voted in the trendence Graduate Study 2017. Find out who came top – and also get advice on how to find the best job and employer for you.
'Everything is so much easier when you have a good working environment and supportive colleagues,' says an AECOM engineer.

Over 62,000 students and graduates voted in the trendence Graduate Study 2017 and revealed the construction, civil engineering and quantity surveying graduate employers they're most interested in working for.

These are the most popular construction, civil engineering and surveying employers with graduates:

  1. Arup offers more than 200 graduate roles in 2017–2018 across a range of its business areas including engineering, consulting, architecture, aerospace and accountancy. A 2.1 or higher in a relevant subject is required. For its engineering vacancies, a masters-level degree is preferred.
  2. Atkins recruits graduates to work in areas including aerospace, design and engineering, security and technology, defence and energy. A degree in a relevant subject is usually required.
  3. AECOM is an engineering design firm that is hiring 350 graduates in 2017–18 into jobs ranging from air planning consultants and civil engineers to project managers and transport planners. They usually require a 2.2 or above.
  4. Mott MacDonald is hiring 200 graduates in 2017–18. It offers graduate programmes in areas including engineering, surveying, management, planning, consultancy and environmental sustainability. Applicants are typically required to have a 2.1 degree.
  5. Balfour Beatty is hiring 200 graduates in 2017–18. Its technical graduate schemes are in engineering, health and safety, building and construction management, quantity surveying and commercial management. Graduates are required to have obtained a 2.2 in a relevant subject.
  6. Barratt Developments is a house builder and a residential property development company. It offers a range of graduate programmes in construction and property development.
  7. Mace has a two-year graduate development programme that is open to applicants with at least a 2.1 and 240 UCAS points from three A levels. Programme options range from project management to sustainability.
  8. Kier Group offers a three-year graduate development programme that is open to graduates who have a 2.1 or above in a subject accredited by a relevant professional body.
  9. BAM Construct UK requires applicants for its graduate schemes to be working in disciplines such as construction management, quantity surveying, architecture and engineering.
  10. Laing O’Rourke has graduate programmes in areas including engineering, quantity surveying and construction management. These programmes accept applicants from related degree disciplines with at least a 2.1.

The survey also decides the winners of the TARGETjobs National Graduate Recruitment Awards and the top 300 employers as featured in The Guardian UK 300, available from your careers service and online as an e-magazine.

How to get a graduate job with the best employer for you: make a shortlist

Why have we given you a list of the top ten employers? To give you a starting point. Probably one of the most difficult things for job-hunting graduates and students interested in a construction-related career is knowing where to start looking. There are so many different types of employers offering a huge variety of niche-sounding jobs that you can apply for: from acoustics engineer to environment and sustainability consultant.

The trick to dealing with this is not to apply to every employer that you hear about (you’re unlikely to be successful because you won’t have done enough research) nor to put your head in the sand and apply for no jobs (you won’t even put yourself in the running). Instead spend some time identifying your priorities and comparing employers before making a shortlist of between five and ten employers to focus on first. The above list is a starting point, but don't forget about the other employers within construction.

How do you make a shortlist of construction employers?

Do some self-reflection and then some research.

Step one: consider your values, preferences and priorities

Your role will be different according to the type of organisation you work for. Think about whether you would be happiest working at:

  • a consultant, (which broadly deals with the design phase)
  • a contractor (which broadly deals with the construction phase)
  • an infrastructure/utilities company or other company that owns and maintains a lot of land, eg retailers (these may do both stages and/or take a project management role)
  • a company that provides management and maintenance services, that may be known as an asset management company, a facilities management company or even a property firm
  • a local authority.

Think about the size of company you’d be happiest working at. There are lots of benefits to working for a large employer, such as high-profile projects, structured training schemes and a greater chance of working abroad. But the flipside is that you may only be involved in a small part of those high-profile projects and you might not be able to travel until you’re more experienced. Smaller employers may offer more responsibility at an early stage, an insight into the whole organisation, less of a requirement to relocate, and more opportunities to specialise.

What type of job would best suit your strengths? Make sure you look at the full range of jobs offered by the employer: you may already think that you want to be, for example, a civil engineering specialising in water, but the employer may have other roles that you could also apply for with your degree background: for example, as a project manager.

Think about what you value and prioritise most highly. What would make you feel most fulfilled in the workplace? Is it a high salary? Is it the opportunity to work on high-profile projects? Is it working on a variety of projects or is it seeing one job through? Is it about having friends at work? Is it working with the latest sustainable technology? For example, the Graduate Study 2017 found that 73% of students interested in construction, civil engineering and surveying careers would accept a lower salary if they thought the job was suited to them. Would you agree with this statement?

Step two: match employers to your preferences

Start by looking at the organisations on and then move to employers’ websites to find out more about what the organisations do and what they offer graduates.

But don’t ignore the opportunities to meet employers face-to-face. ‘Go to open days and careers fairs and speak to employees: ask what projects they are working on, the challenges they face in their work and about their career path,’ says Joël Thai, an engineer on AECOM’s graduate programme. ‘Attend meetings held by professional institutions and student societies, as employers are often invited and it is a good way to build a network.’ You could also investigate the events offered by TARGETjobs.

‘Do all you can to get to know the company culture,’ adds Joël. ‘It’s important because, no matter what happens on a project, everything is so much easier when you have a good working environment and supportive colleagues.’