A typical salary for a graduate engineering job with a high-profile graduate employer in the UK is around the £26,000 to £29,000 mark. Salaries for graduate schemes advertised with TARGETjobs Engineering tend to range between around £22,000 to £30,000. A few engineering employers pay more, typically (but not exclusively) oil and gas giants such as BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. Salaries for graduate engineers working for small and medium-sized or regional employers tend to be slightly lower, often between £18,000 and £25,000.
What is the average salary for a graduate engineer?
The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey, which questioned 2016/17 graduates approximately six months after they graduated, found that graduates from technology, engineering and maths subjects earned between between £18,250 and £31,300. It's worth noting, though, that this figure covers both engineering graduates working in engineering and those who moved on to other fields.
Meanwhile, the Institute of Student Employers' (ISE) 2018 Annual Survey reported that the average starting salary for graduates in an engineering job role was £30,790. However, bear in mind that the study is based on employees at ISE members, who typically pay more than other employers.
The Engineering UK 2018: the state of engineering report states that the mean starting salary of engineering and technology graduates in 2015/16 was £25,607, 18 per cent higher than the average for all graduates. The report also outlines the mean starting salary for first degree leavers in the following subject areas:
- General engineering: £27,121
- Civil engineering: £25,445
- Mechanical engineering: £26,101
- Aerospace engineering: £25,169
- Naval architecture: £24,627
- Electronic and electrical engineering: £25,699
- Production and manufacturing engineering: £24,625
- Chemical, process and energy engineering: £26,971
Will I get paid more if I have a postgraduate degree?
Some engineering employers do pay their graduates more if they have a masters degree or PhD. National Grid, for example, offers graduates with a masters a slightly higher starting salary.
A postgraduate degree can also boost your future salary. The Engineering Council's most recent survey, the Survey of Registered Engineers and Technicians 2013, found that the median basic income for engineers educated to graduate level was £56,000; for those educated to postgraduate level the figure was £62,000.
What salary progression can a graduate engineer expect?
Many engineering employers state that their graduates can expect to see their salary reviewed – and potentially increased – on a regular basis. How much your salary will increase over the course of your graduate scheme will depend on the individual employer, though.
The ISE 2018 Development Survey can give you an idea of the typical salary progression for graduate engineers. It found that the median salary progression after three years for graduates recruited in 2014 was:
- 11% at engineering and industrial companies
- 25% at construction/built environment companies
- 35% at energy, water and utilities companies
How much do chartered engineers and incorporated engineers earn?
The Engineering Council’s Survey of Registered Engineers and Technicians includes earning levels for experienced engineers with both chartered and incorporated engineer status. Its most recent survey, published in 2014, reported that the median annual earnings (including bonuses, overtime pay etc) was £63,000 for chartered engineers and £45,500 for incorporated engineers.
For chartered engineers, the tenth percentile was £38,000 (ie those whose earning levels were higher than ten per cent of the others in the survey); the 90th percentile was £110,000 (ie those whose earning levels were higher than 90 per cent of the others in the survey). For incorporated engineers, the tenth percentile was £31,000; the 90th percentile was £76,316.
Starting salaries for engineering employers' graduate schemes
The following figures relate to starting salaries for 2018/19.
- AECOM graduate salary: £24,000–£27,000
- Airbus graduate salary: £27,000
- Associated British Foods - Grocery graduate salary: £32,500
- Babcock International Group graduate salary: £28,000–£30,000
- BAE Systems graduate salary: a minimum of £28,000 (graduate development framework); £30,000 (finance leader development programme and applied intelligence future talent programme)
- BMW Group graduate salary: £31,000
- BP graduate salary: £35,000–£40,000
- Caterpillar graduate salary: £29,266 or £29,766 for the engineering programme and £27,266 or £28,766 for non-engineering programmes depending on experience
- Centrica graduate salary: £32,000
- DSTL graduate salary: £24,000–£26,000
- EDF Energy graduate salary: £27,500
- E.ON graduate salary: £29,000
- ExxonMobil graduate salary: £38,000
- FirstGroup graduate salary: £26,000
- INEOS graduate salary: £35,500
- Jaguar Land Rover graduate salary: £29,000
- Johnson Matthey Plc graduate salary: £28,000+
- Laing O'Rourke graduate salary: £28,000
- Lloyd's Register graduate salary: £25,500–£27,500
- Lockheed Martin graduate salary: £27,000
- Mars graduate salary: £30,000 (engineering and R&D programmes)
- Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains graduate salary: £33,000
- Metaswitch graduate salary: £35,000
- MOD/DESG graduate salary: £25,382
- Mott MacDonald graduate salary: £25,000–£28,000
- National Grid graduate salary: £27,500–£28,500 depending on qualifications
- National Instruments graduate salary: £27,500
- Network Rail graduate salary: £26,500
- Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK graduate salary: £30,476
- npower graduate salary: £26,500
- nucleargraduates graduate salary: £26,000
- Raytheon graduate salary: £26,500
- Rolls-Royce graduate salary: £28,500
- Severn Trent graduate salary: £26,500
- SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) graduate salary: £28,900
- Thames Water graduate salary: £28,000
- Transport for London graduate salary: £27,000
- UK Power Networks graduate salary: £33,500
- Unilever graduate salary: £32,000 (Unilever Future Leaders Programme, which includes R&D, technology management and supply chain roles)
- Welsh Water graduate salary: £22,400+