Engineering salary round-up: from graduate to chartered engineer
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 2015 graduates approximately six months after they graduated, found that:
- mechanical engineering graduates on average earned between £21,800 and £28,100
- civil engineering graduates on average earned between £22,700 and £27,100
- electrical and electronic engineering graduates on average earned between £21,400 and £28,600
NB: these figures cover both engineering graduates working in engineering and those who moved on to other fields.
Meanwhile, the Institute of Student Employers' (ISE) 2017 Annual Survey reported that:
- the median graduate starting salary with AGR-affiliated engineering and industrial companies was £27,250
- the median graduate starting salary with construction/built environment companies was £27,000
- the median graduate starting salary with energy, water and utilities companies was £28,000
- the median graduate starting salary with fast-moving consumer goods companies £26,750
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 AGR 2017 Development Survey (NB: the Association of Graduate Recruiters recently changed to the Institute of Student Employers) 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 2013 was:
- 20% at engineering and industrial companies
- 25% at construction companies
- 31% at energy, water and utilities companies
- 25% at fast-moving consumer goods companies
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.
Starting salaries for engineering employers' graduate schemes
The following figures relate to starting salaries for 2018.
- AECOM graduate salary: £24,000–£27,000
- Airbus graduate salary: £27,000+
- Air Products PLC graduate salary: £29,500–£30,000
- Associated British Foods - Grocery graduate salary: £31,500
- 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 sigma leadership programme)
- BMW Group graduate salary: £31,000
- BP graduate salary: £35,000–£40,000
- British Sugar graduate salary: £30,000
- Caterpillar graduate salary: £26,750–£78,250 for the engineering programme and £25,500–£25,750 for non-engineering programmes depending on experience
- Centrica graduate salary: £32,000
- DSTL graduate salary: £21,000+
- EDF Energy graduate salary: £27,500
- E.ON graduate salary: £29,000
- ExxonMobil graduate salary: £37,500+
- 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
- Leonardo graduate salary: £26,500
- Lloyd's Register graduate salary: £25,500–£27,500
- Lockheed Martin graduate salary: £25,000+
- Mars graduate salary: £30,000 (engineering and R&D programmes)
- Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains graduate salary: £33,000
- Metaswitch Networks 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: £30,000(quantitative risk programme); £29,500 (engineering programme); £26,000 (other programmes)
- nucleargraduates graduate salary: £25,000
- Raytheon graduate salary: £26,000
- Rolls-Royce graduate salary: £28,500
- Severn Trent graduate salary: £26,500
- Shell graduate salary: not specified (for 2017 graduate schemes it was £30,000–£35,000)
- SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) graduate salary: circa £28,000
- Thames Water graduate salary: £28,000
- Transport for London graduate salary: £26,000
- UK Power Networks graduate salary: £32,000
- Unilever graduate salary: £30,000 (Unilever Future Leaders Programme, which includes R&D roles)
- Wates graduate salary: £20,500–£27,500
- Welsh Water graduate salary: £22,437
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 the following.
For chartered engineers:
- The median annual total earnings in 2013 (including bonuses, overtime pay etc) was £63,000.
- 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.