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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 2015, unless otherwise stated.

What is a typical salary for a graduate engineer?

A typical salary for a graduate engineering job with a high profile graduate employer is £25,000. 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 Graduate Recruitment Survey Summer Review, published in 2014, outlined the graduate starting salaries that its members (mainly well paying blue-chip employers) paid graduates starting work in 2013–2014. It reported that the median graduate starting salary with AGR-affilated engineering and industrial companies was £25,250. The median for construction companies and consultancies was also £25,250; the median for energy, water and utilities companies, was £27,500; and the median for fast moving consumer goods companies was £27,500. NB these figures include non-engineering roles.

The 2014 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey, which questioned 2013 graduates approximately six months after they graduated, found:

  • Mechanical engineering graduates’ salaries averaged £26,471.
  • Civil engineering graduates’ salaries averaged £24,901.
  • Electrical and electronic engineering graduates’ salaries averaged £25,165.

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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