Graduate engineering salary round up

9 Apr 2024, 11:49

Discover what a typical graduate engineer salary is, how much the top graduate schemes pay and the benefits, perks and bonuses offered by engineering companies.

The picture shows money on a tree, representative of a graduate engineering salary.

A graduate engineer salary with a high-profile graduate employer in the UK is around the £25,000 to £32,000 mark. Graduate engineer salaries for schemes advertised with targetjobs tend to range between £20,000 and £35,000. A few engineering employers pay graduates more, typically (but not exclusively) oil and gas giants such as BP, who offer a starting salary of £37,000–£48,000 as well as additional joining and wellbeing allowances. Graduate engineer salaries for small and medium-sized or regional employers tend to be slightly lower, often between £20,000 and £25,000.

What is the average starting salary for a graduate engineer?

Data from the Higher Education Graduate Outcomes Statistics, which asked 2019/20 graduates about their jobs approximately a year after they graduated, found that most engineering and technology graduates who entered highly skilled jobs had starting salaries of £27,000¬–£29,999 – one of the highest starting salary levels by degree subject. However, bear in mind that this figure includes all graduates, not just those who had graduate jobs within engineering.

The Institute of Student Employers (ISE) 2022 Recruitment Survey reported that the median starting salary for graduates in the engineering, energy and industry sector was £28,667. However, bear in mind that this study was based on employees of ISE members, who typically pay more than other employers. It also reported the median starting salaries for graduates in the following sectors (covering graduates in all roles, not just engineering):

  • Built environment : £25,500
  • Health and pharmaceuticals : £28,500
  • Retail and fast-moving consumer goods : £26,000

Employer graduate scheme salaries for engineering graduates

A lot of engineering employers simply state 'competitive salary' on their graduate careers websites, but other employers disclose their graduate starting salaries – and you can find some of them here.

The following figures are based on starting salaries for graduate jobs advertised in 2022.

  • AECOM graduate salary: reported to be £25,096–£32,601
  • Airbus graduate salary: £27,000
  • Babcock International Group graduate salary: £30,000–£35000
  • BAE Systems graduate salary: £30,000
  • Bakkavor graduate salary: £27,000
  • BMW Group graduate salary: £31,000
  • BP graduate salary: £37,000–£48,000
  • Caterpillar graduate salary: reported to be £32,713–£35,817 depending on programme and experience
  • Centrica graduate salary: £36,000
  • DSTL graduate salary: £25,000–£29,500
  • EDF Energy graduate salary: £30,000
  • INEOS graduate salary: £36,000
  • Jaguar Land Rover graduate salary: £29,000
  • Manufacturing Technology Centre graduate salary: £30,000
  • MBDA graduate salary: £30,000
  • Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains graduate salary: £33,000
  • Ministry of Defence – Submarine Delivery Agency graduate salary: £27,625
  • Mott MacDonald graduate salary: £28,700–£30,900
  • National Grid graduate salary: £30,278–£31,379 depending on qualifications
  • Network Rail graduate salary: £26,500
  • Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK graduate salary: £30,000-£31,000 depending on location
  • Nuclear Graduates graduate salary: £26,000
  • Raytheon graduate salary: £28,000
  • Rolls-Royce graduate salary: c. £29,000
  • Severn Trent graduate salary: £29,056
  • Toyota graduate salary: £32,088
  • UK Power Networks graduate salary: £31,199
  • Unilever graduate salary: £32,000
  • United Utilities graduate salary: £29,500

Will I get paid more if I have a postgraduate degree?

Some engineering employers do pay their graduates more if they have a master’s degree or PhD. National Grid , for example, offers graduates with a master’s degree a slightly higher starting salary (£31,379 v. £30,278 for a bachelor’s degree). It may be that a postgraduate degree also boosts your future salary. Back in 2013, the Engineering Council’s Survey of Registered Engineers and Technicians 2013, found that the median basic income for engineers educated to graduate level was £56,000 whereas for those educated to postgraduate level, the figure was £62,000 – but there hasn’t been a similar survey since.

What benefits and bonuses can I get from an engineering company?

A number of engineering companies offer their graduates appealing benefits and cash incentives. We’ve rounded up some of the most tempting.

Welcome payments

AKA joining bonus, welcome bonus, welcome package, golden hello, settling-in allowance. Whatever it’s called, it's a lump sum that a number of engineering graduate employers offer to students on joining. Others split it into two or more payments when their graduates achieve certain milestones.

The Royal Navy offers a joining bonus of £27,000 to graduates in certain roles, plus an extra £5,000 for earning their ‘dolphins’. Meanwhile, the construction consultancy Atkins, an SNC-Lavalin business gives £5,000 per graduate, split into two payments: half on joining and half on achieving professional qualification, typically three to five years later. Centrica , meanwhile, is not far behind at £3,000.

Rolls-Royce, Frazer Nash, Jaguar Land Rover and Network Rail all offer a £2,000 joining bonus, while Bakkavor and Caterpillar offer £1,000. Other employers, including Mace , also offer a welcome bonus but don't disclose how much it is.

Performance-related bonuses

Many employers offer discretionary and performance-related bonuses once in the workplace. They include:

  • Gist
  • Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains
  • Unilever
  • Max Fordham
  • UK Power Networks

Meanwhile, both Arup & and Mott MacDonald highlight that, as employee-owned businesses, staff share a proportion of the organisations' profits and have a say in how the business is run. Other employers, such as Rolls-Royce , Babcock International Group and National Grid , offer share purchase schemes for their staff.

Getting behind the wheel

If you see yourself behind the wheel of a flash car, Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains offers a car lease scheme to its employees. BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover offer discounts on car purchases for staff and their family members while Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK offers car ownership schemes.

It's not just automotive manufacturers that offer car-related perks. Kloeckner Metals offers a car lease scheme and Laing O'Rourke gives its graduates a car allowance.

Transport discounts

OK, so the 07:18 to London Paddington doesn’t have the same glamour factor as putting the latest Jaguar through its paces. But a season ticket could set you back thousands of pounds a year, so wouldn’t it be nice if your employer paid for it?

If you take up a graduate job with a transport company, they might do. Transport for London provides two free Oyster cards and 75% off National Rail tickets for travel beyond the TfL network. Network Rail also offers subsidies of up to 75% on rail and underground season tickets.

Some other engineering companies, such as Frazer Nash and Colas Rail , also offer season ticket loans.

Other perks

Some employers also offer benefits designed to support you mentally and physically. For example, Babcock International Group , Kloeckner Metals and Gist offer free employee assistance programmes, while WSP and Laing O'Rourke provide 24-hour virtual GP services. Mace , ISG and Expleo offer access to health club and gym membership discounts, while Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains and Unilever have onsite gyms.

If personal development is important for you, Nuclear Graduates gives its graduates their own personal training budget and pays for membership to two professional institutions. Previous graduates have spent their budgets on attending conferences all over the world and training courses back in the UK. BMW Group also offers funding for professional and vocational training and UK Power Networks pays for membership with the Institute of Engineers and Technology.

Finally, if you want to be rewarded for doing your bit for the environment, numerous employers, including Frazer Nash , Rolls-Royce , Nuclear Graduates , Babcock International Group , take part in cycle to work schemes that offer discounts on bikes and cycling accessories.

What can a graduate engineer expect in terms of salary progression?

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 ISE 2022 Development Survey suggested that an average graduate salary in the engineering, energy and industry sector would typically progress from a starting salary of £28,000 to £38,000 after three years.

What is my earning potential as an engineer?

To give you an idea of what you might earn in the future, the 2022 salary survey by The Engineer , which looks at all engineers and not just recent graduates, reported a mean average salary level of £58,108, which was an increase of 2.3% on the mean average from the previous year.

The average engineering salary varies by area of expertise, location and sector. Engineers working in the manufacturing sector typically earn the highest salaries, with the average salary of respondents who were manufacturing engineers coming in at £65,340, according to The Engineer 's 2022 survey.

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