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The Guardian UK 300 asked trendence UK – a partner of TARGETjobs’ parent company, GTI – to conduct a survey of university students’ attitudes towards employers and their job hunts. Overall, 62,814 students took part in the trendence Graduate Study 2017. Find out more about the survey methodology.

On this page, we reveal the thoughts of those students who were interested in engineering employers, along with an overview of careers within the sector. You can use this information to help you decide whether the industry is right for you and to create a job-hunting strategy, based on what other students are doing to secure their first graduate job.

Top rated employers


Jaguar Land Rover

Last year: 3



Rolls-Royce plc

Last year: 1




Last year: 2



Last year: 5



Last year: 6



Aston Martin

Last year: 4



Civil and structural engineering, Engineering, Logistics, transport and supply chain


Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains Ltd

Last year: 7




Last year: 8

Consumer goods and FMCG, Engineering, IT and technology



Last year: 10



About graduate careers in engineering, design and manufacturing

There are many different roles available to engineering and design graduates. Some employers recruit various types of engineer onto general graduate schemes, while others run specialist graduate schemes for different types of engineers or business lines. Alongside traditional roles, some engineering employers also offer opportunities for graduate engineers to apply their technical knowledge to business roles such as marketing or management. The range of sectors within which engineering and design graduates can work is broad and includes, among others, aerospace, marine, energy, built environment, defence, pharmaceuticals and utilities.

Significant workloads and tight deadlines mean that engineers have to work hard – time management and efficiency are expected, as project delays will cost money. However, higher starting salaries and opportunities for travel attract many graduates to this sector. The satisfactions of solving problems and of seeing the finished product can be very rewarding too.

To find out more about the highlights of a career in engineering, take a look at our:

Risk management and sustainability are key issues in this sector – projects are often high risk and companies are facing constant pressure to reduce their environmental impact. Graduates can show employers their awareness of the challenges facing the industry with an understanding of these areas.

Opportunities for graduate engineers

Fast career progression is possible for graduate engineers. Within ten years of qualification, significant technical and management roles can become available to those with a broad skills set and plenty of ambition. However, although graduate engineers with BEng degrees are recruited by many employers, some employers prefer to hire graduates with an MEng or a masters, as this will allow graduates to work for the highest professional qualification (chartership) more quickly.

As well as technical proficiency, recruiters in this industry require graduates with a combination of non-technical skills. These include analytical, problem-solving, leadership, teamworking, organisational, communication and project management skills.

Students interested in engineering, design and manufacturing...

  • unsurprisingly tended to study engineering (53%) – natural science was the next most common degree area (14%)
  • were most likely to have attended careers fairs to research employers (86% said they had done so)
  • expected a starting salary of £26,815 – which is a reasonable expectation for graduates working with a larger employer, according to employer data collected by GTI
  • were likely to look for their first job across the UK, at 52%, versus only 22% who planned to look in their home region and 14% who planned to look abroad