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Engineering salary round-up: from graduate to chartered engineer

Discover what a typical engineering graduate salary is like, how much the top graduate schemes pay and average salaries for chartered engineers and incorporated engineers.

A graduate engineer could earn £18,000 with a modest regional employer or £33,000 working for a global oil company. Typical earnings for incorporated and chartered engineers are £43,300 and £55,000 respectively, though there is huge variation in pay for engineers at these levels.

Starting salaries for leading engineering graduate schemes

The following figures relate to starting salaries for 2017.

  • Associated British Foods - Grocery graduate salary: £30,500
  • AECOM graduate salary: £23,000–£26,000
  • Airbus graduate salary: £26,000+
  • Air Products PLC graduate salary: £30,000
  • Amey graduate salary: £24,500–£26,500
  • AWE graduate salary: £23,220–£23,720 depending on experience
  • Babcock graduate salary: a minimum of £25,000, although many schemes offer £27,000-£30,000
  • BAE Systems graduate salary: a minimum of £28,000 (graduate development framework); £30,000 (finance leader development programme and sigma leadership programme)
  • BP graduate salary: £33,000–£40,000
  • British Sugar graduate salary: £30,000 (engineering and electrical engineering programmes only)
  • Caterpillar graduate salary: £27,500–£28,000 for the engineering programme and £26,500–£27,000 for non-engineering programmes depending on experience
  • DSTL graduate salary: circa £23,000
  • EDF Energy graduate salary: £27,500
  • E.ON graduate salary: £29,000 starting salary
  • ExxonMobil graduate salary: £37,500–£42,000 depending on qualifications
  • FirstGroup graduate salary: £26,000
  • Imagination Technologies graduate salary: £25,000–£30,000
  • Jaguar Land Rover graduate salary: £29,000
  • Johnson Matthey Plc graduate salary: £28,000+
  • Laing O'Rourke graduate salary: £27,000
  • Leonardo-Finmeccanica graduate salary: £26,000
  • Lloyd's Register graduate salary: £25,500–£27,500
  • Mars graduate salary: £28,420 (engineering and R&D programmes)
  • MOD/DESG graduate salary: £25,077
  • Mott MacDonald graduate salary: £25,000–£28,000 depending on location and qualifications
  • National Grid graduate salary: £27,500–£28,500 depending on qualifications
  • National Instruments graduate salary: £27,500
  • Network Rail graduate salary: £26,500
  • Nestlé graduate salary: £27,000
  • Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK graduate salary: £29,660
  • nucleargraduates graduate salary: £25,000
  • Rolls-Royce graduate salary: £28,000
  • RWE npower graduate salary: £30,000–£35,000 (quantitative risk scheme); £26,000 (other schemes)
  • RWE Generation UK graduate salary: £29,000
  • Shell graduate salary: £30,000–£35,000
  • Thames Water Utilities Ltd graduate salary: £28,000
  • Transport for London graduate salary: £26,000
  • UK Power Networks graduate salary: £31,000
  • Unilever graduate salary: £30,000 (Unilever Future Leaders Programme, which includes R&D roles)
  • Unipart Group graduate salary: £26,500
  • Wates graduate salary: £20,500–£27,500

What is a typical salary for a graduate engineer?

A typical salary for a graduate engineering job with a high profile graduate employer is around the £26,000 mark. Salaries for such roles 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. Conversely, salaries for graduate engineers working for small and medium-sized employers tend to be slightly lower, often between £18,000 and £25,000.

The AGR Annual Survey, published in 2016, outlined the graduate starting salaries that its members (mainly well paying blue-chip employers) paid graduates starting work in 2016. It reported that the median graduate starting salary with AGR-affilated engineering and industrial companies was £26,550. The median for construction companies and consultancies was £25,625; the median for energy, water and utilities companies was £27,500; and the median for fast moving consumer goods companies was £29,000. NB these figures include non-engineering roles

The AGR 2016 Development Survey also found that the median salary progression after three years for graduates recruited in 2012 was 15% at engineering and industrial companies, 32% at energy, water and utilities companies and 27% at fast moving consumer goods companies.

The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey, which questioned 2015 graduates approximately six months after they graduated, found:

  • The average salary for mechanical engineering graduates with a bachelors degree was £25,000; those with an integrated masters averaged £27,000
  • The average salary for civil engineering graduates with a bachelors degree was £25,000; those with an integrated masters averaged £25,500
  • The average salary for electrical and electronic engineering graduates with a bachelors degree was £25,000; those with an integrated masters degree averaged £27,000.

NB these figures cover both engineering graduates working in engineering and those who moved on to other fields.

What are salaries like for chartered engineers and incorporated engineers?

Salaries for chartered and incorporated engineers The Engineering Council’s Survey of Registered Engineers 2013 (published in 2014) includes earning levels for experienced engineers with both chartered and incorporated engineer status.

For chartered engineers:

  • The median annual total earnings in 2013 (including bonuses, overtime pay etc) was £63,000.
  • Around 14 per cent earned more than £100,000.
  • 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).
  • The median figure for overtime, bonus and commission payments was £6,000; the mean was £12,728.
  • Looking at basic salaries before any additions, the median was £60,000.

For incorporated engineers:

  • The median annual total earnings in 2013 (including bonuses, overtime pay etc) was £45,500.
  • The tenth percentile was £31,000 (ie those whose earning levels were higher than 10 per cent of the others in the survey); the 90th percentile was £76,316 (ie those whose earning levels were higher than 90 per cent of the others in the survey).
  • The median figure for overtime, bonus and commission payments was £5,000; the mean was £8,728.
  • Looking at basic salaries before any additions, the median was £45,000.

The survey also 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. Engineers who entered the industry without higher education qualifications earned a median basic income of £42,745.

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