What can I do with an engineering degree?

What can I do with an engineering degree?

Whether you want to find work as an engineer or explore alternative careers such as IT, here's an overview of the options open to you and the key skills you've gained from your degree.

Introduction | Skills for your CV | Job roles and career areas | What do electrical and electronic engineering graduates go on to do? | Areas of employment for electrical and electronic engineering graduates | What do mechanical engineering graduates go on to do? | Areas of employment for mechanical engineering graduates | Which careers attract engineering students? | Famous people with engineering degrees

Engineers tend to be clear thinking and logical. They can follow either instructions or design specifications to the letter. They can take on a lot at once, are prepared for a challenge, aren’t afraid of long hours and work hard in order to gain good results.

Engineering graduates have a broad range of career options, including different kinds of engineering roles, jobs in related areas such as supply chain and jobs in other industries such as finance and IT.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Skills for your CV

Specific skills you will have gained include:

  • planning
  • analytical thinking
  • presentation and other communication skills
  • numeracy, statistics and computing
  • capacity for detail
  • data analysis
  • logical thinking
  • problem solving
  • organisational abilities
  • project management
  • research skills
  • teamwork
  • resilience

Job roles and career areas you could work in

The focus of your engineering degree will affect the types of engineering jobs you are suited to. Engineering job roles include the following:

Our advice on the job roles open to you with different types of engineering degree sets out your options:

As an engineering graduate, you are also well placed to pursue a career in one of the following areas, and could apply for a relevant graduate scheme with a large engineering or consumer goods employer:

  • supply chain
  • logistics
  • operation management
  • procurement and purchasing

You can find out more about these areas from our advice on alternative career paths for engineering graduates, which also covers patent work and teaching and lecturing.

Other potential options include:

Engineering graduates don't always realise that they can pursue a commercial or business-focussed career within the engineering industry. Even if you don't want to become an engineer when you graduate, you don't have to leave engineering behind completely.

What do electrical and electronic engineering graduates go on to do?

Here’s what electrical and electronic engineering graduates who finished their degrees in 2016 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2017.

Destination Percentage
Full-time employment in the UK 62.7
Part-time employment in the UK 8.9
Working overseas 1.4
Working and studying 2.9
Further study 12.6
Unemployed 7.9
Other 3.5

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Key areas of employment for fresh electrical and electronic engineering graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2016 electrical and electronic engineering graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2017 What do graduates do? report.

Areas of employment Percentage
Engineering and building professionals 40.6
Information technology professionals 18.3
Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff 7.8
Arts, design and media professionals 6.9
Other occupations 6.7

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

What do mechanical engineering graduates go on to do?

Here’s what mechanical engineering graduates who finished their degrees in 2016 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2017.

Destination Percentage
Full-time employment in the UK 63.7
Part-time employment in the UK 6.7
Working overseas 1.9
Working and studying 2.9
Further study 13.4
Unemployed 7.6
Other 3.8

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Key areas of employment for fresh mechanical engineering graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2016 mechanical engineering graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2017 What do graduates do? report.

Areas of employment Percentage
Engineering and building professionals 55.9
Other professionals, associate professionals and technicians 9.1
Other occupations 7.5
Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff 6.4
Business, HR and finance professionals 5.6

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Which careers attract engineering students?

Engineering, design and manufacture was the most popular career choice for engineering students identified by a 2017 survey of more than 60,000 undergraduates carried out by trendence UK, a partner of TARGETjobs’ parent company GTI. More than half (53%) of engineering students who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular careers for engineering students were as follows:

Career Percentage
Engineering, design and manufacture 53% expressed an interest
Construction, civil engineering and surveying 46
Energy and utilities 41
IT and technology 7

Source: trendence UK Graduate Study 2017

Famous people with engineering degrees

If none of these options appeal to you, you don’t need to worry. There are a number of famous graduates who have taken their engineering degrees in very different directions:

  • Rowan Atkinson – he may be known for his comedy acting in Mr Bean and Blackadder, but he actually has an undergraduate degree from Newcastle University and a masters from the University of Oxford.
  • Andrew Smyth – the Great British Bake Off finalist graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2013.
  • Ashton Kutcher – studied biochemical engineering before pursuing his acting career.
  • Carol Vorderman – studied at the University of Cambridge and later became famous for presenting Countdown.
  • Cindy Crawford – the model and actress once studied chemical engineering.

Find out more about all your engineering careers options at TARGETjobs Engineering.

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